As Canada’s first elevated park, it is already an ambitious undertaking. However, at a ceremony held Thursday (Nov. 22) at the CASO station, a bold new step forward in the design of the St. Thomas Elevated Park was unveiled. An enhanced vision that could see the entire length of the Michigan Central Railway bridge open to the public next summer. This week’s event formalized a $100,000 investment by Doug Tarry Homes Ltd., along with a commitment to reach out to the region’s business community with a Doug Tarry Challenge, a fundraising campaign by the St. Thomas homebuilder. The Doug Tarry Homes End-To-End Challenge has a goal of raising $500,000, which is enough to construct and install the remaining railings and decks required to span the entire bridge, end to end. “The generous donation by Doug Tarry Homes gave us a unique opportunity to rethink our original plans and set a more ambitious timetable for opening,” says Matt Janes, vice-president of the On Track St. Thomas board of directors and a co-chair of the Doug Tarry Challenge.
As of 2 p.m. yesterday (July 27) the window of opportunity to file nomination papers for the Oct. 22 municipal vote closed. The lineups are set, let the serious campaigning begin. There were no new additions in the mayoral race at the deadline, so incumbent Heather Jackson will be challenged by Coun. Steve Wookey, former MP Joe Preston and musician/small business advisor Malichi Male. In the hours and days leading up to yesterday’s deadline, the ranks of councillors seeking re-election and those vying for one of eight seats up for grabs swelled to 19. Late entries include former alderman Lori Baldwin-Sands; Lesley Buchanan, St. Thomas Cemetery Company manager; Greg Graham; Rose Gibson in her fifth attempt to gain a seat; John Laverty, long associated with St. Thomas Energy/Ascent Group; Michael Manary, who unsuccessfully campaigned in 2006 and 2014; James Murray; and Kevin Smith. Continue reading →
“We’re just turning the corner and making it a people place.” Of course Serge Lavoie, president of On Track St. Thomas, is referring to the Michigan Central Railroad bridge spanning Kettle Creek which is being transformed into the St. Thomas Elevated Park. In a conversation with Lavoie this week, he had exciting news on the status of Canada’s first such park. “The first section of the bridge is actually pretty safe right now so except on days when we might be doing heavy construction, we’re going to start opening it this spring,” advised Lavoie. “We’ll have the gates open, likely by Easter weekend and it will remain open all the time and only close to the public on the odd day when we have a work crew there. “We want people to go up there and enjoy it because the railing system is in place, it’s very safe. And now, people should go up and enjoy it and watch our progress.”
If you think all is quiet on the St. Thomas Elevated Park front, all you have to do is look up to see nothing could be further from the truth. The first of two large sculptures crafted by area artist and blacksmith Scott McKay was positioned in place this week, high above Sunset Drive in readiness for this year’s picnic on Aug. 27. Entitled Fear Not The Wind, the artwork is an over-size, functional weathervane. “Because it’s a windy environment up there, the artist came up with the idea of using that wind to make the sculpture move,” explained Serge Lavoie, president of On Track St. Thomas. “So, a big, overgrown weather vane was the answer. You go to old-fashioned gardens and they put in weather vanes or sun dials and he came up with a weather vane for this garden and I think it’s a cool idea.”Continue reading →
Attracting interested and involved participants was not an issue Monday evening (March 27) at an information night to introduce a partnership between the STEAM Centre, housed in the former Wellington Public School, and the Thames Valley District School Board. The pilot project will see participating Grade 10 students from the city’s three TVDSB high schools work collaboratively for one semester before returning to their home schools.
One of the biggest proponents of the STEAM Centre is board member Andrew Gunn, trustee of the Dorothy Palmer Estate which contributed $638,000 to help launch the alternative education project.
Gunn sees the St. Thomas centre as a template for what can be undertaken in communities across the province threatened with losing their schools.
Whether it’s art imitating life or life imitating art, the gift of a pair of “big, heavy, muscular and colourful pieces of art” will be impressive focal points at the St. Thomas Elevated Park when it officially opens Aug. 27.
The metal sculptures are the creation of artist and blacksmith Scott McKay, commissioned and donated to the park by his father Ian, a resident of Waterloo.
A model of the first installation, Fear Not The Wind, will be on display at the St. Thomas Home Show, this weekend at the Timken Centre.
As if playing home to this country’s first elevated park wasn’t high enough honour, St. Thomas could be one starting point for an ambitious trail project – an undertaking pinned to the pending merger of St. Thomas Energy and Entegrus, based out of Chatham-Kent.
Earlier this week Serge Lavoie, president of On Track St. Thomas, released details of what the St. Thomas Elevated Park will look like when the gate at the eastern approach swings open Aug. 27.
When the organization acquired the former Michigan Central Railroad trestle – built in 1929 at a cost of $689,000 – the purchase included 4 km of railway right-of-way at the western end of the structure running to Lyle Road in Southwold.