How Little Lake Park Continues to be Enhanced Since Its Inception Early in the Twentieth Century
Little Lake Park is not a traditional grassy park setting with the typical children’s playground. Over time, many non-traditional functions have taken place within the park’s boundaries. A large section of the park, just after it was established, was used as a camp ground enjoyed by several thousand campers each summer. For many decades, park visitors have enjoyed going to the park store for ice cream and French fries.
Near King Street, the curling rink was established in 1919 and during the Great Depression in the early 1930’s, the Midland Arena Gardens was built. A replica of a Huron Ouendat village, based on the Forget site on the south side of the Wye Marsh, was constructed in the mid 1950’s and a little over a decade later, the Huronia Museum was opened in 1967 next to the village. In the late 1970’s, the YMCA was built and after the 1976 fire consumed the Midland Arena Gardens, a new arena was built that eventually was enlarged into the North Simcoe Recreation and Sports Centre.
Recently, the Rowing Club was established on the west side of the lake as well as a skate board park. Near Yonge Street, there is a tennis court and a large pavilion for summer parties and reunions. Between the village and lake, volleyball courts were constructed, as well as a dog park, and soon to be built splash dad. Throughout the park, visitors can play on the 18 hole disc golf course. The paved and lighted mile-long trail winds through the majestic, mature trees and is only metres from the shoreline. The lake has been used for swimming and boating in the summer and occasionally skating during the rare winters when the lake freezes but very little snow falls. Recently the lake has been used for snowmobile puddle-jumping and snowmobile races. Sometimes, the high-pitched sounds of model boats speeding on the lake can be heard. Many terrific Midland Minor Baseball games have taken place at the baseball field. The concert stage is well used throughout the summer, especially with the Sunday night Rotary ‘Concert in the Park’ series. A few years ago, Scotiabank sponsored a movie under the stars that was shown on a very large inflatable screen.
James Playfair originally purchased the parkland in 1906 to save the trees from the lumber mills. He then offered the land to the Town of Midland Parks for his original price. How pleased he would be to see how the park is used in so many different ways!