renaming parks

Just before the last municipal election a “community” newspaper featured a cool pic of our local councillor attending a photo op event in Hillside Park, which was to be renamed Donoghue Memorial Park.

I was puzzled when the City tore down the heritage wooden sign and replaced it with a new bilingual Ottawa sign emblazoned ‘Hillside Park.’ It seemed kind of wasteful if the park was to be renamed in the near future.

The new sign, very similar to the one below, wasn’t cheap – my guess is over a thousand. Not a huge sum, but still, it seemed odd. The City is so eager to replace perfectly good Nepean signs with bilingual Ottawa signs – what’s with that?

For over a year there was no further news of this renaming, which seemed strange, as the politicians’ push to rename Crestview Park after a former Conservative MPP went ahead like a knife through butter. It must be said that both Rick and Bells Corners politician John Baird first met Mr. Mitchell as teenaged wannabe politicians.

And we all know what lengths the councillor went to to foist Lloyd Francis Boulevard on us. Why was it taking so long for the renaming of Hillside Park? I looked at the City’s protocol for renaming parks and all the right steps were followed – the formal application had been submitted to the councillor a l-o-n-g time ago.

Barry Donoghue’s long dedicated service to the community and his many accomplishments seemed to make the whole thing a slam dunk.

Mr. Donoghue was active in the school, church, business and sports communities and in different service clubs. In 2004 he donated his time to install playground structures for the Our Lady of Peace school council and many of his playground installations can be found throughout the city. He was an active parish council member who served on the finance committee, volunteered for events and supported capital renewal for St. Martin de Porres. He was involved as an assistant hockey coach, a member of the Knights of Columbus, and was active in the local Boy Scouts organization. He canvassed for the Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

Barry Donoghue wasn’t a politician or a Rick buddy (the Citizen described him as a “Bells Corners celebrity…a businessman and prolific fundraiser”) – surely that’s not the reason for the year-long delay? Because of the bad press over the Lloyd Francis and Charlotte Whitton botched renamings the politicians are cautious.

If you agree with many Bells Corners residents that Hillside Park should be renamed Donoghue Memorial Park you can visit the Facebook page.

You have until the end of the “official consultation phase” (Mon. January 16, 2012) to register your support with the City: 613-580-2424x 15636 or by email

Then a troika made up of Rick, Jim and City managers will make their decision.

Here’s some more Barry Donoghue info:

Many members of the Lynwood community are working diligently to have Hillside Park, which is at the end of Stinson, beneath Bell High School, renamed Donoghue Memorial Park in memory of Barry Donoghue.

Barry was an amazing member of the Bells Corners community and personified the true meaning of a community minded volunteer. He was very well known and respected in our community and was always available to lend a hand to anyone in need. I am sure many of you either worked with Barry in his numerous volunteer activities or were the recipient of some of his many kindnesses. He annually organized a “Spring Cleaning of the Capital” Event at the Our Lady of Peace school yard.

Sadly, Barry passed away April 2009. His untimely death was a shock to everyone. The community has been looking for an opportunity to appropriately recognize his contributions to our community. The renaming of Hillside Park is a perfect tribute. Barry owned a playground installation business and was responsible for building many parks in the Ottawa area and across Eastern Ontario.

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2 Responses to renaming parks

  1. ottawaowl says:

    jumping on the bandwagon?

  2. TonyL1 says:

    I don’t know who Donoghue is myself, but this renaming crap is getting on my nerves. There was nothing wrong with Hillside Park’s name in the first place. I’d rather go to a park that’s named like a park, not a person (no disrespect to this Donoghue). So this man did many wonderful things for Bells Corners, but there are other ways to remember people other than renaming boulevards or parks after them.

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