Kitchener Park

Couchiching Beach  & Veterans Parks  ◘ Kitchener Park  ◘ Tudhope Park

Kitchener Park is a large park that fronts on Kitchener Street and West Street South, and has access to Lake Simcoe, with a small beach area (unpatrolled). It has large open grassy spaces, with several sport fields (ball diamonds, soccer pitch, horseshoe pits (the only public ones in town I believe), tennis courts, outdoor rink), and a newer playground area.

Because of it's multiple sports areas, it's in use throughout most of the spring to fall months, and there is quite a lot of parking available here (accessible parking areas from West Street South near the lake, and along Kitchener Street). There are both lit and unlit sports areas, as well as picnic tables available. Because it's also adjacent to a residential area, a lot of parents bring their young to the park to use the playground areas. The smallest residential area is the mobile home park directly across the road on West St., but the larger area off the bottom of West St. has both waterfront condominiums, homes, and cottages, and regular homes and rental units. It's not a bad place raise children, as this waterfront crescent is a quiet area, with older homes.

Although there is a small beach area, it isn't generally a place where people swim. The entrance to the lake is rocky, and not maintained as a swimming area, and a short distance along the shoreline is the the "town dump" (to be politically correct, it's actually called "Waste Diversion Management Site", but locals still call it the dump).  There's a few stories about the dump that would make some smile I guess (a load of pot having been dumped there at one time (years back) and teens breaking into the dump) but generally ... well, nobody wants to hear about the dump. Most of the time, you wouldn't know it was there, but there have been times when it's painfully obvious. Recent years have been better as practices in waste management have improved considerably over the years so the park flourishes as a sports ground, and that partly because of the spacious land area it's located on.

Before the park was fully developed, it could be quite pleasant to visit; in the early mornings (just after sunrise) it was peaceful and quiet, with only the call of the birds and the dew dripping off leaves. There was little in the way of equipment to attract people to the park, so it was used more by those looking for a peaceful corner, or natural area to walk. Although there aren't trails here, the open space was beautiful in the light of early day. I used to love going here. When my own kids were small, we'd bring them here to simply run and play. Back then, the swings were those old metal poles with rubber u-shaped swing seats on chains, and an even older "merry-go-round". My kids loved that ... and so did I. Those were the entertainments of my childhood too. The one in Kitchener Park squealed something fearsome when you first started it up because it got so little use, but once you got it going it would quiet down a little. I remember my kids clinging to the center pole and giggling, as I ran along the circle pulling the old metal hulk to spin it. When it was going really fast, I'd hop on and the kids would howl with laughter when I happened (as I did on occasion) to miss my footing and land face first on the spinning wheel.

I have some good memories from this park, but after we moved from the southward up to the Westridge area (my kids grown and married by then), I didn't often get down there. For a while, the old merry-go-round sat sadly quiet, idle on it's wheel. It was a rusting metal hulk from the past.  Once development began at the park, there were many kids on it's grounds, but mostly (back then) for soccer or baseball (my own grandkids included). By then, the merry-go-round was gone. My heart gave a little lurch when I noticed it missing ...  they said it wasn't safe for kids and needed to go, but honestly, in all the years I played on these as a child and took my own kids to this one, I'd never heard of a kid being hurt. No more so than kids can be hurt on today's equipment.


I understand it I guess, because Kitchener Park is imminently more useable than it was, providing space for many activities.

I don't understand why progress has to include the destruction of things. The merry-go-round could have been made stationery, right where it sat, with planted gardens in a circle around it.

Now, there's just an empty space in the corner of the park that nobody uses.