Victoria Park, London, Ontario

Last updated
Victoria Park
LondonOntarioBandShell.jpg
The Band Shell in Victoria Park
TypePublic park
Location London, Ontario
Area18 acres (7.3 ha)
Created1874
Operated byCity of London
Victoria Park Victoria Park, London Ontario011.jpg
Victoria Park
Women's Memorial LondonOntarioWomensMem.jpg
Women's Memorial
Cenotaph LondonOntarioCenotaph.jpg
Cenotaph
Veterans plaque Veterans Plaque Victoria Park.jpg
Veterans plaque
Second World War tank Victoria Park WWII Tank010.jpg
Second World War tank
George William Hill Victoria Park WWI statue06.jpg
George William Hill

Victoria Park is an 18-acre (7.3 ha) park located in downtown London, Ontario, in Canada. It is one of the major centres of community events in London.

Park area of open space used for recreation or conservation

A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. Urban parks are green spaces set aside for recreation inside towns and cities. National parks and Country parks are green spaces used for recreation in the countryside. State parks and Provincial parks are administered by sub-national government states and agencies. Parks may consist of grassy areas, rocks, soil and trees, but may also contain buildings and other artifacts such as monuments, fountains or playground structures. Many parks have fields for playing sports such as soccer, baseball and football, and paved areas for games such as basketball. Many parks have trails for walking, biking and other activities. Some parks are built adjacent to bodies of water or watercourses and may comprise a beach or boat dock area. Urban parks often have benches for sitting and may contain picnic tables and barbecue grills.

London, Ontario City in Ontario, Canada

London is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada along the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor. The city had a population of 383,822 according to the 2016 Canadian census. London is at the confluence of the Thames River, approximately 200 km (120 mi) from both Toronto and Detroit; and about 230 km (140 mi) from Buffalo, New York. The city of London is a separated municipality, politically separate from Middlesex County, though it remains the county seat.

Ontario Province of Canada

Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.

Contents

History

The park was originally the site of the British garrison, as well as the cricket grounds. The garrison was expanded with new buildings during and after the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837. The British troops withdrew to Europe in 1853 to train for the Crimean War, but their barracks were used to house escaped slaves from the United States, as one of the end stations of the Underground Railway. The troops returned in 1861, fearing that the American Civil War might spread to Canada. In 1874, the park was transferred to the city and renamed Victoria Park, after Queen Victoria.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Garrison military base; collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location

Garrison is the collective term for any body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base. The garrison is usually in a city, town, fort, castle, ship or similar. "Garrison town" is a common expression for any town that has a military base nearby.

Cricket Team sport played with bats and balls

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 20-metre (22-yard) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each player. Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground. When ten players have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches. They communicate with two off-field scorers who record the match's statistical information.

The park's original plan was the work of the landscape architect Charles H. Miller, chief gardener of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and designer of the American Centennial Exposition grounds. It is believed that the decision to hire Miller was strongly influenced by William Saunders' visit to the exposition grounds in 1876. [1] [2]

Landscape architect person involved in the planning, design and sometimes direction of a landscape, garden, or distinct space

A landscape architect is a person who is educated in the field of landscape architecture. The practice of landscape architecture includes: site analysis, site inventory, land planning, planting design, grading, storm water management, sustainable design, construction specification and ensuring that all plans meet the current building codes and local and federal ordinances. The title landscape architect was first used by Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York City's Central Park.

Fairmount Park largest municipal park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the historic name for a group of parks located throughout the city

Fairmount Park is the largest municipal park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the historic name for a group of parks located throughout the city. Fairmount Park consists of two park sections named East Park and West Park, divided by the Schuylkill River, with the two sections together totalling 2,052 acres (830 ha). Management of Fairmount Park and the entire citywide park system is overseen by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, a city department created in 2010 from the merger of the Fairmount Park Commission and the Department of Recreation.

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Although designated for recreational activities, the park was still used as a military garrison when necessary. As London was the centre of the Western Ontario military district (District No. 1), troops were stationed in the park during the Second Boer War, World War I, and World War II; there was some minor rioting in the park during the Conscription Crisis of 1944, when conscripts demanded to be sent to Europe.

Second Boer War war between South African Republic and the United Kingdom

The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought them to terms.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

In 1907, three cannons from the Crimean War were placed in the park, originally from Sevastopol. In 1912 a statue was built as a memorial to the Boer War, and an exact replica of the cenotaph in Whitehall, London, England was built in 1934. A Sherman tank (known as the "Holy Roller") used in World War II was placed there in 1950. [3] While the park once housed elaborate fountains and a lilypond, there are no water features remaining today.

Cannon Class of artillery which fires at a low or flat trajectory

A cannon is a type of gun classified as artillery that launches a projectile using propellant. In the past, gunpowder was the primary propellant before the invention of smokeless powder in the 19th century. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield. The word cannon is derived from several languages, in which the original definition can usually be translated as tube, cane, or reed. In the modern era, the term cannon has fallen into decline, replaced by guns or artillery if not a more specific term such as mortar or howitzer, except for high calibre automatic weapons firing bigger rounds than machine guns, called autocannons.

Crimean War 1850s military conflict

The Crimean War was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856 in which the Russian Empire lost to an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia. The immediate cause involved the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land, which was a part of the Ottoman Empire. The French promoted the rights of Roman Catholics, while Russia promoted those of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The longer-term causes involved the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the unwillingness of Britain and France to allow Russia to gain territory and power at Ottoman expense. It has widely been noted that the causes, in one case involving an argument over a key, have never revealed a "greater confusion of purpose", yet they led to a war noted for its "notoriously incompetent international butchery".

Sevastopol Place in City with special status, Disputed:

Sevastopol is the largest city on the Crimean Peninsula and a major Black Sea port. The city is administered as a federal city of the Russian Federation following Crimea's annexation by Russia in 2014. Nevertheless, Ukraine and most of the UN member countries continue to regard Sevastopol as a city with special status within Ukraine.

Activities

Many annual events are held in Victoria Park. These include Sunfest, the Home County Folk Festival, The London Rib-Fest, The International Food Festival, LOLA and Fiesta del Sol. Since 2008 all events in Victoria Park are part of the Greening of the Festivals and required to have a waste management plan to eliminate unnecessary waste to landfill. This includes a suitable number of Eco-Stations (the place where attendees dispose of waste) and all food and beverage containers are required to be either recyclable or compostable. In the first year, these efforts led to an improvement from 5% waste diversion to a 50% waste diversion from landfill. The festivals were recognized Nationally with a Home Town Heroes Award, Provincially with a Gold Award from the Recycling Council of Ontario for Minimization of Waste and Municipally with the Pillar non profit Community Impact Award. Home County Folk Festival had the added initiative of offering reusable metal dishes, available on deposit which is repaid at the Eco-Stations, to eliminate one time use disposables altogether. With the EcoStations readily available for waste disposal, Victoria Park has been a cleaner park throughout the festival season. In addition, the festivals have educated hundreds of thousands of festival attendees on wasteful practices and inspired them to take these practices to their community events, birthday parties and church suppers.

Sunfest is an annual Canadian festival of food, culture, art and music that takes place in London, Ontario, Canada, in July. The festival venue is Victoria Park and is typically held the weekend after Canada Day. During Sunfest, music from various cultures is performed on the main bandstand in the park and 4 other stages. The rest of the park is covered with craft vendors selling their goods. A key part of the festival is the large number of food stands selling foods from all different ethnic backgrounds. In 2014, Sunfest attracted more than 275,000 visitors.

Home County Folk Festival is a folk music festival in London, Ontario. It is an admission by donation festival held each July in Victoria Park in downtown London. The non-profit organization which produces the festival was formed in 1973, and they have held a festival every year since 1974.

Every winter, there is an annual vigil for the École Polytechnique Massacre, the trees in the park are decorated with Christmas lights, the "Lighting of the Lights" and Snowfest is held in February. The number and frequency of events has been a concern for the park with the resulting damage to the foliage, prompting some partial rescheduling to minimize the wear.

The park also has an ice skating rink in the winter, which has been built every winter since 1913. The bandshell was built in 1950 (rebuilt in 1990). The area in front of the bandshell now serves as a free, public skatepark, consisting of many metal benches and a stage drop. Near the bandshell is the Women's Memorial for the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, built in 1994.

The park is notable for the presence of a large number of melanistic (black) Eastern Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), and because of this, the recreational sport of squirrel fishing has developed in the area. However the squirrel population is not indigenous; they were first introduced to the park in 1914, when four pairs of squirrels were purchased. [4] In February 1961 a group of squirrels were taken to Kent State University, in Ohio, United States, where they have become firmly established.

Notes

  1. Morden, p.9
  2. Behr, p.A.10.xxxi
  3. Morden, p.11
  4. Morden, p.11

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References

See also

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Coordinates: 42°59′20″N81°14′55″W / 42.9890°N 81.2486°W / 42.9890; -81.2486