Kivi Park, a new multi-use sports and outdoor park at the site of the former Long Lake Public School, is now the city’s largest, thanks to a donation by Sudbury resident Lily Fielding.
Located at the site of the former Long Lake Public School, Kivi Park has expanded to include 300 acres of land donated by Fielding, making it 23 times larger than Bell Park.
The new park provides public access to Crown land leading to Crowley Lake, Linton Lake and Camp Lake, and provides a city connection to Killarney Provincial Park. The project will also see a dramatic expansion to the existing sports facilities.
Long Lake PS closed its doors in 2012, but a $245,000 donation from Fielding enabled the city to purchase the 12-acre property, including the building and some surrounding land. Fielding also agreed to foot much of the $150,000 bill for the old school’s demolition in 2015.
“I have lived in Long Lake my entire life,” Fielding said in a release. “I grew up and went to school here, married my husband Cliff at the Voima Hall and together we raised our children in the community. I wanted to do something special in my 100th year, to give back to the community that has given so much to me.”
Mrs. Fielding made her latest donation in memory of her parents, Susanna and John Kivi, and the Finnish immigrants who settled in the area and helped shape the city.
Members of the community will celebrate the newly expanded park with Summer Family Fun Day at Kivi Park on Aug. 16 from 5 p.m. to 7:30. p.m. In the event of rain, the festivities will be pushed to Aug. 17.
“The community response to Kivi Park and its long-term strategy has been wonderful,” said city councillor Deb McIntosh, whose ward includes the Long Lake area. “Lily Fielding was inspired by the vision of businessman William F. Bell in the creation of Bell Park, the originators of Lake Laurentian Conservation Area, founding members of the Walden Cross Country Ski Club (WCCS), the dedicated board of Rainbow Routes, and Fielding Memorial Park, which was founded by her husband, Cliff along with his brothers and sister. Mrs. Fielding wanted to help create another addition to our entire region in the spirit of our great community assets that have a positive legacy impact for generations to come.”
Nickel Belt MP Marc Serre called the addition to Kivi Park a “game-changer” for Northern Ontario.
“The expansion provides a corridor of access to the crown land past Cowley Lake, Linton Lake, and Camp Lake and extending south, then west on public property the entire way to Killarney Park,” Serre said. “Soon, all Canadians will get to experience the land that inspired the Group of Seven Artists.”
Thanks to Fielding’s donation, Kivi Park will not only increase the number of available sports fields in the city, but will lead to the creation of additional recreational activities.
“I would like to thank Mrs. Lily Fielding for the generous contribution of more than $1 million to the creation of Kivi Park in the City of Greater Sudbury,” Mayor Brian Bigger said in a statement. “It will continue to further our community’s status as a green city and outdoor recreational hub and will be a wonderful active space for our citizens and visitors to the entire region.”
Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to reach the region’s most picturesque spots through a series of trail systems for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, mountain biking and running.
High-level local athletes, including world champion cross-country skier Devon Kershaw and former NHLer Brian Savage, were excited about the announcement.
“It’s fitting to see a park of this calibre being created in Northern Ontario, as a destination with sport and cross country ski trails through beautiful Canadian Shield forests, hills and lakes,” Kershaw said. “This is exactly the setting that has produced national level athletes as well as countless hours of family enjoyment in our Canadian outdoors.”
“The outdoor hockey rink, soccer field, baseball diamond, basketball court and sports fields will all be upgraded to provide up to date venues to support active lifestyles, youth and adult sports leagues, up-and-coming high performance athletes and community wellness throughout the region,” Savage added.
“Our goal with the additional space and natural beauty of Kivi Park is to create the best play environment for children in all of Northern Ontario by integrating best in class play structures and active facilities with cutting edge child development design,” said Melissa Sheridan, president of CRCS Recreation, who successfully led the recent creation of the DJ Hancock Memorial Park. “This play space will be unique from any others in the region. The design features nature inspired play equipment to encourage active and imaginative play by children of all ages and abilities.”