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“I fell in love with Fort Edmonton Park in Grade 4,” Clarke said Tuesday, inviting residents who purchase a bulb to share their stories about the park on social media throughout the campaign. “It’s locked in time. It’s always there and it always will be there. It’s like an old friend that everybody in the city knows and I think that’s part of what makes it special.”
The park closed in the fall of 2018 for the enhancement work and is expected to reopen sometime next spring. Aside from the renewed midway, the historic park will also feature the expansion of Hotel Selkirk and a new front entry plaza. A brand new Indigenous Peoples’ Experience will teach visitors about the history of the site through interactive exhibits.
Fort Edmonton Park was created as a centennial project in 1967 to reconstruct the old Fort Edmonton and quickly became a community staple showcasing the city’s rich history. The park includes the 1846 Hudson’s Bay Fort as well as showcases the evolution of Edmonton through the streets of 1885, 1905 and 1920.
Elected officials from all three levels of government who represent the area were on hand Tuesday just outside the park to share their stories about what the park means to them. Ward 9 Coun. Tim Cartmell, who worked at the park during his university days, declared Tuesday Light the Midway Day in Edmonton on behalf of Mayor Don Iveson.
Residents can donate to the campaign online and even create a fundraising team, with rewards on the line for the highest fundraisers. About $14,000 has already been raised for the campaign.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Clarke said he is hopeful the park reopening next spring will provide some sense of normalcy for residents.
“It’s so ingrained in our city, so ingrained in the culture of our city that I think part of reopening society, as it were, will be going back to Fort Edmonton Park,” he said. “I think Fort Edmonton Park is going to be very, very busy when it reopens.”