The three neighbourhoods; Exhibition, Queen Elizabeth and West Haultain, have many assets all in one area, all of which contribute to the vision of quality of life – we have a fire hall, a public library, a swimming and paddling pool, spray pad, schools, parks, soccer pitches, a skateboard pad and one of the City’s newest destination accessible playgrounds providing benefits for all children, including children with disabilities along with their caregivers.
There is a historic significance to this area. All of the facilities and amenities located in this area make up what was one of Saskatoon’s first District Community Centres. Some of these centres were implemented as far back as 60 years ago. The idea, even back then, was to combine public and private community services, strategically, in one cluster, so that the community needs of several neighbourhoods could be met in one place, and best served by walking and transit.
Also related to the historical significance of the area, is the importance of the names given to several of the facilities in the area. W.W. Ashley Park was named after Wyndham Winkler Ashley, a charter member of the Saskatoon Parks Board where he served for 45 years. Ashley was also a champion of trees, and credited with planting spruce trees throughout the city. So, when you look at the boulevards and tree-lined streets of our city, you are looking at a legacy of W.W. Ashley.
J.S. Wood Library was named after James Stuart Wood who as Chief Librarian, envisioned a large suburban branch designed to serve 25,000 people living within a radius of one mile. In 1959, he & the Library Board approached the City of Saskatoon Parks Board seeking approval for a site to build on in the new Ashley Park, beside Lathey Pool.
In 1955, Lathey Pool, Saskatoon’s second public swimming pool, built after Riversdale pool, was named in honour of John Henry Lathey. He came to Saskatoon in 1911 and found work with the City of Saskatoon, first as a fireman and then, as an engineer at the City waterworks. As one of the original members of the Saskatoon Playgrounds Association, he served for 25 years.
The fire hall was built in 1957. City Council chose this location with community in mind, near where other civic and public buildings existed or were planned to be built. During the design process, a residential look was chosen so it would fit in with the neighbourhood. The fire hall initially did not have a hose tower as it would clash with the residential skyline. However, drying the hose in large hot air dryers proved to be impractical and a new hose tower was built in the late 1970’s.
From speaking notes for Lynne Lacroix, News Conference on Quality of Life June 13, 2013.