Assiniboine Park

Designing and Developing a People’s Playground


Designing and Developing a People’s Playground


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In 1904, Assiniboine Park was conceived as a people’s playground, a place devoid of commercial amusements where all classes of Winnipeggers could relax and rejuvenate in idyllic and Arcadian surroundings.

The book traces the development of the park and its infrastructure – the layout of fields, forests and gardens, the two pavilions, the conservatories and the zoo – and how this corresponded with an ever-evolving Winnipeg. It explains the actions, conflicts and arguments of a colourful cast of politicians and bureaucrats who made the park what it is today. The story of Assiniboine Park is told within the wider context of the evolution of urban parks in Canada and the United States.

Nominated for the 2020 Manitoba Day Awards!

“David Spector has fashioned a compelling, exclusive, highly readable account of Assiniboine Park’s rich, century- plus history. Vintage and contemporary illustrations complement his narrative. Combing through archives, he has uncovered intriguing, amusing, little-known details and scandalous sidebars. From drawing board concept to today’s ongoing makeover, Assiniboine Park hasn’t stopped changing. Herein the untold story.”— Rod Gaskell, retired City of Ottawa administrator, radio broadcaster & Juno Awards judge

“Well researched and packed with images, if Assiniboine Park is part of your summer ritual, Assiniboine Park: Designing and Developing a People’s Playground should definitely be on your reading list!”Christian Cassidy, West End Dumplings



DAVID SPECTOR is a retired Winnipeg-based historian and former Parks Canada research manager. He has published numerous articles and reports throughout his career, primarily focusing on the history of Western Canada. Having a life-long interest in the subject, he researched and wrote Assiniboine Park as a retirement pastime. He also leads hikes and historical walks for Nature Manitoba.

Additional information

Weight 0.862 kg
Dimensions 20 × 15 × 1 cm