Convert Chedoke into a Tube Park

Chedoke Golf Course should be developed into a proper year-round tubing park and zip line.

By Simon Carroll
Published June 17, 2015

How do you solve a problem like Chedoke?

Chedoke Golf Course (RTH file photo)
Chedoke Golf Course (RTH file photo)

I read in the Hamilton Spectator in the last couple of days that Hamilton has to look into how it can make its public golf courses more profitable.

I don't know much about King's Forest but I spent years walking through Chedoke on my way to meet up with friends in Westdale from my parent's home on the West Mountain.

I vividly remember the ski hill and going down it on toboggans in the winter. I understand why the ski hill ended up shutting down and how much it sucked for the people who used it.

Well, here is the kernel for my idea on what should be done at Chedoke Park:

That's right, I think Chedoke should be developed into a proper tubing park. I would also suggest a zip line since we have the magnificent Niagara Escarpment to use.

This is something that I have thought of for years, but seeing Chicopee Tube Park develop it in Kitchener has solidified it for me. Gosh, why not throw in a Gondola for the heck of it as well?

Currently, the Chedoke clubhouse is a wasted opportunity for golf, but it would be awesome for après-tubing hot chocolate if it was updated. Lighting that area up at night and doing some night tubing would be a great experience.

And it doesn't have to be limited to winter. A quick look at Chicopee shows that they do tubing in the summer - using a dry, waterless tub slide made from a special plastic with "the same slippery properties as snow".

The worst thing that could happen would be to sell that area off to developers. What a tragic loss of publicly-owned greenspace.

So what do you think, Hamilton? I think that this would be awesome!

First published on Simon's website.

Simon Carroll is a husband, father and singer, living and playing in the Hammer.


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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted June 17, 2015 at 14:20:38

It absolutely has to stay green space! Chedoke is such a beautiful, vibrant green area --- it would be a shame if such a large, contiguous block of ready-made parkland was broken up.

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted June 17, 2015 at 17:00:34

Brilliant idea. I love it and yes yes yes to Gondolas.

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By Jen Y (anonymous) | Posted June 17, 2015 at 17:41:40

I love this idea. Look at London Ont's Boler Mountain with their tree top Adventure: good for school fieldtrips, tourism or just something fun and active to do locally on a weekend. Not to mention spring/summer/fall job creation.

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 17, 2015 at 18:48:46

I've long wondered how a city with our geography doesn't have a zip line, tree-top suspension bridge, tubing, Mountain bike jump course etc..... Chedoke could house all of this plus golf, a destination restaurant/patio facility, trails etc......

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted June 17, 2015 at 22:09:16

Great ideas.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted June 18, 2015 at 01:52:40

I think this is actually a bang on idea.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted June 18, 2015 at 09:38:29

So like Chicopee or Boler Mountain, all the city needs to do is set some parameters (in conjunction with the Niagara Escarpment Commission, no doubt) and lease the lands to a capable and creative not-for-profit group. (Not sure how the legacy of course architect Stanley Thompson figures into it, but I'm sure that there's precedent.)

Either that or militarize it, as it was a century ago.

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By hilda (anonymous) | Posted June 18, 2015 at 10:07:28

This is a great idea! Spot on.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 18, 2015 at 10:29:26

I realize this isn't a popular viewpoint, but imho most of Chedoke should be developed. Think of all the discussions about intensification and then think about Chedoke.

There absolutely should be a park there. A nice park with a sledding/tubing hill and a play-structure and picnic tables and maybe a little disc golf or something. But Chedoke is like three times the size of the massive Gage Park. That's huge. You could probably fit Gage Park, Churchill Park, and Bayfront Park inside of it. You could develop most of Chedoke and still have a respectable great park.

Even if we paved all of Chedoke, it would still have greenspace being nestled under the Escarpment and two trails running through it.

I love Westdale. I love Westdale so much I want everybody to be able to live here, but unfortunately we've only got so many houses. The amenitites of Chedoke housing would be absolutely staggering:

  1. Close to the planned LRT stop at Main/Longwood
  2. Two trails and whatever hypothetical park is put in.
  3. 403 access.
  4. A stone's throw from Locke Street village.
  5. Some of the best schools in the city.
  6. A stone's throw from McMaster and MIP.
  7. The beautiful escarpment backdrop.

Look at all the posts we have discussing the importance of intensification. This is a real opportunity for intensification - build this thing right on Studholme:

urban form plains and waterdown

complete with the shops underneath. Put it next to our hypothetical park so nobody argues about shadows cast over existing homes. Then fill up the rest of Chedoke with those tall dense duplexes and upscale townhouses they build in places like Oakville.

Use the tremendous money from the sale to build the park and to upgrade Longwood (off-street cycle track right to King, widen intersection if necessary, etc) to handle the new traffic.

The problem is the folks in Kirkendall would rightly fight against this, because they get all the downside of increased densification and none of the upside of the money. I mean, you could offer increased bus-service (more density = more buses) and that new park, but something tells me that wouldn't exactly allay their concerns. Traffic on Aberdeen would be a mess.

Although paving greenspace doesn't sound green, this is the green thing to do. High density homes in a transit/bike-friendly area instead of sprawling out over farmlands in car-country.

Of course, I live in Westdale and not Kirkendall, and I don't golf, so it's easy for me to post this. The worst downside I'd be facing would be the construction time of whatever upgrades were done to Longwood. I'd be singing a different tune if somebody, for example, suggested doing this to the Churchill Park soccer fields.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-06-18 10:55:32

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted June 22, 2015 at 08:13:27 in reply to Comment 112340

Natural barriers encourage increased density. Increasing the supply of empty developable land in the lower city, when we already have a plethora of surface level parking lots and brownfields, would be counterproductive.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted June 18, 2015 at 19:46:39 in reply to Comment 112340

More than 10% of all condo units developed in Wards 1-8 between 2001 and 2012 took place in the heart of Chedoke, right on Studholme.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted June 18, 2015 at 19:40:50 in reply to Comment 112340

Roughly half of all Ward 1 condo development in the 2001-2013 period took place in the heart of Chedoke, right on Studholme.

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 18, 2015 at 15:46:38 in reply to Comment 112340

I go the opposite view on this. We need giant natural green spaces through the city as we densify. Gage Park, Bayfront, Chedoke, Cootes, Churchill, Gore, Eastwood, Corktown, Sam Lawrence etc.... should all be preserved and actually connected through safe, green biking/walking paths and trails. Also with direction connections to all rail trails and future trails along possible hydro corridors, waterfront etc..... New development should take place on major corridors, empty lots, one-storey slab buildings, brown fields etc.....

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 18, 2015 at 19:06:02 in reply to Comment 112349

Well, in the meantime new development is happening in the form of 2-car garage detached homes on farmlands in flamborough and binbrook. Not that selling chedoke would stop building elsewhere.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted June 18, 2015 at 11:38:09 in reply to Comment 112340

Consider Central Park in New York City. Imagine the massive profitability of developing that land that is surrounded by one of the most densely populated regions of North America. But they don't do it because the people need that space to retreat to to get a bit of fresh air and sun. Just an interesting aside - in the 1800's before the park was established residents of NY would relax and picnic in graveyards in the absence of more appropriate green space.

The entire Golden Horseshoe as you know is now operating under the Places To Grow policy which will be increasing intensification where infrastructure currently exists. If we plow over that land we will have more houses, sure, but where will our Central Park be? The escarpment is nice but it is not a park. You can't picnic on a cliff or limestone boulders. The RBG? Maybe, but it is not very 'central'.

I would much prefer to leave that land as a simple park. Zip lines and tube rides are not for everyone, you would have to pay for it and I think they would detract from the landscape. A park with a splash pad and play structure for kids and just a lot of green space with nice big trees to relax under I think would be perfect.

Comment edited by ergopepsi on 2015-06-18 11:38:50

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 18, 2015 at 11:49:01 in reply to Comment 112341

Absolutely, but would it need to be 3x the size of Gage Park?

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted June 18, 2015 at 12:14:39 in reply to Comment 112342

Maybe not now but in 50 years future Hamiltonians would probably wish it was.

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By Falachio (anonymous) | Posted June 19, 2015 at 11:12:53

I think we should turn it into a park people could stroll through. Put pathways for bikes, strollers, etc. Lots of flower beds and gazebos. A gondola would be nice too. Create a few attractions including a tube slide, but don't turn the whole space into one activity. Maybe even a section for go-karting. Anything but golf.

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