The antique carousel has been a fixture at Centreville Amusement Park for 50 years and while 2017 was supposed to be the 110-year-old ride’s last season, there might still be an opportunity to save the carousel.
Councillor Paula Fletcher has put forward a motion to Toronto city council with the hopes of keeping the antique carousel in the city.
“It has more than horses. It has pigs, ostriches and cats… I have memories of my kids riding it and many people have memories of their kids riding it, or them riding it,” Fletcher said.
“It’s an important part of our city and an important part of our waterfront and I’m going to try and keep it here.”
The ride was sold earlier this summer to recoup costs after flooding on the Toronto Islands.
“Our ideal (scenario) would be that the carousel stays in Toronto. Beasley Amusements is a family-owned company and they have an incredible attachment to the carousel,” said Shawnda Walker, director of marketing for Beasley Amusements.
Walker said the island’s closure resulted in a large amount of lost revenue and they had to sell the carousel in order to keep the park in operation.
“Unfortunately with the hit that we took with the flooding and having to be closed, we needed a quick infusion of cash,” she said.
Fletcher said the city now has an opportunity to step in and save the carousel.
“It was a terrible spring and summer because of the flooding and this was a distress sale of the carousel,” Fletcher said.
“I think it’s important we put our hands up and say we want it. This operator has a licence for Centreville with the city and I think we have to sit down and start discussing how we can make sure it doesn’t go for sale again and we keep it here for generations to come.”
The carousel was built in 1908 by the Dentzel Company and its original home was in Bushkill Park in Pennsylvania.
It wasn’t until 1967 that the carousel was sold to the Beasley family for $20,000 and moved to Centreville on the island, hosting both children and adults.
WATCH: Toronto residents say they hope Centreville Amusement Park carousel stays. Erica Vella reports. (Aug. 16)
The ride was sold for approximately $3,000,000 and is supposed to be used as part of the new development in Carmel, Indiana.
But Carmel city councillors voted against the purchase of the carousel on Monday.
“The council voted to either include the price of the carousel within the bond that they are applying for a bunch of different things for the city, but it was voted down and the carousel was taken out. The mayor [of Carmel] is still talking about private or corporate funding,” said Walker.
“There is a sale agreement that says Carmel has until October 31 to fund the sale.”
Fletcher said there is still an opportunity to save the ride and is urging people to sign an online petition.
“I think it’s important for Torontonians to weigh in,” she said.
“We need to let council and the mayor know that we want to keep it here.”
The motion will be considered by city council on Oct. 2.
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