“The People’s Park” 75 Years Later

Launched Spring 2022

Commemorating the 1946 Stelco strike and 1947 Parks Board “modernization” that forever changed Woodlands Park — a beautiful public space with deep roots in labour history.

Listen to Woodlands Park soundscape

Woodlands Park: Ghost Landscape is a community-led placemaking project that speaks to two 75th anniversaries in 2021 and 2022: that of the 1946 Stelco strike, and of the 1947 actions by the city’s Parks Board, which forever changed Woodlands Park.

Woodlands Park was once a treed, Victorian-style park with a fountain and bandstand, known as “The People’s Park” for its labour gatherings. But six months after the Stelco strike, when strikers organized and assembled at Woodlands Park, the city’s Parks Board decided — against local opposition — to “modernize” the park by removing the bandstand, fountain, and most of the trees. This was done before May Day, 1947. With its installations throughout the park, Ghost Landscape evokes and commemorates the rich landscape removed by the Parks Board.

Ghost Landscape aims to bring the public space that was pre-1947 Woodlands back to life, if only in our imagination. As a visitor, you’re invited to experience evocative photo displays around the park, and a soundscape active from afternoon to evening.

Woodlands Park: Ghost Landscape is a temporary project made possible by the City of Hamilton’s Placemaking Grant Pilot Program with support from the Patrick J. McNally Charitable Foundation.

Projects funded through the Placemaking Grant Pilot Program will help to enliven our public spaces as the city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. This community-led project was inspired in part by Workers’ City, an initiative of Workers Arts & Heritage Centre (WAHC), and motivated by a desire to see renewal at Woodlands Park, especially the return of lost trees and to its status as a gathering place.

Additional support is generously provided by the Ward 3 Office and USW Local 1005. Sponsored by the Barton Village BIA with support from GALA. Special thanks to WAHC, Lance Darren Cole, Tracing Green Canada, Steady Canoe, Morse & Associates, McMaster University Library, and Hamilton Public Library.

Woodlands Park is situated upon the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Mississaugas. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, which was an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabek to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes.

Visit Woodlands Park at 501 Barton Street East, Hamilton, Ontario