My memory of Maple Grove Park from running junior high cross-country races in the mid 1970s was that it was a park "in the middle of nowhere by the Perimeter" with a great deal of open space, and not many users.
Times have changed. The park has at least five major user groups, and is the site of all sorts of activity.
The first thing one sees after entering the park is the boat launch, which opened for the season this year in late July.
The St. Vital Mustangs Football Club has its clubhouse and fields at Maple Grove, and runs football programs for boys and girls in various age groups. Earlier this year I attended the club’s 65th anniversary dinner, and was pleased to provide $25,000 in funding from my ward’s community incentive grants to assist in the construction of a storage building and field repair.
Rugby Manitoba operates its clubhouse and fields at a separate site just west of the Mustangs complex, and in 2015 will celebrate 30 years at the Maple Grove site. I found out at the annual Rugby Hall of Fame Dinner this past spring that Maple Grove is the leading facility for rugby (men’s and women’s) in the city. The rugby facilities are also used for the massive annual Super-Spike volleyball tournament, which raises funds for the Winnipeg-based National Women’s Volleyball Team.
The Maple Grove off-leash dog park has a large presence at the park, and earlier this year I approved funding from the city’s land dedication funds to improve the parking facilities at the Dog Park section.
Finally, the Manitoba Organization of Disc Sports (MODS) also rents fields at Maple Grove. What’s that, you ask?
MODS operates a large ultimate Frisbee league. Not Frisbee golf, but more like Frisbee co-ed football. I was invited to the high school ultimate championships this year at Maple Grove. I thought it would be a small gathering — was I wrong! The MODS continues to improve its facilities at Maple Grove and I look forward to supporting a funding request they will have before council in September.
In late July, my sporting experiences at Maple Grove Park came full circle when I attended my older son’s first-ever Mustangs football practice. The park was hopping. It was great. Times have changed at Maple Grove, and for the better.