Homer Watson Park
INTERACTIVE WALKING TRAIL
The Homer Watson Art Trail is an interactive hike, providing a journey through time featuring Watson’s works. Bask in the beauty of nature along the same river that inspired many of his works, visualized in futuristic Augmented Reality (AR), and guided storytelling. Grab a snack, bring your friends and family, and be surrounded by inspirational nature that launched a legacy of visual art along the Grand River.
Watson was increasingly distressed by the demolition of the majestic virgin forest of Ontario and developed a scheme to preserve at least a small portion of it. In 1913, a tract of land known as “Cressman Bush” was to be auctioned and Watson feared it would go to a portable sawmill owner. A group of concerned parties formed the Waterloo County Grand River Park Limited and named Watson the president. They purchased the land with the intention of preserving it as a park forest.
In 1976, the City of Kitchener designated this land as an ecologically significant open space and further ensured its preservation. The park comprises 250 acres, supporting a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Pine, spruce, cedar thickets, hemlock and mixed swamp forest can be found in abundance. Dwarf Ginseng, fiddleheads and cancer root all attest to this diversity. Five species of butterfly make their home in the park as well as the rare Red-shouldered Hawk and Black-backed, three-toed Woodpecker. High steep wooded bluffs along the Grand River provide vantage points for impressive views of the river valley, including Bechtel’s Ford. Walking trails and picnic areas are situated in the park.