What happens when your childhood water park closes down? Well, me and a couple friends decided to find out one sunny day. If you live in the Niagara Region, we’ve all passed Prudhomme’s Landing, an amusement park that in it’s hey-day was decked out with Bumper Cars, Go-Karts, a “Tilt-A-Whirl”, water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, a haunted house and a motel. Today, the site is more of an eyesore than an attraction.
Prudhomme’s Landing closed down around 2002 and the majority of the attractions are gone. Sold at auction and or removed completely. What remains of the park are remnants of a former time. As we explored the grounds, we had to reimagine what some of the areas could have been. It was like we were conducting some sort of urban archaeology. Here, the green turf has been overgrown with foliage. We believe this to be the former site of the miniature golf are or maybe Go-Karts.
As we further explored the grounds, we noticed other individuals seeking out the site as well. It was hard to tell if they were following us or if we were following them. Nature had taken back most of the park where only faint paths left by other explores remained. Despite it being closed down, guests still seem to inhabit the site. Leaving their mark with tagging, vandalism and organized parties.
The future of the site has been in the works since the property was sold in 2006. The plan for the 79 acres consisted of condos, a new hotel, new shops and a museum at the price of $319 million. As you might expect from newer developments, only a small percentage would be single family detached homes, where the rest would be a mix of townhouses and apartments. The plan also includes commercial properties along the North Service Road (renamed Prudhomme Blvd) which would probably include the existing Subway and Tim Hortons locations. Despite all these plans, the property continues to go up for sale, with no further interest in being purchased.
The ultimate demises of this place is due to the fact that over the past several years there has been increased commercial development and hotel chains along the QEW Niagara corridor. The aspect of ‘new’ has seduced them away from childhood amusement. Whatever this development ends up becoming, I hope we can think more creatively than another lifestyle community or mall at the edge of the lake.