Woodlands Park: Ghost Landscape

Black and white photo of cast iron, Victorian memorial fountain at Woodlands Park, Hamilton, by George Laidler

Woodlands Park: Ghost Landscape is a community-led placemaking project that speaks to 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 Woodlands Park.

Woodlands Park was once a treed, Victorian-style park with a fountain and bandstand, known as “The People’s Park” for its labour gatherings. But six months after the Stelco strike, when strikers organized and assembled at Woodlands Park, the city’s Parks Board decided — against local opposition — to “modernize” the park by removing the bandstand, fountain, and most of the trees. This was done before May Day, 1947. With its installations throughout the park, Ghost Landscape evokes and commemorates the rich landscape removed by the Parks Board.

Ghost Landscape aims to bring the public space that was pre-1947 Woodlands back to life, if only in our imagination. As a visitor, you’re invited to experience evocative photo displays around the park, and a soundscape active from afternoon to evening.

With thanks to Sarah Ehmke and Ken Coit; Naomi Bower; Rachel Braithwaite, Jessica Myers, Suzanne Zandbergen, Alice Plug-Buist, and everyone at the Barton Village BIA; Holly Rolston, Lakeside Insurance; Jason Morse, Morse & Associates; Glen Marshall and Nathan McCrory, Steady Canoe; Brenda Duke and Laura Farr, GALA; Paul Wilson; David Beland, Janice Brown, and Graham Carroll; Workers Arts & Heritage Centre; McMaster University Library; Marisa Purdy, Ryan Johnston, and the staff at Hamilton Public Library; Lance Darren Cole; Tracy Fielding, Tracing Green Canada Inc.; Marianne and Lesia Mokrycke, OMC Landscape Architecture; Heritage Toronto and the City of Toronto Archives; and to Kara Bunn, Leanne Turner, Kody Freeborn, Steve Gardner, Charlette Lockhart, and all the staff at the City of Hamilton who provided support for the project and helped make it a reality.

Square promo graphic with diagonal geometric design in teal, blue and green with text: 11am-8pm, Saturday, June 11th: The Barton Village Festival. www.bartonvillage.ca

Photo: George Laidler / Local History & Archives, Hamilton Public Library.

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