Spray parks unique features help keep cool over Labour Day weekend

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

The splash pad at Legion Park opened just in time for a boiling hot Labour Day weekend. Dozens of people used the spray park to cool off as temperatures crept into the 30s over the unofficial last weekend of summer.

Although the sneak peek was perfectly timed for the weather, the water is now off, while town crews install a new playground nearby.

The president of the company that installed the hotly anticipated water feature says the Fort Frances installation is the first time several of the features have been used.

Janet Elliott is the president and owner of Openspace Solutions which designed and installed the splash pad. She says they were intentional to make the design tie in to the local environment.

“We started to build on it with a boat and the fish and the trees that are indigenous to here,” Elliott said. “Then when we added the bucket, which is the signature feature, we wanted to do something special with the bucket. When I started doing my research on Fort Frances, the mermaid came up. So I proposed it to Travis [Rob]. I said ‘what would you think if we put the mermaid on the bucket?’ Then that was kind of the finishing touch on the project.”

The splash pad features several ground sprays, with water simply squirting up from the ground. If covered, the pressure is transferred to the other ground sprays, with less aggressive pressure from the sprays located in the section designed for younger kids. Elliott also pointed out a fish “funbrella” which has a cone of water coming out around a fish fixture and a “magnif-eye” which casts different coloured shadows of fish when light passes through it and also has water spraying out around it.

The spray park in the west end of Fort Frances was the place to be over a hot Labour Day long weekend. – Ken Kellar photo

Other features include a fishing pole that sprays along the length of the pole, along with a canon and several fish features, which can be directed to squirt in a variety of directions.

The boat is a central feature of the spray park and its design is a first for Elliott.

“This is the first boat I’ve done with the wood grain in it,” Elliott said. “We’ve done lots of pirate ships and things like that but this is our first natural looking boat. It’s got a natural, rustic feel and I love it.”

The primarily orange and green colour scheme for the spray park was credited to interim CAO and committee member Travis Rob. Elliott also said it’s the first time that she can recall doing green fish which are present around the splash pad.

The different features are not always running, as the system cycles through features and after about five minutes the system has to be reactivated by pressing a button located in the splash pad.

The playground, created by a different vendor, also has orange as a key part of its colour scheme as well as a nautical theme, with the main structure being a boat. The jungle gym installation is ongoing this week and the playground should be available for play further into the fall.

Whether the spray park is open again will depend on the weather going forward and other work going on at the park.