In co-operation with The City of Kitchener, The Optimist Club of Stanley Park undertook a major project to help enhance the Walter Bean Trail along the Grand River by restoring the environment, plants and animals that existed along the Grand River over 200 years ago. The results can be seen (and enjoyed) on the north side of Victoria St. N., (Hwy #7), on the west bank of the Grand River.
The site includes several ponds which were designed as fish breeding areas to help improve the Grand River fishery. Groundwater and runoff feed the ponds, which act as natural water filters. A large culvert connects the main pond to the Grand River, allowing fish to move in and out of the pond system. Fish species found in the ponds include common and striped shiners, pumpkinseed, rock bass, green sunfish, brook stickleback, large-mouth bass, black crappie and bluegill. Other wildlife that have been observed here are frogs, toads, crayfish, turtles, great blue herons, raccoons and muskrats.
Optimist Club of Stanley Park members celebrated the official "opening" of the Natural Area and the unveiling of the commemorative sign with Carl Zehr, City of Kitchener Mayor.
With your help, these and other native plant and animal species will thrive again. There are parking facilities, walking trails throughout the area and a canoe launching "ramp" into the river. (Note: There are no washrooms nor picnic tables.)
Update for 2018 - The Club is working with government officials and the Grand River Conservation Authority (as a partner) on further upgrades along the Grand River, possibly at the Ottawa St./Otterbein access point. Hopefully details can be finalized soon so this too can become a reality!
The Stanley Park Optimist Club has been involved in many other activities and helped numerous other groups in the community through: sponsorship of teams and/or support for youth involved in: bowling, softball (both boys' and girls'), minor baseball, hockey, basketball, sledge-hockey, Track-3 Ski, soccer, etc. sponsorship of local Boy Scouts and other local youth groups by request.
Since 1999, the Club has outfitted special athletes with shirts for their games at Towne Bowl, donations to local food banks, charities and non-profit agencies, sponsorship of local youth so they can attend summer camp, sponsorship of the annual Seniors' Christmas Tea at Grand River Collegiate, funding of special projects to meet the needs of local schools (e.g. breakfast funds), subsidized trips, contributions to local playground equipment & outdoor basketball courts (as shown in photo) at Canadian Martyrs, Crestview, Franklin, Shepard and Smithson schools, upgrades for ball diamonds at Notre Dame, Sheppard and Smithson Schools, contributions to help meet specific financial burdens facing families of local youth, contributions to help with disaster relief, e.g. Quebec ice storm & Louisiana flooding, and community events and activities throughout the community including the Stanley Park Community Centre and Grand River Arena.
In 2009, The Optimist Club of Stanley Park hosted- and toasted - grade 6 youth from local schools already heavily involved in the community and showing their leadership potential. The dinner was held at Grand River Collegiate and catered by GRCI students enrolled in one of its new food preparation courses. The Optimist Club also provided financial support to enhance the opportunities of this new high-school program for the students' benefit.
JUST SAY NO to Drugs is an Optimist International Program that the Stanley Park Club has embraced. In the early 1990s, the Club purchased several thousand copies of the book, The House that Crack Built" for distribution through the local school boards to their primary school students.
The Club sponsors & hosts the Grand River Bass Derby, an annual event held in early July. Shown in the photo are the youth who participated in the Junior Fishermen Division several years ago. For more on the Bass Derby, visit the Grand River Bass Derby website.
The Club held Saturday Night Youth Dances for several years at the Stanley Park Community Centre. Santa Clause was special guest each December! Season's Greetings!