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(Also known as "Ainslie Wood")
(Sometimes spelled as"Ainsley" or "Ainslee")
In the 1800s, George Ainslie owned a 24-hectare farm in Barton, which would come to be in present-day south west Hamilton. This was willed to his son, Robert. The Ainslie family had allowed the public to roam the land and have picnics on it. One area had a favoured waterfall and stream. Upon his inheritance, Robert further enticed the public by adding some food outlets and a small zoo with birds and animals. He also installed boat-style swings and a baseball ground.
In 1879, streetcar tracks were extended to Ainslie because of the increased numbers attending the park. This service commenced om May 23. Robert sold the park to a rail company in 1885. They improved the sports field for games in addition to baseball such as cricket and lacrosse.
The park continued in popularity until the mid 1890s when a rail yard was built close enough to the park to affect its esthetic values. The park muddled along until after World War I when investors from Detroit looked at buying the area for an airport with a theatre and an amusement park as attractions. They declined and the grounds were sold to John Gibson. It's unclear if he continued the park or not, but he did keep the name. There is no word as to what, if any, amusement rides might have been added.
The land was eventually donated to a school and the remainder to the Hamilton Parks Board. It was then developed in the 1960s as residential apartments, and Highway 403 was routed through it. Today, the name survives as Ainslie Wood Park, but in a different location.
Thanks to Janet Forjan, Historical Interpreter at Dundurn Castle, for
suggesting this park and providing information.
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Closed Canadian Parks Index