Rush is a Band

A blog devoted to RUSH:
Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Sun, Jul 14, 2024

Merry-go-round referred to in Rush's Lakeside Park to reopen for this weekend's Victoria Day celebration

Wed, May 18, 2022@1:55PM | comments

The late Neil Peart grew up in the St. Catharines, Ontario community of Port Dalhousie, the lakefront home of Lakeside Park which inspired the lyrics to the 1975 Rush song of the same name. One of the lines from those lyrics mention a "merry-go-round wheezing the same old melody", referring to the century-old Lakeside Park Carousel which will re-open this weekend for Victoria Day after having been mostly shut down since 2019. Park visitors can still ride the carousel for only a nickel as described in this article:

... Celebrating its 101th anniversary in the park, there were several occasions where St. Catharines nearly lost this completely wood-carved piece of history. In 1950, Sid Brookson, who had managed Lakeside Park since 1928, purchased the park from the Canadian National Railway. However, by the 1960s, the effects of pollution in the lake were becoming more evident and eventually made the beach unusable. In 1970, Brookson closed the midway and planned to auction off all the rides, including the carousel. However, a local antiques dealer, Dorothy Crabtree, recognized the importance of the carousel and wanted to see it kept in Lakeside Park. That same year, she wrote a letter to the local paper, asking simply, "How many people really care what happens to the merry-go-round in Port Dalhousie?" The response from the public was overwhelming. So the City of St. Catharines agreed to maintain the carousel as city property if the asking price of $25,000 could be raised by the public to purchase it. Crabtree was able to raise $20,000 by the deadline and Brookson lowered his asking price. On July 13, 1970, Crabtree donated the merry-go-round to the citizens of St. Catharines but it came with a big request. The City had to keep the price at a nickel per ride with that price maintained to this day some 52 years later. During 2019, the beachfront at Lakeside Park was seriously flooded and the ride had to be shut down. COVID-19 completely shut it down in 2020 and it was open only sporadically last year. However, 2022 is looking good for the carousel which will be open on weekends from this weekend until Thanksgiving and daily from July 1 to September 5. ...

In addition to riding the carousel, folks who visit the Park this weekend can also check out the Neil Peart Pavilion. Back in 2020 the St. Catharines City Council, with the full support of the community, voted to name the newly rebuilt pavilion at Lakeside Park the Neil Peart Pavilion at Lakeside Park in honor of the hometown icon who passed away in January of 2020. The Council also established the Neil Peart Commemorative Task Force, with the objective to commission a public work of art commemorating Peart's life and legacy. Last January the Task Force officially began welcoming artists to submit requests for pre-qualification via the city's website, and revealed the seven finalists back in September along with the launch of a fundraising campaign for the Memorial. In an interview with the Something for Nothing podcast back in October, Task Force chair David DeRocco indicated that the Task Force had planned on making a decision on the final artist by March of this year. That obviously did not come to pass, so it's assumed that they are still in the process of making that final decision. In the meantime, fans can still make a donation towards the Neil Peart Memorial at Lakeside Park at