NO PART OF THE FOLLOWING
ARTICLE AND PHOTOGRAPHS
MAY BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT
PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR ©
Since the early 1900s, cottages and hotels had sprung up in the beach area at Wasaga on Georgian Bay. It was a well-used amusement area with swimming and picnicking being popular.
Circa 1920s or 30s.
People enjoy the sandy beach at Wasaga before the amusement park. Note the period automobiles at the right, which at the time were allowed to park on the beach.
Playland was incorporated in 1932 on a 2.4 hectare parcel of land on the waterfront at Wasaga Beach by William G (Bull) Fielding. Given that the area was already popular, an amusement park was a logical extension. Rides included over the years a Ferris Wheel, Carousel, "Wild Mouse", "Tilt-A-Whirl" (Selner) and "Roll-O-Plane" (Eyerly).
An early event to note is that the first non-stop flight from central Canada to Europe took off from this area August 8, 1934. Pilots Ayling and Reid flew a de Havilland D.H.84 Dragon plane and landed in London, England the next day. Although the flight did not leave from the amusement park itself, the event likely would have packed the park that day.
William Fielding, whose nickname was "Bull", died in 1954 and the park passed to his son Donald. It grew to be very popular with up to 50,000 a day visiting the area by the late 1960s/early 70s. With this increase, traffic and pollution had grown out of control, so the Ontario government declared the area a provincial park. This gave control, and one of the first things done was to ban motor vehicles from the beach. In July of 1971 it was announced thnat an $18 million investment was to be made in the area which projected into the 1980s. Land was bought up to prevent more commercialisation and limits were set for the existing businesses. Even a noise bylaw dictated the volume level of outdoor sound systems.
Circa Early to Mid 1950s
Cars fill the beach on a hot summer day. Compare this photo with the first.
In 1974, Donald died and the park went to his two newfews, Bill and Barry. They operated the park until 1985 when it closed. The reason for closing wasn't poor attendance by any means. The park ceased operations because the owners were getting older and had no children to carry on. Also, the park was located on prime beach front land which was only used three months out of the year for amusement park operations.
The park's contents were auctioned October 26, 1985. Closing rides included Herschell boat, motorcycle, carousel, and roller coaster rides. The carousel was a 1947 model with wood/aluminum horses. The roller coaster was likely a "Little Dipper" model and was dated 1969.
Other items included a ferris wheel, "Grand Prix", Paratrooper" (Hrubetz ?), "Scooter" cars "Tilt-a-Whirl" (Sellner), and a "Scrambler" (Eyerly). Kiddie rides included the aforementioned boat and motorcycle ride plus a Ferris Wheel and "Tubs-O-Fun".
The land, which was for sale a few years ago, is now used as a public parking lot. There is a small waterpark not far from the old park site and a SuperSlide is located across the street. There is also another waterpark in town (Wasaga Waterworld), as well as a few mini-golf courses. A carnival sets up during Canada Day celebrations on the old park site and in a building next to this area. Fading paint heralds "Wasaga Beach Playland".
|Thanks to Dan MacKellar of Lucan, Ontario for suggesting this park, and providing details.)|
Return to the
Closed Canadian Parks Index