About Victoria Park

The park is a haven of tranquility and a recreational destination for residents and visitors. Whatever the nature of someone’s visit to the lake, whether it is to enjoy a walk along the edge of the water or take in the beauty of the Festival of lights during the holiday season, it offers an array of activities and views for residents and visitors alike.  The charm of the lake is unmistakable and is a mixture of history and tradition as well as diversity and inclusion, much like the City itself.

What do you see in this space? How do people in the community enjoy it?:

  • Nestled in the heart of our downtown, and just a short walk from City Hall and a bustling downtown, the park boasts a number of its original amenities dating back to its official opening in 1896
  • The park was designed in a romantic landscape style with a serpentine lake, three islands and footbridges affording picturesque vistas as well as footpaths winding through the park
  • Most of the housing surrounding it was built between the opening of the park and the end of the 1920s. The park and its surrounding neighbourhood are located within a heritage district that ensures its features are preserved
  • The lake is approximately 2.3 ha large and up to 3 meters deep in the deepest section – it was originally built on Schneider Creek and made into an online impoundment for recreational purposes such as boating, skating, etc
  • Over the many years, Victoria Park has evolved and even previously included a small zoo and baseball diamonds. Many of the features of the lake are original such as the Heritage Bridge
  • Today the park includes numerous amenities such as large manicured lawns, flower beds, pedestrian bridges, trails along both sides of the lake, a newly renovated children’s park, a splash pad, a pavilion, park benches, a restaurant with a patio along the lake edge, a gazebo, a picnic pavilion, public art, and large trees that offer plenty of shade to visitors
  • Given its proximity to the downtown, the park and lake is a respite for office workers and nearby residents
  • It sees thousands of visitors every year as a result of the many events that take place at the park such as the Multicultural festival and many other festivals during the summer months
  • The gazebo on Roos Island is a perfect place for photos and it’s not uncommon to see wedding parties stopping by for photographs or celebrating nuptials at the nearby Victoria Park Pavilion which includes a view onto the lake
  • During summer months, canoe and paddle boat enthusiasts can be found renting equipment and enjoying a paddle across the lake

Events and Festivals:

  • Worker’s Day of Mourning – April 28
  • Humane Society Walkathon – May 29
  • Yoga in the Park (Wednesdays at noon) – Begin June 1
  • Summer Lights Movies Under the Stars – June 4
  • K-W Multicultural Festival – June 25 – 26
  • National Aboriginal Day – June 25 – 26
  • Day in the Park – KW Humanists – July 9
  • Ribfest – July 15 – 17
  • Kitchener Blues Festival – August 4 – 7
  • KidSpark – August 21
  • Link Picnic – August 27 – 28
  • Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope – September 11
  • Christmas Fantasy – Opening December 3

Economic and Retail Activities:

  • Boathouse Music Venue and Restaurant
  • Victoria Park Gallery
  • Victoria Park Pavilion
  • Canoe and Paddle Boat Rentals
  • Hot Dog Vendor

Historic or Heritage Features:

  • There is a bridge still standing that was built in 1895 and a Statue of Queen Victoria unveiled in May 1911 by Governor-General Earl Grey
  • The Clock tower was part of the old city hall which was built in 1924
  • The bell itself was bought by the town in 1877 and ironically the bell was originally named at the NY State foundry “Victoria”
  • There are two cannons that arrived to the park in 1895 and are of early 19th century vintage and bear the date 1807
  • The Boathouse now a music venue and restaurant was built in 1929
  • The bandstand on Roos Island is a mid-1980’s replication of the original bandstand donated by MP Joseph Seagram in 1895
  • The pavilion dates from 1924 when it was built to replace the original one which had been burnt down in 1916
  • The oldest building in the park is the comfort station, built in 1910. It serves patrons and half of it is the Victoria Park Gallery, a small museum showing the history of the park and city
  • There has been a playground in the park since about 1910
  • The Peace Memorial located near the David/Courtland gates was built in 1996 as part of the park’s centennial celebrations

Memorable or Unique Characteristic(s) :

  • Victoria Park Lake is an integral part of the City’s recreational system since its construction in 1895
  • Residents and visitors alike would come to skate and then warm up in the Boathouse
  • The pavilion hosts many weddings during the year and the Roos Island is a great place for photos. You may even get a photo with the resident swan
  • Adults in the area have memories of playing in the playground or enjoying a family picnic on a warm summers day
  • The park was built on a Romantic Landscape design and the lake, fountain, manicured lawns, flower beds, individual and stands of trees, meandering pathways and roads live up to this design

Development:

  • Since the lake is an online impoundment, this has meant that sediment accumulates and must be removed from time to time. In the past, this was done approximately every 20 to 30 years but in the fall of 2011, a huge rehabilitation of the lake was undertaken and additional features in the lake were added to extend the clean out cycle beyond a 30 year horizon
  • The romantic landscape and heritage features of the lake were maintained and enhanced, and an additional pedestrian bridge was added at the upper end of the lake for greater accessibility
  • In 2012, the boathouse landscaping was completed and included a larger exterior patio along the edge of the lake while maintaining public access
  • In 2013/2014, a washroom facility was added to the park to better serve the public users
  • The playground was renovated in 2015 and includes greater accessibility features and more inclusive design
  • In 2015, one of the pedestrian bridges was replaced

Quick Facts

Map: http://bit.ly/2dIkJHz

Submitted By: Paula Davis

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