Search string: "percy sparks"Matches found: 3
Saturday, July 9, 2005
NCC recognizes park visionary
Some closure on on the matter of Percy Sparks' forgotten role in the founding of Gatineau Park. From the Citizen:
In the 1950s, Roderick Percy Sparks used to gather his grandchildren at "Big Pine," an old-growth white pine tree in Gatineau Park, and have them join hands around the tree's massive trunk. Yesterday, Jean-Paul Murray stood against the same majestic old tree and closed his eyes in triumph.
Mr. Murray has fought for years to have the former Ottawa businessman's role in the founding of the 36,000-hectare Gatineau Park recognized. He spent years sifting through archives, and then argued in a 2003 Citizen guest column that the National Capital Commission had mistakenly ignored Mr. Sparks in its literature.
That historical oversight was corrected yesterday when NCC chairman Marcel Beaudry named the exhibit hall at the Gatineau Park visitor centre in Chelsea after Mr. Sparks, a well-known member of Ottawa's business community from the 1930s to the late 1950s.
The NCC had commissioned a study into the history of the park that concluded Mr. Sparks played a major role in its creation, though singling out one person as park founder was not possible.
Citizen: Gatineau Park visionary gets his due [9 Jul 2005]
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Give credit to Gatineau park's founder
Gatineau Park historian Jean-Paul Murray writes in the Citizen that the NCC is still misrepresenting the history of the park:
And the just-released study into the park's origins conducted for the National Capital Commission by two Quebec university professors perpetuates the misrepresentation of that story.
[...]The NCC has misrepresented the park's story for 45 years. The professors wrap the issue in the thickest fog of sophistry and ignore the facts they present by concluding that "circumstances" and a "series of actions by various individuals" created the park, for which they say they can't "provide the date of founding and the name of the founder." If Sparks did more than anyone else to create the park, as they demonstrate, then why can't he be considered the founder? If money for purchasing the first parkland was voted in the Commons on June 29, 1938, then why can't this be considered the founding date?
The claim that everyone and no one was responsible for creating the park is a cop-out and betrays the professors' collectivist bias. They reveal that bias when they downplay the impact individuals can have on society, saying that "regardless of their influence, [individuals] generally hold a power which they wield collectively." The spirit of this statement warps the study by forcing the spurious conclusion that many individuals share equal responsibility for creating the park.
[...]Credit for the idea of Gatineau Park belongs to Frederick Todd, who proposed it in his 1903 plan for the national capital. The idea was advocated as well by the plans that followed it: the Holt Report in 1915 and the Cauchon Report in 1922. Although these documents recommended creating a park in the Gatineau Hills, they spoke of it only in the briefest and most general of terms. None of them provided blueprints for the park or action plans for setting it up.
[...]When the story of Gatineau Park's creation is stripped of its various myths, the only two men left standing are Mackenzie King, who had to have his arm twisted, and Percy Sparks, who did the twisting. According to the Ottawa Journal of April 12, 1949, King essentially "set the seal of approval on plans [...] submitted to him by far-sighted and public-spirited men of the Woodlands Preservation League." And, as I've demonstrated elsewhere, the leading force behind the league, and Gatineau Park, was Percy Sparks, who did most of the researching, organizing, lobbying and designing that led to its creation and initial development. Why was Percy Sparks was omitted from all previous histories of Gatineau Park?
Citizen: Give credit to Gatineau park's founder [22 Dec 2004]
Monday, December 8, 2003
Gatineau Park's forgotten founder
Vice president of the New Woodlands Preservation League Jean-Paul Murray writes in the Citizen that the National Capital Commission has misrepresented the story of Gatineau Park, and failed in its mandate to "communicate the capital to Canadians":
Though the NCC attempts to portray Mackenzie King and Jacques Greber as the park's founders, the facts tell us that title rightly belongs to Roderick Percy Sparks.
For instance, the Ottawa Journal of March 30, 1959 credits Sparks with being the "father of the Gatineau Park," adding that as chairman of the Federal Woodlands Preservation League, he "brought about the first purchase by the Dominion government of what is now [...] the Gatineau Park."
[...]Yet in the reams of documents the NCC has produced on this subject, not one mention is made of Sparks or the process that led to the park's creation. Supporting the claim that Sparks led the charge on this issue, however, are seven key documents, most of which he wrote or co-wrote.
[...]As the NCC proceeds with drafting a new master plan for the park, it should consider the facts presented in this article. Although I've brought this matter to its attention several times over the last two years, it has yet to acknowledge Sparks's contribution.
Perhaps the best method to recognize Sparks and complete his work would be to make Gatineau Park into the truly national and public park he envisioned.
Citizen: Gatineau Park's forgotten founder [8 Dec 2003]