The story behind Memorial Park

Park a Tribute to those who served

During the early months of 1946, the pressing need for a village park where outdoor activities could be held was discussed by a number of prominent Waterdown residents.

The issue of the Waterdown Review published on July 11 of that year carried the headline, “Suggest Memorial Park for Waterdown,” with the original idea for the park expanded to be “both a memorial to those Village residents who had served in World War II and as a park large enough to hold a variety of activities and events that would be for the enjoyment of the community.”

A committee was formed to develop the park idea, spearheaded by a group of young men, members of the Waterdown Amateur Athletic Association (W.A.A.A.) formed in 1942 by Charles W. Binkley. Appointed to serve as chairman of the committee, Binkley had also served on Waterdown Village Council during the 1930s and 1940s.

In August 1946, the committee had the opportunity to purchase a large piece of property (12 acres) in the northwest corner of the village belonging to the John Anderson family and which had served as the village sand and gravel pit. Now needing to raise the necessary funds to complete the transaction, two other village organizations were invited to support the project – the Waterdown Women’s Institute and the Business Men’s Association that would become known as the Waterdown Board of Trade.

For the Women’s Institute, the idea of the park also serving as a memorial to those who had served in World War II, directly followed on from their major project of the 1920s, when almost single-handed, under the direction of Mrs. Muriel McGregor, they had raised the money for the Waterdown Memorial Hall on Dundas Street to serve as the village’s memorial to those of World War I.

Following meetings, the representatives from the three groups agreed to raise the necessary funds for the project – each paying one third of the purchase price of $1200 asked by Mrs. Elizabeth Anderson. Beginning almost immediately, fundraising activities by the three organizations began, so the work on the layout of the park could start. A number of advertisements appeared in the Waterdown Review during the year, urging residents to “invest in the future” and urging everyone living in the vicinity to contribute. And contribute they did.

Volunteers and the free loan of equipment made Waterdown’s Memorial Park a reality by 1949.

Pictured from left Mr. Roy Wilkinson, Chairman of the Parks Committee; Mr. Wm. Gunby, former Reeve of Waterdown, Mr. Vern Willis, member, Parks Committee; Mr. Robert McKay, member Parks Committee and on tractor Mr. Stan Zimmerman, an employee, Township of East Flamboro (c.1946).

By the end of 1947, work was almost complete. The committee’s success with the project and the speed at which so much was accomplished was due entirely to the number of men who freely loaned equipment and gave of their expertise. By the end of the year, the three organizations were able to present to Waterdown Council a fully landscaped park “equipped with flood-lights, washrooms, dressing rooms, bleachers, and excellent baseball diamonds.”


In 1949, the Flamboro’ and Waterdown Agricultural Society became an additional partner in the park project. An adjacent piece of property to the north of the park and fronting onto Parkside Drive and Main Street North was acquired, making a total area of 20 acres.

With this purchase and the realization that the park needed professional and continuing funding for its maintenance, all four parties agreed to relinquish their rights in the park to the Corporation of the Village of Waterdown.

Motions in both the Minute Books of the Waterdown Women’s Institute and Board of Trade clearly state that their donation to the Corporation of the Village of Waterdown is made on the “understanding that such land and park property be maintained as a Community Park for the use of the community as a whole.”

At the meeting of Council on April 21, 1949, members agreed to the request from the organizations and on August 18, 1949, the Waterdown Review reported that the park was officially dedicated as a memorial to the more than 100 residents from the village and the township who had served in the Second World War and to “the Memory of the Fallen” and in particular to the eight young men from the area who had died overseas.

Sylvia Wray is the former archivist with the Flamborough Archives. She can be reached through the Archives at

This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 3 February 2011.


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