St. Thomas Elevated Park – Join us for the big annual picnic!
So much has changed since our last picnic in 2017. We have two new sculptures, raised beds, a new railing system on 25% of the bridge, an exciting new Kinsmen Sun Shade and 15 brand new steel benches. The landscaping on the approach is lush. You don’t want to miss this. It gets better every year. An important fund-raising event for the St. Thomas Elevated Park, the Elevated Picnic features good food, good music and good friends, all while enjoying the views of the Kettle Creek Valley perched 95 feet in the air on the deck of the decommissioned Michigan Central Railroad Bridge.
NEW THIS YEAR: Our first ever BuskerFest
As if the Elevated Picnic wasn’t enough fun, this year we’ve added our first ever BuskerFest with five separate local performers and groups. Music has always been part of the picnic, but a busker festival at two different performance areas is an exciting new addition. Here’s the line-up:
At the main gate
12:15 Griffin Noriega
1:15 The Shangles
2:00 Stephanie Heide
At the Kinsmen Sun Shelter (and bandshell)
12:30 DrueAnne and Haleigh
1:30 Gabe Fontana
Like all buskers, they’ll be playing for tips. If they please you, show them your generosity. We thank all the performers for their contribution to our project. We especially thank Megan Pickersgill for her volunteer effort coordinating the BuskerFest.
We’ve worked hard to open a significant portion of the park for public use this year. Already, we have created a landscaped, fully accessible trail up to the bridge deck. One quarter of the bridge now features a permanent railing system. An additional quarter will be open for the picnic, contained by a temporary construction fence. In addition to the two Scott McKay sculptures, you will also see two, new pieces of public art by sculptors David Morris and Sam Radoff. And, of course, the Kinsmen Sun Shade will be in place in time for the picnic. Not long after the picnic, the bridge will become a construction site as we add more railing and landscaping. The money we raise through this picnic pays for our insurance as well as small improvements to the Elevated Park.
History of the Elevated Park
This is the single most ambitious undertaking of On Track St. Thomas, the community development organization that assured the preservation of the CASO station and brought the rail-themed murals to downtown.
WHAT IS AN ELEVATED PARK?
Simply put, it’s a park in the sky, some 95 feet over the Kettle Creek valley.
Now that the double tracks are gone, the massive MCR bridge structure offers a massive space, 30 feet wide and 850 feet long, that is being redeveloped as a park with flower beds, trees, benches, public art and a trail for walking, running and biking. A great place to wander, sit, walk the dog, take photos, host art shows or busker festivals.
The logic of this vision is obvious. Along with the Elgin County Railway Museum and the restored CASO station, the MCR Kettle Creek Bridge is a prominent reminder of the city’s status as the Railway Capital of Canada. It is a signature attraction for rail aficionados nationally and internationally. As a public place it will be a high profile addition to local and regional trail systems and offer stunning views of the Kettle Creek valley in all directions.
The On Track vision for the MCR bridge goes much farther however. Through an international design competition, it is being developed into Canada’s first elevated park, joining similar structures such as the High Line in Manhattan and the Boulevard Plantée in Paris.
In short, it will be a major tourist attraction in its own right and a significant boost to the economic revival of St. Thomas as The Railway City.