Cooling off in Nipigon’s new splash pad, a welcome addition to the Township’s Paddle to the Sea Park.
On warm summer days, squeals of delight can be heard ringing out from the new splash pad in the Township of Nipigon. It's one of numerous projects in Northern Ontario that has benefitted from Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program funding to commemorate the country's 150th anniversary of Confederation.
The federal program, which provided $300 million over two years to improve or expand existing public facilities in communities from coast to coast to coast, was designed to leave a lasting legacy to mark the country's milestone event. Administering the Program in Northern Ontario, FedNor has supported more than 150 projects that provide community and cultural benefits for area residents.
In Nipigon's case, seeing children play and hearing their laughter is injecting new life into its downtown core. The splash pad, an addition to the township's Paddle to the Sea Park, opened July 29, 2016, and according to Economic Development Officer Suzanne Kukko, it has been a huge hit in the community of 1600.
"It's hugely popular with both visitors and locals alike. We've had birthday parties out there, and programs, such as Best Start for young children, are holding their spring functions at the splash pad. We are working to raise awareness about the facility's availability for hosting events, which is yet another one of the project's benefits."
Adults look on as children enjoy Nipigon’s new community attraction.
Kukko says the township doesn't have a means of tracking the number of visitors, but even during inclement weather in its first season, it wasn't uncommon for 20-30 people to drop by the venue. Kukko recognizes that the splash pad was a novelty for residents last year. She says she'll have a better idea of what to expect in terms of traffic once it has operated for a full summer.
"One might assume that the park is just for kids, but last summer, I spotted a senior in her bathing suit with her grandkids. Though its appeal is universal, it primarily draws children under the age of 10, however tweens and teenagers also stroll in to cool off."
Provided the weather cooperates, the splash pad will be open for three and a half months each year, starting the first week of June and stretching to mid-September to capitalize on Labour Day weekend before traffic tapers off and temperatures start to dip.