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Boulevard Lake Park

“The park was crowded with bathers, boaters, and picnickers who attested to the delights of the area and urges further development of the park."
- Stirett, Marlene. "Boulevard Lake." August 31, 1982.

Where: Lyon Boulevard Size: Boulevard Lake Complex consists of approximately 650 acres
Created: ca. 1914
Major Features:
  • The original dam, constructed 1901-1902
  • The present dam, constructed 1906-1907
  • Black Bay Bridge, constructed 1911 
  • Yacht club building, built 1914
  • First concessions available at Black Bay Bridge, 1929
  • Lyon Boulevard, park drive open 1936
  • Boat house, constructed 1936
  • Diving raft, tower, and Olympic Standard Diving Board, crib, and iconic lifeguard chair, installed ca. 1936-1940
  • Dressing room and washroom, constructed 1938
  • Boat rentals - rowboats, canoes, punts, available starting 1938
  • Playground equipment - swings, slides, merry-go-round, jungle-gym, etc. 
  • Miniature golf course, opened 1969
  • 50 lightposts installed around Boulevard Lake, 1969
  • Lakeside Beach, Sunny Side Beach, and Sandy Cove, established by 1971
  • Disc Golf course, installed 2010
Land Acquired:

123 acres were acquired from James Lyon between 1893 and 1914. 

Park Use: Passive recreation: swimming, hiking, boating, golfing, picnicking 

 

Each image in the slideshow is a link to original records and more information.


Historical Highlights:

  • In 1901-1902, a dam was constructed on the Current River, as a source of electric power. This dam resulted in the creation of the Boulevard Lake reservoir.

  • In 1893, the town of Port Arthur purchased the first acres of land from Mr. James Lyon for $395. Port Arthur continued to acquire land from Lyon: 77.7 acres in 1901 for $521.26, 23.77 acres in 1911 for $2380, and 23 acres in 1914 for $51,000.

  • Mr. Lyon attached a few conditions to the sale on June 23, 1914:  
    1. That a public roadway be constructed and that it surrounds the reservoir, and that it is called "Lyon Boulevard"
    2. That the City is free to sell not more than one third of the land surrounding Lyon Boulevard
    3. That the City name the parkland "Lyon Park" and that it would be maintained as a public park
  • By July 1914, the gravel road, Lyon Boulevard, was complete. On July 15, 1914, 61 cars ceremoniously paraded from the Whalen building around Lyon Boulevard to Current River Park.

  • 1911, the City of Port Arthur constructed the Black Bay Bridge. It was the first single span concrete bridge in Canada.

  • In 1936, the "Current River Reservoir" was renamed "Boulevard Lake." Also this year, Council decreed that pulpwood could no longer be kept in Boulevard Lake.

  • A boathouse and dressing rooms were constucted in 1936.

  • 1936 was also the first year that swimmers at Boulevard Lake Park were protected by a lifeguard.

  • In 1937, a bathing beach opened.

  • In 1939, a boat rental business opened, renting out 3 buckhorn rowing boats, 3 Lake Queen Canoes, and 3 punts.

  • The picnic locations at Boulevard Lake Park were named in 1962. They became: Lakeview Park, Birch Point Park, Evergreen Park, River Bend Park, and Current River Park.

  • In 1963, Black Bay Bridge was widened.

  • In 1975, a new Multi-Service Building was constructed. This building replaced one which was severely burned in a fire in 1967.

  • Charles Henry Ritchie bequeathed 4.24 acres of land in 1979. The four parcels of land stretched from the Black Bay Bridge to the edge of the Lyon property. 

  • The 1981 Jeux Canada Games held waterskiing competitions at Boulevard Lake.

  • As part of the Millenium Project, Birch Point Park was bestowed park status in 2000. It is home to walking paths, a number of public art installations, and Thunder Bay's first disk golf course.


 

See also: