Historic Sites of Manitoba: Hyland Park (RM of East St. Paul)
Hyland Park, situated in the Rural Municipality of East St. Paul, was established in the early 20th century by Winnipeg businessman J. L. Hyland as a destination for tourists riding aboard his two Red River steamboats Bonnitoba and Winnitoba and later, the Lockport, following the ruin of both ships.
The Hyland Navigation and Trading Company (HNTC) built a built a lengthy dock along the Red River, to which multiple round trips were made per day from their Winnipeg docks at Lusted Avenue to accommodate the attraction’s popularity. In 1914, a barge previously used by the Arctic Ice Company was purchased, renovated into a floating pavilion and dance hall complete with an orchestra, and moored in the river near the park dock. Park admission in 1914 was set at 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children, while access to the floating dance hall was free with a sanctioned boat trip ticket, without which admission to the dance hall was another 25 cents.
The property, complete with multiple pavilions and a dining hall, was considered a “family park” and maintained a strict no-alcohol policy. Activities came to an end following the summer season of 1915, due to a combination of the First World War, financial difficulties, and a series of disasters including the ruin of both steamships. Over the following few years, the park was occasionally used by groups for special outings.
Years later, the property was acquired by the Imperial Oil Limited, owners of an fuel depot across Henderson Highway. The ruins of this former HNTC dock site was then bisected with the installation of a water pumping station built to support the adjacent depot. On 18 June 1975, Tourism Minister Rene Toupin announced the company had donated the property to the Province of Manitoba. Under formal agreement a year later, the $150,000 property exchanged hands for $1. A commemorative monument was erected, park amenities including a boat launch were installed, and the site operated as a provincial wayside park for a time, before eventually being transferred to the municipality which manages it.
“Shipping companies ready for navigation,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 April 1911, page 3.
“S.S. Lockport,” Manitoba Free Press, 14 July 1914, page 12.
“Steamer Lockport,” Manitoba Free Press, 27 July 1914, page 3.
“Local notes,” Manitoba Free Press, 5 July 1917, page 4.
“Wayside park coming,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 June 1975, page 7.
“Park pact made formal,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 July 1976, page 4.
Page revised: 25 March 2019
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