top of page

Canada's First Ever Elevated Park

Updated: Sep 24, 2023


Frau Hannah in front of the St. Thomas Elevated Park sign

The Elevated Park in St. Thomas is 1 of only a few across the globe and is the first ever elevated park in Canada. I just visited this magnificent park and cannot wait to tell you all about it!

 

The History

St. Thomas - The Railway City

The city of St. Thomas is known as the Railway City as a result of the many railways that were constructed in the city during the late 19th to early 20th century. During this time, St. Thomas quickly became an important railway junction as it was the halfway point between Detroit and Buffalo. Due to this, St. Thomas often had 100 trains a day, both cargo and passenger, pass through the city across 8 different railways.


Nowadays, with the decrease in use of trains and railways, the city is much less bustling. It's has become a rather quiet and nature rich town. As an attempt to not only preserve the railways, but also revive the cities once booming Railway reputation, the elevated park was created.


A view of the st. thomas elevated park from below

This elevated park was built on the MCR Kettle Creek Bridge, which is 95 feet (~29m) high, 30 feet (~9.1m) wide, and 850 (~259m) feet long. This astounding attraction was built thanks to community and volunteer donations, the most notable being the $100,000 CAD from the estate of Donna Vera Bushell.


The park also has all this history and more available in multiple different languages through a QR code found on the park sign.


The Elephant

Now, for those who follow my Instagram, let me explain the elephant photo.


Jumbo the Barnum & Bailey circus elephant

In St. Thomas, there is this massive elephant statue right before entering the park. This statue is a memorial to Jumbo, the giant African elephant. Back in the late 1800's, Jumbo was a part of the Barnum & Bailey circus. This circus was in town when Jumbo met his untimely death after being struck by one of the trains.


The citizen of St. Thomas and Elgin County constructed this memorial, thanks to donations, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.


This memorial is absolutely massive! I am 5'5 (165cm) and I'm not even as tall as on of the legs. It is definitely as must see if you visit the beautiful city of St. Thomas.



The Art

If you know me, you know I love art and this park is absolutely filled with it!


A lot of the art has an abstract and/or historical nature to it. You can definitely see that in the piece titled Fear Not The Wind created by Scott McKay in 2017. This piece resembles a wind vane, which were instruments used to tell the direction of the wind.



Scott McKay also created the eye catching metal work found in the piece titled Perseverance in the roundabout leading to the Kettle Creek Bridge underpass (right underneath the park).


Mini musuem by Sarah Van Pelt

Along the outside of the railing was this mini museum created by Sarah Van Pelt. Based on some scrolling through Insta, Pelt seems to specialize in mini art. The pieces not only have mini benches for mini people to sit at, but also a contemporary style that matches with the other installations.



Love is in the Air art piece


A piece that couples visiting this park would love is called Love is in the Air. This metal, heart shaped structure is not only great for selfies, but couples can add locks to the structure similar to Namsan Tower in Seoul, South Korea or Pont des Artes in Paris, France.





The musical pieces are one of the newest additions, being added in the last 2 years. They would definitely be great for entertaining children while on a family outing to this gorgeous park. My mom and I definitely had fun playing around with the wind chime like pieces.



Right in front of the park sign, there were these murals of elephants that reminded me a lot of the Heffalumps and Woozels song from Winnie the Pooh.

colourful elephant mural

Foraging

Something I wasn't expecting was this park to be fantastic for foraging. There was a surprising amount of wild edible, and not edible, berries along the trail.


elder flower



I saw some wild blackberries, wild raspberries, honeysuckle berries (not edible), and elder flower. My German host mom used to make this orange juice and elder flower jam. She used to tell me that before picking elder flowers you first needed to ask the fairies for permission. I miss her beautiful free spirit.



mulberry tree





My mother and I passed by this tree and weren't sure what these berries were. This lovely woman, who was eating them, told us these berries are called شاه توت (Shahtoot) or Mulberries in English. If you forget to pack a snack, this park has got you covered!





Also! If you want to sit quietly and read at this park, but you forgot your book, this park also has you covered. Not only is there a bookstore in the repurposed train car by Jumbo, but there is also an adorable little free library right at the park's entrance.



 

If you get the chance, I definitely recommending visiting the delightful town that is St. Thomas and exploring all it has to offer.


Frau Hannah in front of the St. Thomas - The railway City sign

26 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


   

bottom of page