Announcing Woodlands Park: Ghost Landscape

Woodlands Park Placemaking project to mark Stelco strike’s 75th anniversary

July 15, 2021

Hamilton, ON — In partnership with the Barton Village BIA, the Ghost Landscape project team is pleased to announce a new Placemaking project, funded by the City of Hamilton and coming soon to Woodlands Park.

Entitled Woodlands Park: Ghost Landscape, and sponsored by the BIA, the project marks two 75th anniversaries in 2021 and 2022: that of the 1946 Stelco strike, and of the 1947 actions by the city’s Parks Board, which forever changed the park at Barton and Wentworth.

Leading this Placemaking project are two Ward 3 residents: writer and heritage advocate Dr. Sarah Sheehan and multidisciplinary artist, poet, and bookbinder Lance Darren Cole.

Woodlands Park: Ghost Landscape, July 1946 – July 2021. #GhostLandscape @Barton_Village GhostLandscape.ca
Woodlands Park: Ghost Landscape, July 1946 – July 2021. Design: Naomi Bower.

Woodlands Park: Ghost Landscape is meant to evoke, recall, and commemorate the lost landscape at Woodlands Park that was removed by the Parks Board circa spring 1947 following the 1946 Stelco strike, for which the park was an assembly point. Planned to span both 75th anniversaries, the project will include archival photos and interpretive text, displayed as vinyl banners on existing walls and fences in the park, together with a central installation referencing the 1898 fountain and lost trees, and sound installation including music that might have been heard from the lost Edwardian bandstand.

The team is grateful to the Barton Village BIA for sponsoring the project, which won Category 2-level funding through the new Placemaking Grant Pilot Program.

Sheehan and Cole found inspiration for the project in Workers’ City, an initiative of Workers Arts & Heritage Centre. Their Placemaking project is motivated by a desire to see renewal at Woodlands Park, especially the return of lost trees and to its status as a gathering place.

Rachel Braithwaite, who until last month was Executive Director of the Barton Village BIA, oversaw the team’s successful Placemaking grant application in spring, 2021. “I think this a great project: it will make a great contribution to Woodlands Park and the community, and really honour the history of the area,” Braithwaite said.

Carrie Brooks-Joiner, Director of Tourism and Culture, City of Hamilton, said, “The City of Hamilton, with financial support from the Patrick J. McNally Charitable Foundation, is pleased to support community-led placemaking projects through the Placemaking Grant Pilot Program. Public spaces across the City will be animated by these temporary projects. I look forward to seeing stories of Woodlands Park told through the Ghost Landscape project developed by the Barton Village BIA and their community partners.”

This is a temporary project made possible by the City of Hamilton’s Placemaking Grant Pilot Program with support from the Patrick J. McNally Charitable Foundation. Projects funded through the Placemaking Grant Pilot Program will help to enliven our public spaces as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional support for Woodlands Park: Ghost Landscape is generously provided by the Ward 3 Office of Councillor Nrinder Nann and USW Local 1005.

Watch Woodlands Park this summer for this landmark Placemaking installation, or visit GhostLandscape.ca to learn more.

Team bios:

Sarah Sheehan is a writer and heritage advocate whose intensive archival research aims to provoke renewal through the recovery of lost histories, especially cultural and site-specific histories. Recent projects have included campaigns to save the former Hotel Hanrahan and St. Giles Church. Sheehan’s research into Woodlands Park provided the initial motivation for the Placemaking project.

Lance Darren Cole is a multidisciplinary artist, bookbinder, and published poet based at the Cotton Factory. He studied at the Ontario College of Art, where he discovered his aptitude for three-dimensional design. His interest in recovering the pre-1947 history of Woodlands Park stems from his union background, both as a member of ACTRA and IATSE, and through his father, a lithographer who participated in a record-setting printers’ strike.

Photo: Local History & Archives, Hamilton Public Library. Design: Naomi Bower.

GhostLandcape.ca | BartonVillage.ca/Ghost-Landscape