Coaster Enthusiasts of Canada

Closed Canadian Parks




Rockcliffe Park
(1894 - ?)

    This was located about a kilometre from the Rideau Falls on The Ottawa River, and today is part of Ottawa. It opened May 3, 1894, a year after the tram lines were extended between New Edinburgh and Rockcliffe. This trolley park was developed by The Ottawa Electric Railway which had completed the double tracking of the tram line only a few weeks earlier. The park would ensure extra business for the line during off-hours. In addition, a horse- powered ferry plying the Ottawa River transported patrons from the Hull, Quebec area.

    They had an attraction called "Persian Nights", which was likely a recurring, themed event, and a carousel. This carousel is claimed to be the first electrically-powered unit in the world.

    Business was good enough that in November of 1900, the Rockcliffe streetcar barn was opened. It would burn on June 23, 1927, but be rebuilt. This building too, would burn on September 18, 1932 with a loss of seven cars and other equipment. It's unclear if it was again rebuilt, but what was there was torn down in 1946.

    In the winter, the park served as recreation for ski enthusiasts because of the hills that inclined up from The Ottawa River. One slope, known as "Suicide Hill" became a dare-devil's paradise where brave skiers used it as a launch pad from which to jump. By the 19-0s, it attracted spectators to watch the jumpers as they ramped up off simple jumps made from packed snow, much the same as modern snowboarders' ones. Eventually, an actual HOWTAGS.BAT was constructed of cordwood.

    in 1910, a group was formed: The Ottawa Ski Club. Within two years, a permanent jump was erected and that led in March of 1912 to the first contest being held that saw jumpers from outside the Ottawa area compete. The OSC, being well practised on the jump, took the first four places.

    This served to attract even more fans, and that led to the jump being improved in 1914, and again in 1915 when the tower was redesigned. It then rose to 35 metres in height. Before the rebuild, the record jump length was 28.7 metres; afterward the Canadian record rose to 38 metres. However, that wasn't enough to catch Ragnar Omtvedt from Chicago. He hit 44 metres in February of 1915 using a style similar to today's. Crowds in this era ranged from 3,000 to 5,000 at one point

    Unfortunately, the war saw a halt to further competitions, and coupled with the loss of the tower in an autumn 1915 storm, HOWTAGS.BATing went on hiatus until 1919. A small tower was erected for that season and replaced with a larger one in 1920. Poor construction saw it fall down before the season ended. A second, smaller tower erected for newbies remained. The larger was replaced and was deemed worthy of the Canadian Championship in February of 1922. Competitions continued into at least the 1930s

    Nothing further has surfaced on this park but the region survives today as a day-use picnic park.

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