“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – Anonymous
The month of June is much more than a month to celebrate the beginning of summer, it is also the month to celebrate parks and recreation in our community. In fact, earlier this month we declared it Parks and Recreation month in Warman to celebrate and appreciate the little patches of green that we, as residents of Warman, ALL own. These spaces in our community are places where we can play, take refuge from the noises and busyness of the city and just enjoy time with nature. It is quoted that parks, playgrounds and green spaces are the soul of a city and I couldn’t agree more! In Warman, these areas are so full of life. Whether you drive by the skate park, or visit one of the many playgrounds, there are always residents enjoying our parks and recreational facilities.
As Mayor of this incredible community, I always love to hear why residents love Warman and one of the first things that is always stated is that they love our parks and recreation facilities. This always makes me so incredibly proud. Our Council, as well as previous councils, have worked hard to continue to increase our list of parks, sports fields, green spaces and recreational facilities for our residents to enjoy. In fact, as a long-time resident of Warman I can say that twenty years ago we had a quarter of the parks and recreational facilities that we have today. Our Council has also made the connectivity of our parks to neighbourhoods and community areas a priority and as a result our residents are able to move around our community easily and enjoy many different spaces. I love our community and I am so thankful for all those who have contributed to our parks and recreational facilities, especially our employees who take tremendous pride in maintaining these spaces.
To celebrate our park spaces this month I wanted to continue on the theme of history as in previous blogs and focus today’s blog on the many green spaces of our community, who they are named after and the history of their naming.
So did you know......
Lions Park was named after the Lion’s Club volunteers who dedicated many years of community service to Warman. The Lions Club (men’s club) and Lioness Club (women’s club) were very active in building a strong community through events and fundraising efforts. For those longtime residents, you may even remember the bingos. There were oh so many bingos and these, as well as countless other fundraising events, brought many residents together to make Warman the best place to call home.
Diamond Hill Park
Warman was originally named Diamond in 1905 and as a result this park was named with Warman’s history in mind. For those that are unaware, the original settlement of Warman was informally called “Diamond” because of the diamond shape made by the intersecting railway tracks. This park has been a favourite of many families in the community especially in the 1980’s and 1990’s when you would often see hot dog roasts and picnics in this park.
Prairie Oasis Park
While many of the newest recreation additions in Warman are located in this park, Prairie Oasis is actually one of Warman’s oldest parks. When my family and I moved to Warman in the early 1980’s this park was furnished with old pieces of playground equipment. It had an old swing set and a modified piece of farm equipment that serviced as a slide and climbing apparatus. My family spent lots of time there and loved the park including the trees, paths and hiding spots. While it doesn’t look like the old Prairie Oasis Park I once knew and loved, this park has now been transformed into a true treasure of our community for all ages to enjoy. With an opportunity to fish, camp, play ball, and much more, I encourage you to check it out if you haven’t! You won’t be disappointed.
Wonder why it was named Prairie Oasis Park? Well I am not sure. After much investigation we couldn’t find anyone who really knew. I guess it was named for its location and the fact is has always been an oasis for members of the community to enjoy!
Arthur Neufeld Soccer Pitch
This busy soccer pitch was named after Arthur Neufeld. Arthur was born in Aberdeen and spent most of his life in Warman, except for his time serving in the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War from 1940 to 1945. Upon his return to Warman he ran the local post office. His war bride Nancy also joined him in Warman where she took over the duties of the local post office while Arthur went on to work at the Saskatoon Post Office. Arthur and Nancy lived in Warman and raised a family of four, children Walter, Linda, Sharon, and Loretta all who still remain in the area and have went on to serve their community as well.
Arthur was very proud of Warman and had a life-long desire to improve the lifestyle of its residents. From the 1950’s until the mid-1960’s he served on the Warman School Board and following that, he became the first Mayor of the Town of Warman. Some of his achievements during his time as Mayor included hooking up to the Saskatoon telephone system, the development of the sewer system and later the development of the water system.
Arthur was committed to making Warman a self-sustaining community. He spent much of his time while elected in Regina, meeting with provincial officials to ensure that his vision of the community was achieved. It was this foresight that enabled the Council and Mayor of Warman to lay the foundation for the City we enjoy today.
Linda Schaefer Park
Linda Schaefer holds the distinguished place in Warman history as the first woman mayor for the Town of Warman, following in her father Arthur Neufeld’s footsteps. Linda was born in the town hospital and Linda and her husband, Hans Bernd, raised their three children in the community and still reside here today.
In 1980, Linda turned her focus from raising her children and being involved in education and civic recreational committees to municipal government. Linda served a total of eleven years on the Warman Town Council, nine of those as Mayor. Some of Linda’s most significant contributions to Warman include the storm sewer system, the paving project, the building of the Brian King Centre, creating a viable 25 year growth plan and the first public library. Linda also championed and worked closely with both the federal and provincial governments to obtain grants and funding for various projects including plans for the fire department and the opening of the RCMP detachment. It was Linda’s strong vision that helped paved the way for the community that we live in today.
Neil Wagner Park
A community favourite, this park was named after Neil Lloyd Wagner. Neil was born in Saskatoon, but lived in Warman and always dreamed of it being a place for families. Neil Wagner was an amazing father and devoted his life to serving God. He was a Sunday school teacher for more than a decade and a youth leader at the Bergthaler Church in this community. He loved the idea of building a community where people didn't just raise families but enjoyed every minute spent with their children.
He was a successful inventor, brilliant farmer, a crew chief and an avid adventure seeker. He was humble, kind and one of the most generous people you could meet. In fact, today he would probably wonder why you could not find anyone more important to name a park after. He was described by many as a selfless and generous man. He was also a visionary and was instrumental in the development of the Rockwood area in Warman. He sadly lost his life in a motorcycle accident at a young age.
In his career, he signed off the majority of his correspondence with “Have Fun", so in honour of Neil Wagner I ask that all our residents HAVE FUN at this beautiful park.
Rick Unger Park
Located in the beautiful Legends area, this park was named after Rick Unger. Rick was born in Rosthern to Isaac and Margaret Unger and was raised on a family farm just north of Warman. It was in the Warman area where Rick developed deep roots which eventually brought his wife Melanie and him back to the community where they had three beautiful daughters.
During his years in Warman, Rick enjoyed keeping busy. As a result, he started up his own landscaping and snow removal business where he became well known by many in the community. In fact, it is safe to say that the majority of Warman’s gardens in those years where rototilled by Rick himself. Always eager to learn, Rick soon added decorative concrete to his list of skills that he utilized at his business, New Image Decorative Concrete and Landscaping.
During his spare time and days off, Rick a committed husband and father, enjoyed spending time with his family. He could often be found enjoying the outdoors. Sadly, Rick passed away in December 22, 2004. The naming of this park was a way to honour Rick’s memory and all that he had done for the community.
The Gidluck family moved to Warman in 1975 and shortly thereafter Ron started his own trucking business which he operated for 30 years. Ron Gidluck always promoted Warman as the place to live, work and raise a family. He and his wife Darlene were involved in the community in many capacities and raised their four boys in Warman.
Ron served on the Town Council for more than three terms between 1988 and 2005, but that is only a small part of his community involvement. Ron was also involved in the Lions Club, the local and provincial chapters of the Chamber of Commerce and the Warman Hockey Association. He was so committed to his community that he even purchased a bus, painted “Warman Sports” on the sides of it and drove various local sports teams around western Canada. In addition to these roles, he served on the boards of various groups within Warman including the Warman Community Library Board and the Parks and Recreation Board.
Ron was known to his family and friends as having a fun-loving spirit. His loyalty, his integrity and his pride for the Town of Warman were his trademark and his contributions will continue to benefit our community for many years to come.
Percy Hoff Soccer Pitch
Percy Hoff moved to Warman in the 1980’s with his wife Yvonne and their three children. His passion for sport, particularly soccer, was the main reason soccer became so popular at that time and grew to what it is today. Percy loved to coach and advocated for soccer in the community at every chance he had. He was also instrumental in lobbying, fundraising and eventually building Warman’s first soccer pitch.
Warman Off Leash Dog Park
Built in 2013, the Off Leash Dog Park is a 20.27 acre park that was the result of a community banding together for a common goal. After residents identified a need for a place to take their pets off leash, they approached the Council at the time requesting that a dog park be considered. Council was in full support of an area designated for the furry residents of Warman and identified the land the park currently sits on as the perfect place for the location. While under construction, local businesses Iron Mountain and Loewen Homes, decided to approach the City to provide assistance in the development of the park specifically with the assistance of the drainage issues. In addition, a few years later KH Developments was kind enough to donate 55 mature trees for the space. The beautiful park for Warman’s beloved pets is a true testament to what can happen when a community works together.
This park was named in celebration of Warman’s centennial year. The park located just off of Crystal Springs Drive to the west, is a hidden gem in the community. Tucked away behind residential lots, it has become a community favourite where residents can utilize a fantastic modern play structure, a beautiful green space and picnic tables. I am curious to know how many of our residents know about this hidden park? Have you been?
Zane Dmytryshyn Park
This park has just recently been renamed after long time Warman resident and the 2018 Citizen of the Year, Zane Dmytryshyn. Zane arrived in Warman in 1978 and it is fair to say that his dedication and love for the community has touched the lives of so many. Committed to consistently looking for opportunities and new ways to improve the community, Zane found many causes where he not only supported but was instrumental in achieving success of those same areas. Some of these included Warman’s first golf course where he was a key member of the fundraising efforts, the establishment of the first library location, in town bussing where both he and his spouse worked tirelessly to ensure that bus services were provided when the new elementary school was opened, and their efforts in bringing the French curriculum to the community where at that time there was only German and English being taught. In addition to these efforts, Zane also set aside many hours as a member of Council. Serving three terms, from 1982-1988 and then again in 2012-2016, he brought his love of the community, his dedication to his fellow neighbours and his wonderful sense of humour to the table. It is commitment such as Zane’s that has continued to make Warman the friendly community in which we live today.
The new Legends parks
Over the coming months many in the community will notice that the Legends Area parks will soon be renamed. These parks will be named after the first Golf Board members which include Jack Berglof, Walter Davis, Larry Nelson, Larry Eber and Corney Klassen. These original members spent many years advocating, volunteering, fundraising and then overseeing Warman’s first Golf Course construction. It is safe to say without the vision of these five men, the Legends Golf Course would not be the success it is today.
This is just a brief overview of the many beautiful parks in our community. As we continue to grow we look forward to adding new parks to our community and naming these after some of the many Warman residents who make Warman the best place to call home. Know a resident that you feel deserves to have a park or street named after them? The City of Warman is always looking for names that can be utilized for the future naming of parks and streets. For more information contact Warman City Hall.
“Nature surrounds us, from parks and backyards to streets and alleyways. Next time you go out for a walk, remember that we are both inhabitants and stewards in our neighbourhoods.” – Anonymous