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Abandoned amusement parks in Canada: Prudhomme’s Landing – Wet ‘N’ Wild

January 2017

Prudhomme’s Landing was once one of the biggest recreation and entertainment venues in Ontario.  Founded by John and George Prudhomme, on the shore of Lake Ontario in Jordan, Ontario near St Catherines, In its heyday, Prudhomme’s Landing was a very popular and affordable spot for youth and families and once saw as many as 7, 000 guests per day during its summer operating season.

By 1981, the property was undergoing a $3-million expansion by Fowler and business partners making up Prudhomme Group. The site featured

Adjacent to the hotel was a recreation centre with a snack bar, a 9 hole par 3 mini-golf course, indoor swimming pool with an underground tunnel to the main hotel, an outdoor pool, an arcade, a bowling alley with 4, five pin auto lanes and 4 lanes that could be used as 10 or 5 pin, a gift shop and several dining rooms.

There was a public beach by the pier for swimming and fishing and many late night parties and a mini train that took people all over the property.

An amusement park was build on the property in the 1960s and included bumper boats, bumper cars, go-karts with a 1/4 mile track, a Tilt-A-Whirl, roller skating, putting greens, a children’s playground, a sandy beach and an video game arcade. A miniature train was also there in the Miniature World attraction.  An old mansion on the grounds was made into a haunted house.  Originally, the amusement park included horse riding and a small zoo.

The park also had great theatre there back in the 1960s, converted from an old 1940s-era dance hall.  Actors who performed at the theatre included Raymond Burr, Jayne Mansfield, Liza Minnelli ,Yvette Mimieux and Mickey Rooney.

Even before the haunted house and amusement park, Prudhommes Landing was a popular place to go for an evening out and a good meal.

A small water park was later opened,   A man-made hill was used to create two or water slides and later a wave pool, two water slides, a lazy river, and a tube rapid ride were added.  This area was called “Wet `n’ Wild”.

The life of Prudhommes Landing was not without disaster and setbacks.  In 1967, a fire destroyed the main section of the complex, including 55 motel suites, the dining room, five ballrooms, a curling rink and the Garden Centre Theatre.

A second fire in September 1971 destroyed the indoor swimming pool, bowling alley and the gaming arcade and the games inside.  Police determined the fire to be an arson.

The park closed at the end of the summer in 2000, a victim of rising costs in both operating and maintaining the park and decreasing attendance.  It’s decline was gradual and in the end, seemed inevitable.  The haunted house along with a few minor attractions had closed by 1999 and some of the rides were in bad shape.

The Prudhommes Landing Inn closed in 2002.

The park sat abandoned until 2016 when the property was sold to a developer for a new mixed-use subdivision consisting of residential, commercial and park space.  The abandoned hotel and the remains of the water park were demolished in September 2016.

The hotel was nearly destroyed three months earlier when a fire broke out on the east end of the second floor, destroying a small section of the building.  The fire was determined to be suspicious.

Sources:  www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2016/06/09/prudhommeslanding-sold, https://dem0na.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/prudommes-landing-abandoned-hotel-and-waterpark-wet-n-wild, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikegarrett/albums/72157624460942950/, www.niagarathisweek.com, www.aphan.ca/wetnwild.html, cec.chebucto.org/ClosPark/Prudhomm.htm, personal recollections of the author.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: http://militarybruce.com/abandoned-canadian-amusement-parks-prudhommes-landing-wet-n-wild/

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