2012-10-02 at 15:45
From nude bathing to one-animal zoo, Boulevard Lake has its share of stories
A couple walks through Vickers Park Tuesday afternoon.
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People used to bathe nude in Boulevard Lake.
A religious sect called the Doukhobors would use the lake and draw the attention of giggling local teens who would spy on them from the woods.
“It’s speculated that that’s one of the reasons why a lot of the trees were cut down around Boulevard Lake, to stop the teenagers and stop the bathing,” city archivist Matt Szybalski said.
The parks also had a zoo with a moose as its only animal. It was set free around 1914. These are just a couple of stories dug up from the city’s past in a new online historical parks exhibit. It highlights the history of six local parks.
“We have a real wealth of documents and records in the archives on those parks,” Szybalski said. “Everything from bylaws and correspondence to engineering drawings.”
“The hope is that people will want to come here and research their neighbourhood park.”
It also highlights the history of parks administration. When the provincial parks act was passed in 1883, Port Arthur was the first municipality to have a parks board. Also discovered was correspondence from Rudyard Kipling who visited the area.
Along with commenting on the parks, he discussed the rivalry between the two towns and even wrote how difficult it would be for the towns to come up with a name should amalgamation ever happen.
“He basically says that they existed to bash one another and that if one had died the other would have died because they would have had nothing to do,” he said.
The exhibit is available to the public at the city archives Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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