It’s the recent recipient of a 210-foot wooden boardwalk, a continuous 600-foot concrete sidewalk and is the home of an 11-piece art installation.
And it officially opens from end to end on Saturday (Sept. 14) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m.
The St. Thomas Elevated Park – Canada’s first – was previewed to the media today (Sept. 12) a little more than two years after the first phase of construction began atop the 850-foot Michigan Central Railroad bridge crossing Kettle Creek at a height of 95 feet.
It’s the third bridge on this site and opened in 1930 at a cost of $689,000 and carried as many as 50 trains a day.
Now it will welcome countless visitors who able to stroll along its length to admire the many attractions and, if they like, continue onto the Great Trail – formerly the Trans-Canada Trail – along the four-kilometre span of the parklands west to Lyle Road in Southwold.
It will also be a venue for the Doors Open Ontario event in St. Thomas on October 5 that conveniently melds with the elevated nature of the park.
“What we’re doing that night is our annual star-gazing night with telescopes,” advised On Track St. Thomas director Serge Lavoie.
“People will be able to come on the bridge at sunset. We’ll have live music and talks about the stars and people will be able to watch the stars and planets through telescopes.”
A very family-friendly event at no charge noted Lavoie.
“We’re trying to get as many events up here as possible after the opening and before the bad weather comes,” continued Lavoie.
But there is far more to come in the not-too-distant future, enthused Lavoie.
Nearing completion is the 11-piece lighted art installation created by St. Thomas artist Christine Dewancker entitled The Faraway Nearby.
It joins several other pieces including Fear Not the Wind, an over-size, functional weathervane, the creation of area artist and blacksmith Scott McKay.
Sod will be laid to surround a 250-foot length of the sidewalk with the planting of additional trees.
Next spring will see the completion of a play zone and music garden.
After that, future additions include a solar-powered system for pedestrian lighting, a reflecting pool directly above Kettle Creek and the installation of railway artifacts, additional benches and planters.
Best of all reminded Lavoie, the elevated park will be open from dawn to dusk year-round and is free to use.
“Costs were covered through community donations and support from local businesses and organizations.”
Questions and comments may be emailed to City Scope
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