Ribbon cutting signals opening of new Friends of the Carousel Workshop

The Friends of the Carousel, the District School Board of Niagara and the City celebrated the opening of the new workshop at a ribbon cutting Thursday, Feb. 21 Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion Public School (91 Bunting Rd.). City of St. Catharines photo

City of St. Catharines press release – The Friends of the Carousel has a new workshop where they will be taking care of the Lakeside Park Carousel’s wooden animals thanks to a partnership with the District School Board of Niagara and the City of St. Catharines.

“We adhere strictly to traditional restoration practices so having an opportunity to show where we do what we do, how we do it and why was exciting,” said Bonnie Cameron, president of the Friends of the Carousel. “Over the years our restoration work has not only dealt with completely restoring each character but also repairing a season’s worth of wear — averaging around 250,000 riders between May and October.

“We’re also excited to have our workshop in a school environment. Our hopes are that it will now give us the opportunity to voice the importance of respecting the characters to the students and teachers. By doing so, they will join our dream of ‘keeping the dream alive’.”

Since 2000, the Friends of the Carousel have volunteered to restore and maintain the Lakeside Park Carousel to its original appearance and have completed restoration work on all of the carousel’s 78 animals and four chariots. The Lakeside Carousel is a Charles I.D. Looff original, and was carved between 1898 and 1905. The carousel was installed in St. Catharines in 1921.

The City’s partnership with the school board offered the Friends the opportunity to move its workshop to the new location at Jeanne Sauvé that features a larger, more modern facility. The Friends complete yearly restorations, including repairs and repaints, on select animals and the new space has allowed them to increase the number of animals they can work on at a time.

“We truly value this partnership with the City of St. Catharines because it supports our community while creating opportunities for student engagement,” said Wes Hahn, the District School Board of Niagara’s superintendent of education “It’s what we mean in our strategic plan when we tell students they matter as community members.”

Lori Mambella, who oversees the operation of the Lakeside Park Carousel, said the City is proud of its partnership with the school board, adding this is another example of how this partnership is helping to enhance quality of life here in St. Catharines. The City has also partnered with the school board to offer recreation programs at Harriet Tubman Public School.

“The carousel is a beloved summer tradition in our community,” said Mambella. “This partnership supports the Friends in their good work of keeping the carousel in great shape for everyone to enjoy.”

The Lakeside Park Carousel will open for the season on May 18/2019.



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