CN Park existed where your great brown monolith sits today … l-park.htm

Hotel to Park to Mall
By Barb Sheppard

In 1911 the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway hired Mr. Francis Rattenbury to design a chain of grand hotels from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert similar to the C.P.R. hotels. The planned hotel for Prince Rupert took two years from some scribbles on Union Club notepaper to the elaborate finished drawings. In August, 1913, Mr. Louis Swarz, representing Mr. Rattenbury, arrived in Prince Rupert with the plans for the two million dollar hotel. It would be nearly double the size of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, with fifteen storeys in height with two wings having twelve storeys. It was to be situated on Second Ave. between 4th & 5th streets. Excavation for the site was started at this time.

When the G.T.P. went bankrupt in 1914, Mr. Rattenbury packed everything away in the attic of his Victoria home.

They were discovered there, now a private school, in 1985, in almost perfect condition. They have been in the school’s archives since then and the Archivist, Keith Walker, has been in contact with our archives as he would like to see the Prince Rupert hotel plans in Prince Rupert. He thought the cost would be about $10,000 but when he had appraisals done on the plans the cost was between $50,000 and $75,000. We are still hoping to acquire them for the original cost but haven’t heard any more to this date.

During the Depression in the 1930’s, the Canadian National Railway had a make work program that saw the building of the C.N. Park on the site between 3rd Street and 6th Street with the fountain and pond being on the hotel excavation site as seen in the photograph.

The park was beautiful with gardens, lawns, walkways, trees and a green house, but in the early 1970’s it was getting harder for the C.N.R. to keep up with the maintenance and in January, 1973, the City of Prince Rupert offered to buy the Park for a nominal fee.

The C.N.R. advised the City of Prince Rupert that they would be willing to sell the C.N. property by outright sale or a land exchange on an equitable basis but would not consider prices lower than the current market value. In February, 1973 Council received a joint request from Canadian National Railway and the Rupert Square Shopping Centre Limited for a release of the City’s nominal right to purchase the C.N. property. Although the exact sale prince of the C.N. property was not disclosed, it was thought that the final negotiated price would approach $300,000.

There were several meetings, petitions and letters in favour of keeping the C.N. Park but the construction of the Rupert Square Mall was started in the fall of 1973 and opened on August 14, 1975. The ribbon was cut by Miss Prince Rupert Debbie Stephens and Mayor Peter Lester.

What has CN done for this town lately, other then contributed to the decimation of its city parks?

This is the letter I just completed today and I thought this would be a great forum to start this off…I have sent it to CN, the PR port, PR city councel and the Daily news:An open letter to Prince Rupert Residents, Prince Rupert Port Authority, Maher Terminals, CNR, and Prince Rupert City Council:
A long time Prince Rupert resident and one who still calls Rupert home recently described his disgust and bewilderment concerning how Rupert’s elected representatives and corporate entities do little or nothing meaningful to promote leisure, recreation or civic beautification. He further said, although we live on an island, we have little public access to our surrounding waterfront from a recreational perspective that doesn’t involve a gas or diesel engine. His passionate remark sparked my interest and curiosity so I researched the topic. In 1972, I learned, Rupert suffered its most spectacular fire in the city’s long history of industrial fires on its shores. And nearly an entire industrially dominated waterfront (by Canadian National Railway) was decimated by this fire. Did CNR rebuild? Apparently, they did not. CNR let the charred ruins sit like a defeated fortress staining the city’s skyline, and what remained was occupied by a tiny cruise ship terminus. Twenty years later, in the late 1990s, Prince Rupert’s “benevolentâ€

Well despite the rather obvious undertones of your “letters” I wish you luck. Now that there is hope on the horizon of actual development going on in Prince Rupert, this is the best time to try and get in on the ground floor to encourage recreational and green space development as well. I think you really need to be careful though of the tone that is included in your message. You seen to have a serious hatred for the “corporate” types who you say have done nothing for us lately. I’m not defending these corporations at all, but if you want something accomplished I think you should be looking to them as partners and not as enemy’s.

Otherwise yourself, and this committee you seem to want to start, will be looked upon as nothing but another bunch of crazy tree huggers with an anti corporation agenda.


Well, it does seem that we are not all going to profit from this development out at Ridley Island.
for the ones of us that do go out to Ridley to picnic with our kids and dogs, with no strings attached, No Real Rules, Freedom of the Beautiful open air and scenery, Especially when the Sun sets or even to Fly a kite, For some of us, Pick Salal(berries), the simpicity of life will be Gone…

It is Truly is one of our only Open sites for us to go to and be able to sit on the side of the Rocky shore with no contaminants in the water and be able to watch the porpoise swiming during feeding time in the summer.

Well if Our voices mean anything we should Speak out about this closure and Stop it.


I agree with what the writer is saying, we are loosing so much, there are few places one can go, you need a car and boat and if you don’t have those you are shit out of luck. I love going out to Ridly I like driving down to the log sort, If I loose those, I might have to buy a boat or kayak to view my favourite spots.
I think in this day in age we can have a compromise, and Maybe these big corporations that will move in to Rupert will give us more then a few jobs, by building more nature walks, better water front access as really we don’t have any, unless again you have a vehicle and or a boat.

We lost access to first fort, were about to loos access to second fort. Part of me understand why during the Peter Lester years why this town didn’t grow, it was because the people during those times didn’t want to loos what we have hear, and its all free, soon it will not be free. 

and the outdoor swimming pool at the Kin Hut. “Has anythingâ€[/quote]

You do realize that restricted access to Ridley Island and further industrial development of Ridley Island are not one and the same.

“Restricted Access to Ridley Island” has to do with changes in the Canadian Port Authrority Operating Regulations.  It’s not some off shoot of the Container Port, the proposed LNG facility or any other development that you may believe that it is tied to.  It is simply a mandate, from the government, to increase security around all Canadian Port infrastructure.  The fact that it is happening at the same time as these other projects, is well, unfortunate.  Don’t confuse the issue though, even if the Port Authority had no upcomming expansion plans for Ridley Island, restricted access to the Island would still be on the table.

The skate board park hardly satisfies my hunger for green space and recreation. Â From what I have heard from long time residents is the park is a haven for bullies and dope dealing. Â Its an eye sore with graffitti and such all over. Â We need to think on a larger scale and have beautiful parks and such. Â A great idea is to have a soccer field at thewaterfront with walking trails, benches to view the beautful sunsets. Â That mon ami is meaningful green space and recreation.

Rupert is hardly lacking for green-space.  We’re surrounded by it.  There are tons of hiking trails here.  Lots of place to camp/picnic spots.  AS for the skate park, I’d say that its a huge improvement over what was there before, as that space was definately much more of a popular spot ‘dope dealing’.  Also, I believe that I meantioned that the CN park had the same problem did it not? 
The skate park IS a recreational area, just because it’s not the type of recreation  you prefer doesn’t mean it should be discounted.  It’s not an area that I use either, but I can tell you that hiking up to the look-out up on Mt-Hays to watch the sunset is a pretty cool experiance.  Rupert has a ton of incredible spots.  Sure, they’re not the ‘sculpted’ man-made green space you seem to be looking for.  And yes, I can see the attraction of that, but i personally prefer the natural green-space that we are blessed with.

You’re not the only one who lives in Rupert, so because it doesn’t satisfy your needs doesn’t mean it’s useless.

You’ve heard?  From long time residents?  Graffiti?    YOu realize those are murals painted by artists?  On purpose?

I guess what you mean by green space and recreation is a flower garden with security guards to keep those disrespectful teenagers out?

Come on, don’t dismiss something just because you don’t like it.

Next you’ll be telling us that kids these days have no respect, and it’s not like the good old days, and crime is at an all-time high, etc… 

[quote]A great idea is to have a soccer field at thewaterfront with walking trails, benches to view the beautful sunsets.  That mon ami is meaningful green space and recreation.

Yes, that’s a good idea.  But you don’t have to slam the skateboard park just because you don’t use it.

I’m sure a lot of non-soccer playing people would say the same thing about a soccer field on the harbour – what a waste of space!

Personally, I think a nice all-weather soccer venue would rock.

We lost access to first fort, were about to loos access to second fort. Part of me understand why during the Peter Lester years why this town didn’t grow, it was because the people during those times didn’t want to loos what we have hear, and its all free, soon it will not be free. [/quote]

I think you’re WAY off base there Astro. The town did grow during his years, just not as much as it could have due to a lot of retail opportunities being driven out of town. That had nothing to do with losing what’s good about Prince Rupert and everything to do with greed. A handful of people in this town got very very rich (by our standards) keeping competition out of this town during the Lester years.


Look, demolate and ask questions later, the first thing on our agenda is to nuke the fuckin mall because even a pile of jagged rebar is awesomer than the mall currently is.