If you’ve driven down Plessis Road recently you no doubt noticed the changes occurring at Rotary Heritage Park.
When I was little this was the park my grandfather would always take me to when I came to visit him and Nana. I never knew the park by its proper name. Our family, as well as so many others of our community, have always referred to it as the ‘train park.’
It was a very different park from the one people will know now.
There was no Transcona Trail parallel to the railway tracks back then. It was all grass where the hydro line ran. It’s where people like my grandpa and I would walk our old dog Rocky and hunt for frogs in the ditches and collect rocks from the train tracks.
There wasn’t much of a playground back then, but that never mattered because the draw then was the same as it continues to be today — the train, Engine 2747. It was the first steam engine to be built in Western Canada at the CN Transcona Shops in 1926.
I was pleased to discover through reading last month’s Transcona Views that the train had been repainted and refurbished recently thanks to the efforts of CN vice-president Jim Danielwicz and Heather Lamb, director of CN Transcona Shops.
Also, due to funding acquired through the Recreational Infrastructure Canada program, the Rotary Club of Transcona has made many recreational improvements to the park too.
Most recently, a small parking lot was paved on the north side. It makes the park much more accommodating to visitors who don’t live within a comfortable walking distance as well as to users of the Transcona Trail.
There’s also been the addition of a lovely community garden, over a dozen newly-planted trees sprawled throughout and a new play structure too. Two rock pillars stand at the Kildare Avenue entrance and invite you in to a walking pathway that winds from one end of the park to the other.
A recent visit to the park with my youngest son showed a job well done and it’s refreshing to see new life brought into an old place I have so many fond memories of.
I’m glad it will continue to be a lively place that my grandfather can continue to take his grandkids and now his great grandkids to.
It’s a park that remains very special to me, my family and so many others in our community. I’m happy to see it’s received the attention it deserves.
Adam Petrash is a community correspondent for Transcona. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.