New St. Vital Park treetop lookout and toboggan slides open for winter fun

WINNIPEG – The exciting new treetop lookout and toboggan slides located at St. Vital Park are now officially open. The new structure features a fully accessible ramp leading to a pair of slides, and a viewing deck situated on top of a warming shelter with panoramic views of the park.

“The Province of Manitoba is pleased to partner with the City of Winnipeg to make family friendly and accessible community recreation spaces like this a reality,” said Minister Squires. “These partnerships are important to the growth and quality of life in our communities.”

“These toboggan slides are a great addition to St. Vital Park,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Winter provides many different opportunities to get outdoors, and these new slides will provide an exciting winter activity for kids and families for many years to come.”

The completed project includes two toboggan slides (each at different heights) as well as a four-season shelter with pivoting doors and viewing deck. The design is unique to St. Vital Park. Nestled in a forested area with views of the Red River, the structure is a striking addition to the park with raw Douglas Fir siding, galvanized framing and a perforated metal steel feature wall punctuated by a series of cutout V’s, mimicking a Mary Maxim sweater stitch pattern which originated in Manitoba. Beams from the old St. Vital Park duck pond pavilion, replaced in 2014, were salvaged and incorporated into the new shelter. It is anticipated that the treetop lookout, shelter and slides will provide four-season recreation and enjoyment over an expected decades-long service life.

“The City of Winnipeg is committed to providing affordable, outdoor recreation opportunities for residents,” said St. Vital Councillor Brian Mayes. “Since the new shelter will also be useable as a summer picnic space, this upgrade will be a great benefit for families who come to St Vital Park year-round.”

Another unique feature is the accessibility ramp leading to the lower slide which was designed as an integrated feature of the overall project. The same palette of materials ensures that the primary path of access and egress for those with mobility concerns appears as much a part of the structure as the stairs, the shelter, the tower and the slides. At any time of year, the ramp will offer a series of changing vistas as one gently moves amongst mature elms, maples and oaks. By working with the existing forest and topography, the ramp becomes more than just a method of access; it becomes an essential part of the experience of the new treetop lookout in St. Vital Park.

Designed by Public City Architecture Inc., the new St. Vital Park treetop lookout, toboggan slides and accessibility ramp were funded by parks and open space capital funding in 2014, 2015 and 2016 which includes $250,000 from the St. Vital ward allocation in consultation with Councillor Brian Mayes, as well as support from the joint City/Province Building Communities Initiative. The estimated final cost of the project is $750,000.

The new slides and shelter replace the original slides, which dated back to the 1980s and had reached the end of their lifespan, and demolished shelter which burned down in 2013.

This amenity is the latest improvement in St. Vital Park in the past dozen years. Other major works have included riverbank stabilization, a new boat launch and docks, a new year-round duck pond pavilion, as well as a premier soccer pitch, and playground with a new seasonal washroom.

Images of the St. Vital treetop lookout and toboggan slides project can be viewed here.