The wheels are turning – The community steps out for the official opening of the Upper Canada skatepark in Kitchener

The community steps out for the official opening of the Upper Canada skatepark in Kitchener

“The new state-of-the-art park could spark Olympic hopes in skateboarding, perfecting their style, waiting for their moment to shine.”

Kitchener – Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, Ward 4 Councilor Christine Michaud, Ward 2 Councilor Dave Schnider and professional skateboarding athletes gathered with local residents for the official opening of the brand new skateboard park. Upper Canada casters from Kitchener.

For parents, children and skateboarding enthusiasts, it was a joyous event.

“It just wouldn’t have been a ZOOM event,” Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said. After several blockages and almost two years of Covid protocols, it’s time to celebrate (together) with good old-fashioned physical activity.

The new skatepark takes pride of place at the western corner of Homer Watson Boulevard. & Pioneer Drive and is adjacent to existing city park amenities including the basketball court, playground, and baseball fields. “The new skatepark (designed by Newline Skateparks) is an urban style course with a mix of vertical elements and rails for different skill levels. It will be a wonderful facility for years, years and years,” said Bill Gurney, Landscape Architect / SR Project Manager, for Newline.

It was great to see the kids and pro skateboarders riding the rails, walls and bumps. Bold and daring … while twisting your nose with terror and impending hurt. You can’t help but wonder (in the early days of the sport) how badly public property has been damaged for these skate daredevils to get this Well 🙂

Skateboarders everywhere encountered signs saying: NO skateboard! Without a designated local skate facility, using town property as a skate park was fair game for their brand of perfectionism. Many local residents felt this was a complete disregard for public property. It was not quite true. And it wasn’t just a matter of challenge. It was about inclusion. They were sending a message to the community and their politicians that a public skate site was absolutely necessary.

So here we are today. The politicians have listened. The new skate park is complete, and parents across the region are happy that their kids are skating instead of spending most of their time online. Phew!

Aside from several professional skaters who were in attendance to strut around and impress (Adam Hopkins and Fay DeFazio Ebert), there were some great local kids playing what is now recognized as an Olympic sport. The Tokyo 2020/2021 Games were the first Olympic Games to welcome skateboarding as a sport.

Two noteworthy were Nola Eldridge (the little one below) and Jon Parrott. Their synchronized skating routine garnered attention after the opening ceremony. Could there be a future Olympic competitor coming up?

With this new, state-of-the-art facility next to Homer Watson Boulevard, many Olympic hopefuls could hone their style, waiting for their moment to shine. Dreams don’t happen without practice. And when politicians listen to their constituents (including YOUNG PEOPLE), the sky is the limit … and dreams come true.

Below: August Swinson The Indigenous artist created this mural for the park.

Pro skateboarder Fay DeFazio Ebert

Local children enjoy the new park …

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