What do skaters say?
The Prince Edward Hotel at 100
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/06/2012 (3995 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
On a recent afternoon visit to the Kristopher Campbell Memorial Skate Plaza, skateboarders were actually outnumbered by BMX bikers.
The skate park, built on the same lot where the Prince Edward Hotel once stood, was designed and built to echo the long-gone building.
Judging by the tentative answers given by young people landing tricks on skateboards and bikes, though, the design work hasn’t quite sunk in.
Ask them what came before the skate park, and you’ll get a few quizzical looks.
“Wasn’t it a parking lot?” guesses 12-year-old Zach Gwyer. Well, yes, it was. For about three times longer than he’s been alive.
Lights dawned when he was informed it used to be a hotel and attached train station — and that portions of the skate park were named after areas in the hotel: the rotunda, the lobby,
“Oh…. now I know why it’s called the kitchen!” he said.
Zach, who was hanging out in the park with his nine-year-old brother Zane as well as their friend Simon Brown, 11, and Zack Hodgen, said that overall they enjoyed the park, although they wished it was a little bit bigger.
Historical plaques are planned for the site, which will honour donors who made it happen, as well as explain the history of the hotel that used to stand there.
But, for now, many of the young skateboarders and BMX bikers associate the park much more strongly with Kristopher Campbell, the Brandon teenager it was named in memory of.
Kristopher, an avid though “not a great skateboader” according to his father, was killed in a car accident more than 15 years ago. The family business, C & C Construction, donated $75,000 to the $1.05-million park’s construction.
“It just makes me proud that we are able to help the community and Kristopher’s name will go on forever," his father said when the skate park officially opened in 2010.
Indeed, Kristopher’s was the first name that sprung to the mind of nine-year-old skateboarder Rylan Parrott-Harding.
“I think he founded it,” Parrott-Harding ventured.
Although that’s not quite right, there is a strong connection now between Kristopher Campbell and the former home of the Prince Edward Hotel. It’s a connection, actually, that may go back further than anyone expected, at least according to one never-before-noticed coincidence.
In 1982, Kristopher’s grandmother Eva chaired the city’s centennial committee (in the parlance of the time, she was “chairman”) and in a late-December ceremony to close out the centennial, she was presented with paintings of her home by artist Fay Jelly.
Jelly also contributed a painting of the Prince Edward Hotel, which was to hang in City Hall.
And, in a final gesture to mark the end of the event, the centennial flag was handed to Eva’s four-year-old grandson, Kristopher, who was representing the city’s future.
It is, of course, a tenuous link. But it’s undeniable that Kristopher Campbell, whose name is now indelibly tied with the Prince Edward Hotel, had already appeared in a ceremony with it.