Elevated Park opens August 27, 2017! St Thomas, Ontario

St. Thomas Elevated Park opens August 27, 2017

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.

Update June 1st – 

A Milestone: construction has begun at the St. Thomas Elevated Park

After four years of planning and fundraising, construction of the St. Thomas Elevated Park has begun. Here are the highlights.

  • The first task is to remove the small bridge at King Street, build a pedestrian plaza at the corner of King and Centre Streets, and build a 240 foot wheel chair accessible ramp up to the rail bed.
  • With the heavy excavating completed on the Eastern Approach, members of the St. Thomas District Horticultural Society move in to prepare landscaping of key areas using a theme of a Stumpery Garden, a mix of naturalized elements in an industrial setting.
  • Engineering work on the railings and deck sections has been completed by Gray and Fick Consulting Structural Engineers.
  • Mike Newton and Nate Fehrman of Michael + Clark Construction have joined on board as our Construction Managers. They are coordinating all phases of the park construction.
  • A consulting landscaping team of Tom Intven, Canadale Nurseries, Ron Koudys, of Ron Koudys Landscape Architects and Kees Gover, of LiveRoof Ontario have come on board to finalize the planning and execution of the plantings on the bridge itself.
  • Scott McKay has begun work on the first of his two metal sculptures, Fear Not the Wind, which he expects to install on the Elevated Park by June 14.
  • Our opening day is still set for Sunday, Aug. 27.  The aim is to have the Eastern Approach completed and as much of the bridge park as possible, depending on construction scheduling and fundraising.