Staff asks St. Catharines Council to give Lakeside Park Carousel go-ahead for historical designation

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Published March 1, 2022 at 3:52 pm

A 15-page report to St. Catharines City Council last night strongly supported historically designatig the renowned carousel at Lakeside Park.

“This action, which would protect the Carousel under the Ontario Heritage Act, has the support of the City’s Heritage Advisory Committee,” said the report penned by city Heritage Planner James Neilson. “Staff consider a heritage designation by-law to be a proactive measure to ensure the long-term protection and appropriate conservation of this valuable City-owned heritage asset.”

The report noted that the Carousel was previously designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1983, but the designation was repealed in 2002 when the Port Dalhousie Heritage Conservation District was created. In that  regard, it has been left unprotected for 20 years.

The report continually references the address 9 Main Street which is better known as Lakeside Park, the publicly-owned park space within Port Dalhousie and then delved into the carousel’s history.

The carousel was brought to the park in 1921 from its original location in Scarborough. “Carved between 1897-1905, the carousel is one of nine antique carousels in Canada, and the only antique carousel in Niagara (Region),” said the report, which called it a landmark in the city and noted it “harkens back to a time when Lakeside Park was home to 58 attractions.”

Back in 1983, the designation was given to the attraction, noting “the Carousel is an outstanding example of an early carousel with hand carved animals.”

However, with the creation of the Port Dalhousie Heritage Conservation District in 2003, the Ontario Heritage Act no longer applied since properties cannot be designated more than once, especially by conflicting (though similar) bodies and Lakeside Park was clearly in the Port Dalhousie boundaries.

The report continued: “Today, the carousel remains in operation and is an important landmark within the City of
St. Catharines. Due to its age and continued use, the carousel requires ongoing maintenance and upkeep and most recently, it was determined that efforts to make the carousel more accessible should be pursued.”

To that end, the report is asking that the carousel be protected – once again – under the Ontario Heritage Act “with defined heritage attributes that will provide guidance for any work that is required in the future to the carousel. (A) list of significant attributes will help to inform decisions made regarding maintenance, accessibility or any other future endeavours.”

The report noted that as a designated property, “any changes to the Carousel would require a heritage permit and consultation with the City’s Heritage Planner and the St. Catharines Heritage Permit Advisory Committee.”

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