I’ve been aware of recent stories in the paper about turmoil in North Sydney over the sale of Archibald Park. They were sad stories of a community struggling to choose between future jobs in a marine repair facility and losing waterfront green space. In the reports I saw there were no photos of the site but now I realize I visited the park in September and snapped a few pictures.
Here is what the park looked like from the deck of a Newfoundland ferry. We noticed a performance stage, children’s play equipment, an observation pavilion and a restaurant and service building. The main commercial street backs on the park. The residential parts of town appear to have a good canopy of trees punctuated with churches.
We parked in the lot behind the park when we ate at one of the two really good restaurants in town. As we waited for our reservation we took a stroll along the water’s edge. To me the area felt like one of those great ideas that had not totally worked. My major piece of evidence was the elegant belvedere, a perfect piece of neo shingle style (80s?). On closer examination there were signs of a long and losing battle with tagging. The ultimate act of capitulation was the staircase to the viewing platform had been permanently boarded in. A Rapunzel Festival could be a thing.
When we returned from Newfoundland we spent time on deck waiting for our turn to unload. This was an opportunity to look at the park in the context of the town. From the experience in Halifax it feels like folks will come to waterfronts for events but it can take a lot of effort to connect these spaces to the everyday life of the community.
More totally gratuitous comments:
- I didn’t realize when I was visiting that the park is called Archibald Park (that’s my name)! All Nova Scotian Archibalds are related to four brothers who came to the Truro area in the 1760s. My branch lived deep in the woods of Guysborough County.
- Missing some Christmas content in this post? There is a wonderful old building on the main street of North Sydney above the park. It was a bank, then a library and is now something else. Over the door in September were some swell Christmas decorations.
- Last year when I visited Kings Wharf in Dartmouth I was pleased to see the Dominion Diving operation next to the new high end residential. A working waterfront can bring a special energy to an otherwise static environment. Maybe this will be true in North Sydney.