Friday, June 27, 2014

Tribute to Belleville, Ontario, Parks and Recreation

This blog was last edited on Nov. 8, 2014

   The information contained in this blog is from the memory of the author. Please correct any misinformation. Thank you.  

Thanks to the Volunteers who founded Belleville Parks and Recreation

   If I am correct, Belleville Parks and Recreation was founded by volunteer Wilma Summers some time before the 1970s.   What started as a volunteer program has morphed into a large professional organization that meet the needs of all Belleville residents.

   Thanks to Stephen Adamson Company (Now Alias Chambers) for their playground equipment donation. 

   In 1976, Stephen Adamson built and donated Belleville's first playground equipment.  This stuff was located at Zwick's Island, East Hill Playground, and East Shore Park. 

   My father, who worked for Stephen Adamson as foreman of the steel shop, supervised, helped design, and built this equipment.

   This equipment included a whirly-twirly that was built to industrial standards and went a bit fast.  At first there was pavement under it, that was later replaced with sand.  They also built monkey bars, space ship, and two swing sets, all located at Zwick's Island.  

   At East Hill playground, they buit two slides and two sets of swings, one big, one for babies. The one slide was really tall and when they went to get rid of it, they asked me what to do with it and I said "send it to Deloro, Ontario, as they were trying to getting a little park started in that community and there was no equipment.  That slide was there for a few years but they too decided it was a bit too tall and it was later hauled away by someone who put it in the lake for a few years but I think the last thing I heard was that it eventually went to recycling.  A slide, that for almost 50 years had entertained thousands of children.

   They also built the dangerous bleachers at Alimite Baseball Park, that one could fall right though until the city finally got smart and fixed them in the 1980s.  (I think maybe they should have just stuck to building ship loaders.).  

   It should be noted that there were no building specifications for the building of playground equipment and it was more of a trial and error thing. 

   As dictated by the educational professionals, playground equipment has really evolved over the years and barely resembles the old tire swings and wood across the tree bracket stuff that our grandparents of the 20s and 30s grew up with.

Zwick's Island

Zwick's Island is built on the old landfill site.  When I was a small child I had the honor of going to the dump on the very last day of operation.  I remember standing in the back of my dad's old blue pick-up truck that was parked on the big hill that is now the toboggan hill, and him saying, "this is the last day of the dump."  I'm pretty sure the old swinging bridge over the Bay of Quinte was still there as well.  It is now a big sky way bridge.

The old whirly, twirly at Zwick's Island that Dad built and the company he worked for donated. 
Mike, me and Liza.  1976

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