One hundred years ago, my street was an amusement park.
Instead of my house, there was a rollercoaster. In place of the majestic and ailing elm trees were a bandstand, baseball diamond, an open-air ice cream parlour and an 80-foot high circular swing.
From 1906 to 1914, Happyland Park stood on the stretch of land between Aubrey and Dominion Streets and Portage Avenue and the Assiniboine River.
Before Wolseley was Wolseley and the neighbourhood was still on the outskirts of town, the American-owned amusement park drew thousands of visitors weekly until financial burdens forced it to close.
Happyland’s other attractions included Japanese tea gardens, a romantic boat ride for lovers through ‘Ye Olde Mill, a miniature train, penny arcade, and a baseball park for the former Winnipeg Maroons baseball club.
The entrance to the park was Doric in architectural style with a big sign reading Happyland that lit up at night. The park officially opened during the last week of May in 1906, with attendance figures reaching as high as 44,000.
Aubrey, Sherburn, Garfield, and Dominion Streets were therefore not fully developed until after the First World War — a few years after many Wolseley homes.
Laina Hughes is a community correspondent for Wolseley. She launches her book Wolseley Stories on Thursday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.McNally Robinson.