Marianne Van Osch (Patrick Davies, 100 Mile Free Press photo)

Marianne Van Osch (Patrick Davies, 100 Mile Free Press photo)

Legacy Park offers beautiful spot to rest

Marianne Van Osch column

  • Sep. 4, 2021 1:30 p.m.

During the summer of 2015, for one week in July, the town of 100 Mile House went a bit haywire. The noisy, fun and somewhat wild festivity was called the “District of 100 Mile House Welcome Home Anniversary Celebration.”

The reason for the party was to commemorate the town’s 50 years of incorporation.

In the midst of all the hoopla, there was one quiet event. The grand opening of Legacy Park on Horse Lake Road.

Before the park was set up, there was a serious traffic flow problem at the end of Birch Avenue. For anyone continuing on to Cariboo Trail, there was an awkward dogleg to negotiate. Crossing Horse Lake Road was a challenge.

Eventually, improvements were made so that traffic was able to move directly from Birch Avenue to Cariboo Trail. However, the changes left a wedge-shaped, unsightly piece of land on the southwest corner of the intersection.

Unsightly until the town council decided to spruce the corner up with a small public park. They would call it Legacy Park. Besides adding a spot of beauty to the area, it would be a welcome resting place for pedestrians on their way to and from downtown stores. Housing in and around Cariboo Trail was expanding so there would be more pedestrians in the future. A shady shelter would be constructed, with benches, tables and low mobility access.

On July 21, Mayor Mitch Campsall cut the ribbon at the grand opening. He praised his staff for initiating the idea for the park, and gave much-deserved credit to town gardener Kevin Christensen for his design concepts and guidance. Christensen is a landscape architect and is responsible for the outstanding flower gardens, trees and soccer fields that grace 100 Mile House.

Legacy Park is a lovely place of sturdy stone walls and walkways. The pergola is strongly built and large tables and benches are an invitation to rest for a while. A water feature graces the back wall. On a sunny day, the floor is striped in wide bands of sunlight and shade. On moonlit nights there may be a similar pattern.

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Virginia creeper climbs the corners of the pergola and forms a massive clump on the back wall. In a few weeks, the vines will be a bright autumn orange. Planters on top of low inside walls are filled with bright petunias. Bunches of tall golden grass add height in the pergola and in a bed outside. Shrubs are planted around the outside of the walls. Lilac, spiraea, currant and potentilla are distinctive in their shades of green. Dark-leaved shrubs provide contrast.

On warm days, breezes blow through the pergola. The openings, curtained by the Virginia creeper are like picture windows with wide views toward hills in the distance and the blue of the water in the marsh below. Sunsets are spectacular from here and evenings are serene as the town quiets down.

Now it is late in the afternoon. A young woman and a small boy come up the hill to the intersection opposite the park. She is pulling a shopping cart. The boy is clutching a corner of the handle.

They cross the street and walk into the pergola. She drops her purse on a table, sits down and smiles a hello. She says that she is glad to have such a nice place where she can sit and rest for a minute, especially on a hot day such as this. She comments on the new sidewalks along Cariboo Trail that make their walk so much safer.

Meanwhile, the boy checks out the stones in the base of the water wall. He walks around the outside of the pergola to a planting where two different types of grass wave gently. He reaches up and touches a seed head and then goes over to a small tree where he spots a yellow butterfly. He calls to his mother. She picks up her bags, goes to see the butterfly and they continue their walk home.

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