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Splash Canyon – The crumbling remains of an abandoned water park

August 2020

The grounds are eerily quiet. There is no longer the laughter and commotion of children and adults, splashing about in one of the four pools and a splash pad for the younger ones. The only water in the pools is rainwater, partially submerging old deck chairs and other debris, and the cracked pool decks are slowly being consumed by overgrown weeds.

There is no longer the sound of hooting and hollering as visitors fly down one of the waterslides; waterslides that have been demolished, leaving behind only the round concrete foundations.

The food stands and the general store are boarded up and void of people; only the empty display cases, refrigerators, stoves, freezers and scattered debris remaining inside.

There are no longer the sounds of adults and children singing campfire songs, or the crackling firewood, in the empty and overgrown the campground area.

For 12 short years, Splash Canyon Water Park and Campground occupied this 47-acre property. Established in 2002, on the site of a former Christian Camp, the Loose Moose Magic Village Waterpark and Campground, guests could lounge by the tropical-themed pool, Blue Water Bay, or body-surf the waves at Splash Central tidal wave pool.

For a more thrilling experience, guests could choose from two water slides, including Canyon Falls and White Water Run, offering both body slides and tube rides.

For the kids, they could splash and play at Little Moose Island, an interactive water playground with two small waterslides, geared toward younger park guests.

The park also has a general store, laundry facilities, camp programs for children, a sports cafe, miniature golf and a snack bar.

Seasonal RV campsites and rental cottages were available for guests who desired an extended stay.

Unfortunately, Splash Canyon ran into financial difficulties almost immediately, with the bank taking over from the original owner for the 2003 operating season.

The water park went through several owners over the next decade, finally shutting down without warning in 2012, not long after the beginning of the operating season. Many who had paid their seasonal campground fees found the main gates locked and two weeks notice to remove their trailers and other property.

A new owner quickly bought the property, but after sitting vacant for two years, the park became a target for vandals and those looking for copper and other scrap metals to sell to scrap dealers. The $500,000 worth of damage to the facilities killed off plans to re-open the park for the 2014 season.

Actually, it appears that it killed off any chance of the park re-opening. On 7 May 2017, the Splash Canyon Waterpark was officially placed in receivership and a week and a half later, on 18 May, owner Harvey Ambrose’s company, Kawartha Downs, was also placed in receivership.

A fire in 2016 caused damage to the park and another one on 30 March 2019, destroyed the abandoned caretaker’s house near the main entrance. The two waterslides and the kid’s waterslide, have since been demolished.

Sources: https://barrie360.com/blaze-at-abandoned-water-park-has-been-deemed-suspicious/, https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/alleged-vandalism-at-barrie-area-water-park-could-delay-opening-1.1838558, https://traveltips.usatoday.com/water-parks-barrie-ontario-105255.html, https://www.barrietoday.com/local-news/fire-at-splash-canyon-water-park-deemed-suspicious-338990, https://www.simcoe.com/news-story/6770973-springwater-officials-deem-fire-at-splash-canyon-suspicious/, splashcanyonresort.com, https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/alleged-vandalism-at-barrie-area-water-park-could-delay-opening-1.1838558, https://staycanada.ca/4624-splash-canyon-resort-camping-minesing.html, https://insolvencyinsider.ca/filing/splash-canyon-waterpark-resort/.

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: https://militarybruce.com/splash-canyon-the-crumbling-remains-of-an-abandoned-water-park/

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