August 22, 1898
Music in public spaces has always held an important place in the lifestyle of the residents of St. John’s. There is a long history of residents gathering in the public parks where there was an expectation that music would be performed.
On August 19, 1898 the music in Bannerman Park was so “exceptionally good” that the local newspaper The Evening Telegram reported: “it was the best this season, [The music] was so exceptionally good, that the large number of our citizens present applauded the various selections by clapping their hands.”
Not all who gathered in Bannerman Park were amused. The newspaper reported that several gentleman of the west end of St. John’s were quite displeased that music was being realized in Bannerman Park but little for their neighborhood park. To add insult to injury it was not just good music in Bannerman Park, it was the very best performed by none other than “Professor Power’s most excellent orchestra.”
The West End crowd, in the neighborhood of Victoria Park, felt that they were being victimized. They admitted that they were getting occasional performances but they were “vexed that they have to listen to the harsh selections at Victoria Park.” Worse again there was no possibility that they would get the quality of Mr. Power’s orchestra because “Mr. Power and his orchestra had been secured for the whole summer” by the Bannerman Park Committee.
With the recent revitalization of Bannerman Park and the construction of a new bandstand music has once again returned to Bannerman Park. On Sundays throughout the summer ( (next show on September 13 at 2:00 p.m.) a free concert featuring amazing local musical talent is presented.
The crowd in the west end 117 years later are still keeping an eye to Bannerman Park, not to be outdone in May 2015 about 75 people attended a public meeting to discuss how their park can be best rejuvenated or redesigned. The west-end park received $1-million — a 50/50 split between the city and the province — to put towards a major overhaul.
I am thinking the new plan might include a bandstand!
Victoria Park occupies the same 6.5 acres of land now as it did when it opened in 1890. Bannerman Park was formed on land set aside for public use by Governor Bannerman in 1864.
Recommended Reading: Stories About Bannerman Park: http://www.bannermanpark.ca/stories/
Recommended Action: Support the Garden of Memories in Bannerman Park: People who enjoy the park can contribute to the park‘s revitalization through by sponsoring various fixtures, flower gardens, and commemorative granite stones, which will be used for the pathways in the Garden. For more information: http://www.bannermanpark.ca/the-garden-of-memories-open-to-the-public/
Recommended Action: Join the Friends of Victoria Park (FOVP), a concerned group of West End residents and community members who came together in May 1998 with the goal to ensure that Victoria Park regains and retains its historical place as a vibrant, safe, and enjoyable environment for all residents and visitors. Read More: http://www.fovp.org/index.shtml