Downtown Hamilton Splash Pad Gets Real: Beasley Park

If the image of a downtown comes to mind, some may say an area that includes a shelter, a police station and homelessness. Perhaps downtown to others also means graffiti that covers rough, abandoned buildings meant for demolition…or the next luxury condo. Yes. These could all describe our next splash pad in Beasley Park, which I would argue, is as downtown Hamilton as it gets. This park confronts you like no other. I would also say this park showcases the struggle between poverty and prosperity as well as both the beauty and unease of what a downtown can be like in any city, anywhere.

I will preface my review by saying this is what Scott and I love about living in downtown: that it shows you what life is like in across the spectrum of society and doesn’t disguise life like the suburbs can. Therefore, I will paint an honest picture of this splash pad and surrounding park.

Upon walking down Cannon St. around 9:30am, we were met with two police cruisers who were using yellow tape on an old, abandoned building which is slated for future luxury condo development. Realizing we could not get around whatever had taken place, we took a right- passing some huddled men across from a Good Shepherd and graffiti-covered buildings before arriving at Beasley park. This park was recently redeveloped and now includes a huge skate park, a large fountain and new playground for kids with the splash pad next to it.

Here is the thing- the new features present in contrast to the realization that: the fountain has a no-fill water base (to deter litterers and bathers), there are no outer, permanent spray pad pieces (to deter vandalism) and there is a needle collection box (to prevent discarded needles). It’s so easy to see everything up until this point and only see it for what it’s worth. However, what if one instead saw the unique beautiful murals on the wall that fill this park with bright, happy imagery? The value of play for families and kids that live in this neighbourhood? The vast amount of shade from all the trees that most new developments completely lack? Our two only problems with this park remain: the huge amount of litter that’s scattered as well as the needle drop-off bin that is located right next to the splash pad. I mean, really? Right next to the splash pad? The park could have placed this even just across the way to still keep it centrally located.

I realized from the get-go this review would be less about the splash pad itself because of the greater story of its park and neighbourhood. This is a story of seeing the potential and the possibilities of a park that serves its community through safe green space and play structures.

If the image of a downtown comes to mind, some may say an area that includes a shelter to help those who struggle, a police station that serves the community and a diversity of people you may not find elsewhere. Perhaps downtown to others also means colourful, creative murals that add character to a park. Yes. These could all describe our next splash pad in Beasley Park, which I would argue, is as downtown Hamilton as it gets.

Overall: Come with an open mind and heart. Wear shoes. Enjoy the unique graffiti and new playground. This is downtown Hamilton at its most real.

  • Location: 2/5
  • Shade: 4/5
  • Usability: 5/5
  • Fun factor: 1/5
  • Splash factor: 1/5

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