STELLARTON – Olympic Park: it has a nice ring to it.
The Town of Stellarton will rename the park in Valley Woods ‘Olympic Park,’ in recognition of two Stellarton natives who reached the pinnacle of their sports: Blayre Turnbull, the Stellarton native who won a silver medal last month with Canada’s women’s hockey team at the Winter Games in South Korea, and 1956 Olympic boxer Babe Mason.
“We want to officially name the Valley Woods park area, ‘Olympic Park’ in honour of their achievements,” Mayor Danny MacGillivray said at a council meeting on Monday, noting that the area has been a “recreational asset for many years” for Stellarton and area residents.
“We will have two interpretive panels placed in the park this summer (and) they will explain why the area is called Olympic Park: chronicling her silver medal journey, as well as commemorating the history of the area.”
At Monday’s meeting, Coun. Bryan Knight noted that Turnbull is not the only Olympian who was raised in Stellarton: Mason competed at the 1956 Olympics, which were held in Melbourne, Australia. A number of years ago, the town named a narrow, gravelled roadway in the Valley Woods area ‘Babe Mason Way,’ to honour the local sports legend.
“The impetus was Blayre,” MacGillivray explained, “but we wanted to honour Babe, as well.”
MacGillivray noted that when Valley Woods was developed in the 1980s, the area near the pond became informally referred to as Valley Woods Park. Turnbull grew up skating on the pond, like so many other youngsters in that part of Stellarton.
In its most recent budget, the town earmarked $30,000 to go toward new playground equipment, which will be installed this spring.
Turnbull recently sent the town a small flag – the official flag of Stellarton – which was signed by the players on Team Canada. MacGillivray said it will be put on display at the town hall for a time, and will eventually be placed in the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame.