WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 1928
OBSERVATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
BY NIAGARA TOURIST AT PALM BEACH
BY A. D. ARMSTRONG
Southern Florida (where the Summer spends the Winter) is slowly recovering from the disastrous storm of early 1927 and from the results of the titanic real estate boom which broke in 1926. Millions were made and lost in a short interval of time. Lots which were sold as high as $10,000 a foot frontage are now offered at $100 per foot which would seem to a northerner an exorbitant price even at the latter figure. The real estate market at the present time is a very idle business place. Buyers are waiting for further reductions while the owners are holding out for high prices to ensure against loss. The climate here is wonderful and is certain to attract folks from the colder zones.
From a tourist's viewpoint I would like to describe the conditions as found here hoping there by that some ideas may be useful in operation in the Falls district. On the waterfront, facing what is known as Lake Worth, a large body of water which separates the main land West Palm Beach from the island Palm Beach less than a quarter of a mile across, there is a series of parks. The large city park which is open to the public at all times, day and night, is located at the terminus of the Main Street of the city and facing the water. It is surrounded immediately by the main business centre, large hotels, theatres, stores, apartments, etc. The Park contains a band stand and seats for more than 2000 people and as many more can stand in the immediate locality.
It is a beautiful setting, hundreds of varied colored lights, strung out among the tall palm arid coco nut trees and beautiful flowering shrubs like the Hibiscus and Boganvilla. Here the band plays every night at 7.30 and the band stand zone is usually crowded. A paid soloist renders one or more songs. Community singing is also part of the program. Near the band stand is located a section covered over with awnings where tables are stationed where men of every age and type sit and play cards, meet old friends and make new ones, next to this section is the horse shoe courts which are always filled day and night by enthusiastic fans in this particular sport. Men up to 90 indulge in this game with a skill much to be admired by the onlookers. Close by is a large parking space which will take care of hundreds of automobiles. The chief buildings in this public park are a fine library open to the public at all times. A Women's Club where women go to meet for social events, a Tourists' Club House where Tourists register and join the club for $1.00 per year. Here many social evenings are spent in cards, dances. Nearby is a large Municipal Casino where dances are held. In the centre of the park are located buildings for both men and women, which consist of rest rooms, wash rooms, toilets, etc.
The Tourist Club House supplies free information booklets. I think this covers nearly everything a tourist could desire and I wondered why some of these attractions and conveniences could not be carried out at Niagara Falls.
Before making my recommendation in brief form I might describe the Municipal Market here. It is located in the city and is really a very fine building of attractive design. It is all open on the sides with just the wide roof protecting the sellers and buyers from sun and weather. At one end there is an enclosed part which contains the meat and fish department, pastry and a grocery department. This market contains several stalls or stands made of galvanized iron in sections for different kinds of fruit, vegetables and all farm and dairy products. The display is attractive. Everything is scrupulously clean. These booths are rented by the city to different parties at a certain yearly rental, along the sides of the shelter are long canvas curtains which can be lowered in case of rain or storm.
There is a large parking space all around the market for buyers to park their cars. Producers do not park their or vehicles at the market as they do at the Niagara Falls market but the produce is all unloaded and displayed in the booths early in the morning and the driver returns home or removes his conveyance to the parking area set aside for his convenience and a salesperson is left in charge of the booth for the rest of the day.
I have often wondered why the city of Niagara Falls and the City of St. Catharines, which both have such fine markets, have not provided any shelter overhead for the protection of the farmers and the buying public. Surely it woul4 not mean such a large expenditure that could not well be afforded by these cities. I am sure the farmers would greatly appreciate such an accommodation and improvement.
I would like to suggest to the Queen Victoria Park System that some of the ideas I have mentioned here be carried out on their Niagara Falls Park, which without a doubt has no superior anywhere for attractiveness and beauty.
Band Stand in Park
Would not such a Band Stand in Queen Victoria Park be a fine thing for tourists and local citizens as well. It would also be very convenient for picnics coming to the park with their own bands and where speeches are in order. At the present time as when Rt. Hon. Mr. Meighen spoke in the park a short time ago, you will remember a temporary platform had to be erected especially for the occasion and so on at many such events. It is the only park of any prominence that I know of where a band stand is not in existence. A nightly band concert in the Park for a couple of months in the summer I am sure would attract large appreciative audiences.
Tourist Club House.
I believe would fill a much needed want in the park. A place where the tourist could go and receive information and literature pertaining to the district and province in general.
The rest rooms and public conveniences could be included in the same building.
A large section of the park should be set aside for the parking of automobiles. The parking of cars all along the boulevard drive in the park and streets is not sufficient to take care of the ever increasing traffic of today.
Queen Victoria Park Golf Course
Most all large summer resorts have numerous golf courses. I believe Niagara Falls is shy on this point. The park system controls very suitable grounds near the Whirlpool for a golf course, it could either be free or a nominal charge made to cover up-keep expenses as saw to fit by the management.
Removal of railway tracks on the River Road from the Falls View Bridge to Bridge Street. As this is a very narrow street for automobile traffic I believe the railway tracks should be removed and the whole street paved to the embankment and a secure protective fence constructed on the brink. Could not the belt line cars and Chippawa bound cars use the new Canadian National route from the Upper Bridge down Victoria Ave., northward to Bridge Street and on to Queenston? If possible what a fine picturesque highway could be made of the present River Rd.
I offer these suggestions in the hope that they may prove of some value to the district I call my own and for which I visualize such a wonderful future. We are told that millions of dollars are annually spent by U.S. tourists in Canada and particularly in the Province of Ontario. If so, then surely we could well afford to spend a few thousands for their entertainment, comfort and welfare while with us I believe the Q. V. Park System which is a Provincial Corporation, could do well to provide some, if -not all, of the comforts and conveniences as outlined previously in this article.
Niagara Falls is universally known from its wondrous overflowing Cataract and although some apprehension is felt that the Falls may some day go dry. I claim and have so publicly stated here that Niagara Falls will never go dry as long as Niagara Falls stays wet. So there you are.
Florida is universally known by its climate. We are always told of the wonderful sunshine down here and after you get here you hear almost as much about the "moonshine" and you can take it from me it is nothing to "blow about". It is sure a wonderful climate down here "where summer spends the Winter" and where the northerner spends his dough."
"Where Southerner spends his summer" ought to be our slogan in Ontario.