Laura, Queen's Square | May 12, 2014
If you live in Cambridge, you’re likely no stranger to the city’s largest park.
Perhaps you’ve watched fireworks explode over Riverside Park during the massive Canada Day celebrations that draw upwards of 25,000 people each year. Or you’ve cheered a soccer or baseball game in one of its many playing fields. Trails, playgrounds, tennis courts, a splash pad, skateboard and BMX tracks abound in this 102 hectare oasis.
Nestled on the north shore of the Speed River in the Preston area of Cambridge, the park is rich in history not visible on a casual visit. One hundred years ago, tourists flocked to the district to soak in the healing mineral baths at the nearby Preston Springs, Kress, and Sulphur Springs hotels. They hopped on the electric railway at Riverside Park and rode it down the Mill Run Trail to picnic at the now forgotten Idylwild Park.
Famous people, including Lord Stanley and L. M. Montgomery, strolled Riverside’s grounds. Babe Ruth and some of the New York Yankees even practiced on the baseball diamonds.
Though the mineral baths and the railway are long gone, Riverside Park still teems with life. Birders and fishers pursue their quarry along the boardwalks and stream banks, kids celebrate their birthday at the many picnic areas, and locals debate the future of the park’s dam.
In 2013, the park was a Great Place in Canada finalist. The popularity and beauty of this place make it a treasure for everyone to enjoy now and into the future.
For more about the park's history, check out our Cambridge local history resources.