Imagine on a hot summers day driving over the overpass into Prince Arthur’s landing seeing the blue water touching the rocks and the sun beating down on everyone enjoying the park. You have a busy day ahead, a whole range of activities have been planned and more is waiting to be explored. You decide that today is a great day to enjoy the sites and sounds and take a walk through the entire park.
The first stop is to the playground filled with laughing kids and parents chatting away the weeks news. Laughter, birds and a slight breeze fill the air while your kids enjoy themselves on the equipment. You sit on the edge of the playground with some friends and enjoy each other company. The week has passed and now you are enjoying the freedom given to you by the weekend. Plans are made and the future discussed but that is all above the children as they jump from swings to slide and back again. The sand between their toes and the rush of playing tag with a group of new friends. Time flies as the endless energy of kids is spent but its time to move on as some friends go to explore elsewhere.
Walking down the sidewalk you notice kids using the picnic tables as a ramp to try out all the latest moves and your kids aspire to try that when they get a little older. There are other families sitting along the rocks having a lunch and individuals strolling around the park on such a beautiful day. It isn’t long before you see what your little heart desires, a big cold ice cream cone. After standing in line and seeing the other happy faces of the children who had been just as overcome with joy as you with seeing the ice cream shop it is finally your turn. So many choices to look through and so little time to choose, a regular ice cream cone or something fancy to tell your friends about. Your heart pounds as your parents pass you the cone; not even 10 seconds has passed and your eating away at the ice cream. Not even the sound of the kids riding the skate boards could gain your attention from the ice cream. The ice cream which had made your heart pump was only a small enjoyment and your favorite part was next.
The 100 feet is takes seems like an eternity but when you get there the excitement rushes over you again as you start to hear the noise. The noise of water crashing, laughter and parents laughing as they watch the joy overcome their kids. You rush to the water but your parents call hold you back, you forgot something which is very important. You forgot to change your clothes, you can’t go rushing in to the water in your good clothes. Grabbing on to your parents and tugging them along you tug open the doors to the Water Garden Pavilion and look up as its high ceilings and massive size make you feel tiny. You rush into the change room with parent in tow and change as quick as you can. The doors stand no chance as you push them out of the way to get into the water and soaking wet. Father takes a stroll through the building to look at the art pieces and see how busy the restaurant is. The place is packed, filled with people of all nations enjoying there food and expressing it in the many languages that grace our planet. On coming back out the splash pad is filled and kids are having the time of there lives. As time passes its time to continue the stroll, family in tow its time to move on to the next adventure.
Passing through a busy market area and heading to a friend’s condo its easy to see why they purchased the space. The view is great, the place lively and there are so many people to meet with. After going up and having a drink the step out onto the balcony is just unimaginable. The sail boats, the people, the giant and the lake come together to make a magnificent picture that not even the greatest artist could put onto paper. The breeze moves through the room and fill it with a gentle smell, only the kids getting restless can break the silence. One of these days this will be your home and it will only be a short walk from your condo to his. Its time to move on from the warmth of your friends condo and continue the walk and continue to explore the park.
In the distance you can see something rise up skyward, almost as tall as the building in which you had left. A grey metal beast built for war but used mostly for protection and aid. This new addition to the park will be one of the most enjoyable parts of your trip but you need to get there first. The new board walks hug the waters edge and hundreds more boats fill the new marina. Engines turning over and people getting ready to enjoy the day fill the air as this part of the park slowly quiets down. This is a more peaceful area filled with trees, plants and grass for which many come to have picnics and relax. The water touches the rocks with a little more energy as the wind slowly picks up but nothing more then to make the sound enjoyable. The walk is starting to make everyone a little tired. You can still see the metal giant and want to get as close as possible. You push your family for a little more strength to get there and after coming around the last couple turns you have arrived.
The ship stands like a giant along the pier, a ship of much history and honor. It has seen areas of the world in which you may never and has done things to keep our freedom. This ship was once to be feared and terrified the enemy but now it sits in its final resting point at the Thunder Bay marina. A private company is allowing tours of the ship and you jump on the earliest one. The size and scope continues to amaze you and your family, the guns that once scared away the enemy to the life rafts that could have saved hundreds. The tour has inspired your child and he talks of joining the navy and the sights he will see. The tour reminds you of how you too aspired to be part of the military when you were a young lad. Daydreaming together father and son of things that could and could have been, mom runs off to get a cool drink and something to munch on. Together you talk about the importance of the role of the navy and talk about how much this means to a city like Thunder Bay. A city with a huge background in ship building, grain elevators, the navy and more; this piece is a perfect fit for the city.
The trip has left you and your family exhausted. At a perfect time too, the park has now ended but that will soon change. With the addition of the Iron ore dock area to the park it will expand it beyond what any involved with phase 1 could have dreamed. The land will stretch from one sliver of land to kilometers of green liveable space designed for enjoyment. One day you will be able to walk down the whole park and see everything that has changed. Sooner rather then later hopefully there will be a perfect balance of industry and green space in which all can survive and prosper.
http://brookmcilroy.com/projects_project.php?pid=23 – Iron Ore Dock’s project