Posted October 15, 2023 | by Old Oak
The War Monument Holy Roller Is Being Restored
One of the more popular monuments in Victoria Park is the Holly Roller, a Sherman Tank from World War 2. The Holy Roller is one of 2 Canadian Tanks that fought from D-Day to the Victory In Europe.
One thing you may not have realized, is that the Holly Roller is no longer in the park. Do not worry; it's in safe hands. The tank was taken away for restorations in June 2021 and will return on June 6th, 2022. We are grateful to the Royal Canadian Legion and Toboggan Brewery for their help in financing the repair of the tank. They raised over $250,000. In fact, Toboggan Brewery had an amazing idea of brewing a signature beer called the Holy Roller that helped fund the restoration efforts. The beer is still available at the brewery, and LCBO, so don't wait.
Every Tree Is Accounted For
What is a park without trees? Victoria Park has over 18 acres of green space and has some of the nicest trees in the city. If you ever find yourself at Victoria Park, take the attached map with you to see if you can notice the differences in the variety of trees the park maintains. Especially with summer just around the corner, these trees will be budding and ready to pop. Click Here for the Tree Map of Victoria Park
Ice Skating At The Park Is Over 100 Years Old
The ice rink at Victoria Park is a popular attraction in the winter because it is free to use. Many Londoners have had the privilege of going downtown, walking through the beautiful lights, and going for a skate. What may surprise you is that the ice rink has been around for a long time. Victoria Park rink dates back to 1913, and every year since, it has been a fantastic place for the London community to gather.
If you haven't had the chance to go, make sure to make a point next winter to go downtown London and take part in an old tradition that every Londoner should experience. If you don't have skates, don't worry - they rent them there.
The Lighting Of The Lights Have Special Meaning
Every year, the city of London has an annual light festival called the Festival of Lights. It usually takes place at the end of November and remains lit until January 1st. But what is most interesting is that some lights have special meaning.
- The Angel Tree represents the lives of children that have passed on. Each white light represents a child’s cherished memory.
- The tree with yellow lights commemorates the troops overseas.
- The pink lights represent hope to those who have either beaten or still battling breast cancer.
- The blue lights on the Tree of Wish represent the Make a Wish foundation and the children fighting life-threatening medical conditions.
- The tree with purple lights symbolizes the strength and hope of abused women and the idea of no longer remaining in the dark about domestic abuse.
- The tree with red lights is in remembrance of the lives lost to HIV AIDS.
- The Blue and green lights represent organ donation and transplants across the province.
- The blue and yellow lights are the Carpenters union tree.
It Was A British Garrison And Part Of The Underground Railroad
Before Victoria Park was even a park, the location was a British garrison. The British mainly used it in the Upper Canadian rebellion in 1837, an insurrection against the oligarchic government of Upper Canada. It lasted just shy of a year but the area continued to house the soldiers.
The British army withdrew to Europe in 1853 to fight in the Crimean war. Three canons from the war sit in Victoria Park to commemorate those who died in that war.
While the British soldiers were fighting in the Crimean War, the military duties were taken over by pensioners. During this time, the barracks turned into one of the final stops on the Underground Railroad for slaves from the United States. In 1855, the garrison was used as a refugee camp and hosted about 700 ex-slaves from the US.
In 1862, British soldiers returned and resumed their duties due to the Civil War. The British needed to be ready just in case the war moved North.
The garrison remained active until 1874. At that point, the British Army handed the property over to the city, which named it Victoria Park after the Queen. It was transformed into the park we now know.
Victoria Park: The Best Place To Be
Victoria Park is full of history, as well as things to enjoy and explore. This summer has many popular festivals and concerts in the park, making it an attractive destination. It's so great to visit this park, but it's even better if you live next to it! Old Oak's latest apartment, The One On Richmond Row, allows just that. The 32-story luxury apartment overlooks Victoria Park and supplies a view like no other in the city. Move into The One apartment building today!