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LaSalle Park

LaSalle Park Pavilion, 1997The property that ultimately became LaSalle Park was owned by Alex Brown. He had a two-storey frame house and built a wharf into Lake Ontario. Alexander Brown is also notable for being one of the founders of Waterdown and he constructed the first mill on Grindstone Creek. The wharf on this property, known as Port Flamborough, became the centre of the Aldershot community.

In 1913 or 1915 – records contradict each other – the City of Hamilton purchased 57 acres for a park from P.W. Brown for $52,673.00. The park became known as Wabasso. The origin of the Wabasso name is said to come from a First Nation word for “white rabbit” (BHS n.d.). Later, Wabasso became famous as the brand name of sheets made by a Montreal based cotton mill. Eddie Scheer an Aldershot native and member of the cotton mill board suggested the name (BHS n.d.).

The park was renamed LaSalle Park around 1926. A plaque commemorating the area as being the landing spot for René-Robert Cavelier de LaSalle was erected. LaSalle was an early explorer who helped expand the French Fur trade into Lake Ontario (OHT 2012).

Wabasso Park (renamed LaSalle Park in 1923) Bath House, ca 1925In 1917 the City of Hamilton built the Pavilion. It was designed as a dancing pavilion and is one of the few 1920s dance houses to survive in Ontario. Also constructed in 1922 for the park’s new function was a Bath House. The Bath House complemented the architecture of the Pavilion with large arched windows, a low roof and horizontal emphasis. This structure ultimately burnt down and was never rebuilt. In 1928 a portion of the park was leased by Maurice L. Smith to run an amusement park on-site.

In 1983 Burlington entered into agreement with Hamilton to lease the property for $1.00 per year (Inside Halton 2012). Though there has been much discussion about the ownership of the park, the lease agreement is still in place (City of Burlington 2014). It was returned to its former glory in 1997 and once again hosts dancing as a popular venue for weddings (City of Burlington 2014). Today, the area’s nautical tradition is continued though the LaSalle Park Marina.

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Associated Properties:

50 North Shore Boulevard “LaSalle Park” – LaSalle Park was originally a property owned by Alex Brown, a founder of Waterdown who built wharves on the property. It was later purchased by the City of Hamilton for use as a park named Wabasso. A bath house – now demolished – and pavilion were built on the property.