August 6, 1921
By the Summer of 1921, worries about the Spanish flu were waning and the Canadian economy was not only back on its feet, it was expanding after the Great War. Despite many hurdles and much political controversy, the Canadian Pacific Railway had linked Canada by rail thirty-six years earlier and had become one of the largest private employers in the country.
In this panoramic photograph, the Canadian Pacific Railway Recreation Club – employees and their families – are gathered on the lawns of Cobourg’s Victoria Park for their 3rd annual picnic. The park provided an ideal setting for a game of baseball, a concert in the bandshell or a stroll along the waterfront.
The manicured lawns and gardens evolved from a “densely forested patch of cedars and shrubs” traversed by a foot path that extended from the lake and meandered towards King Street. The land was cleared to create a community park in 1894.
Hotels sprang up along the edges of the park to meet the influx of visitors who arrived by ferry and rail during the summer months, but the Depression and the Second World War spelled the end of Cobourg’s golden years as a summer destination. Over the years, the hotels were demolished, and as more land became available along King Street, determined citizens ensured that the park expanded to become what it is today.
courtesy Cobourg Public Library Digital Collection