St. Thomas Elevated Park – Join us for the big annual picnic. We have a lot to celebrate!
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: The First Annual Elevated Busker Fest. Enjoy talented performers at two different locations on the bridge, including the all new Kinsmen Sun Shade which on that day will function as a bandshell. More details will follow. A big thanks to Megan Pickersgill for organizing the Busker Fest.
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 Elevated Picnic is a critical fundraising event, helping us pay insurance, taxes and other costs related to the operation of the 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.