Description of Historic Place
Otterville Park is on the north side of the Otter River and accessed from North Street over a foot bridge, in the Village of Otterville, Township of Norwich. The 10 acres of parkland were established in 1891 and features a pavilion, constructed in 1924, and a cut fieldstone wall, on the south bank of the river.
The property was designated, by the Township of Norwich, in 1990, for its historic and architectural value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 17-90).
Otterville Park is the main recreational area of Otterville. It is a symbol of the days when parks were the centre of the community. Established in 1891 by the Otterville Park Company, which sold over one thousand, $1.00 shares, to create the park. The money allowed the Otterville Park Company to clear one acre, on the north bank of the Otter River, at a location that had previously been a favourite of picnickers. A footbridge over the river and approximately 10 acres of land were added to the park, by 1920.
In 1924, a local building at the fair ground, Crystal Palace, was dismantled and the materials were used to build a Pavilion, in the park. Providing shelter for picnickers and acting as a dance floor and bandstand on various occasions, the Pavilion served as the centrepiece of the park. It is of post and beam construction with folding sides and simple scalloped ornamental braces on the posts.
The Otterville Park entrance is marked by a fine cut fieldstone wall, with a pillared gateway, on the south bank of the river. Also incorporated into the design is a bronze plaque honouring the area's World War I veterans. The stonework was completed by local stonemason, Alfred E. Moore. Another significant feature, added in 1907, is an 1807 cannon, donated by the Federal Government. The cannon commemorates the centennial of the area's settlement.
The park now features a swimming pool, ball diamond, horseshoe pitch, tennis and basketball courts, and children's playground. The park has minimal landscaping, but features many tall pines.
Sources: Township of Norwich By-law 17-90; Otterville Park and Pavilion Background Information.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Otterville Park include its:
- continued use as a park and the site of civic functions for over 100 years
- bronze plaque and cairn commemorating the area's World War I veterans
- centennial cannon which commemorates the centennial of the area's settlement
- post and beam construction of the Pavilion including folding sides and simple scalloped ornamental braces
- cut fieldstone wall and pillars of the entranceway
- minimal landscaping and tall pines
- location on the north bank of Otter River
- access from Otterville Park over Otter River via a foot bridge