LaSalle Park to get a solid review - lease has just over two years left.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 9th, 2020



LaSalle Park is back in the news.

The land is owned by the city of Hamilton.

Burlington has a 40 year ($1 a year) lease that ends in December 2022.

Someone is going to have to make a decision – soon. The people who have the agreement with the city to host private events at the Pavilion want to be able to take reservations into 2022

Ridge and Chris Murray - city managers

When it came to negotiating a deal for the sale or long term lease renewal Neither James Ridge of Hamilton city manager Chris Murray were able to settle on anything.

In 2017 Burlington’s then City Manager James Ridge met with the then Hamilton city manager Chris Murray to talk about purchasing the land. An agreement couldn’t be reached. There wasn’t much in the way of public information at the time other than that Hamilton wanted more than Burlington was prepared to or able to pay.

The park is a wonderful place that gets well used. There is a joint venture and licensing agreement with the Burlington Boating and Sailing Club and LaSalle Park Marina Association.

The city recently pumped more than $4 million to upgrading the wave breaks at the marina.

The report that goes to Council on Thursday is one of those Receive and File that no action is taken on. It will be interesting to hear where Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith stands on this one. His predecessor Rick Craven was a very strong advocate for the park.

LaSalle Park Nov 2020The 51.5 acre park has kilometers of trail both inland and along the shore, picnic areas, bocce courts, an accessible playground, a wading pool, 2 baseball diamonds, a boat launch, a marina, toboggan hill and public washrooms.

The park was built in 1915 by the Hamilton Parks Board and the pavilion was built shortly after in 1917 at a time when Aldershot was part of Hamilton. The park name commemorates prominent French explorer Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sir de LaSalle who is believed to have landed on this site in 1669.

The location served as an amusement park and entertainment venue. In its heyday and there was swimming on the shore. Hamilton residents would take a ferry boat to enjoy a day in the park. The LaSalle Pavilion had a restaurant on the main floor and ballroom on the second floor that would accommodate many elegant dinners, dances and musical performances.

LaSalle PacillionThe Pavilion was structurally restored in 1995 only to be destroyed by a fire in the same year. The entire building was reconstructed in 1997 to its original heritage design.

Running the park is not cheap – the cost of replacing what is here now and the cost of operating the site are set out below.

Operating costs

Capital costs

Operating costs


The 2019 replacement value of park assets is $19.59 million.


The 2019 replacement value of assets associated with these two organizations, totaling $8.48 million. $4 million of that was the result of a raid on a Hydro Reserve fund used to pay for the replacement of the wave break without which the Marina may not have been able to survive.

It is going to take some astute negotiating to get a new arrangement in place by December of 2022. It will perhaps be a different city on that date.

Former Mayor Walter Mulkewich explains the role he played.  “My recollection is that Council authorized myself and Councillor Brechin to negotiate with the Parks Committee of Hamilton re LaSalle.  I then knew many of the Hamilton Councillors..  We were able to negotiate a 40 year lease which both Hamilton and Burlington Councils endorsed. ”

City hall might want to give him a call.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 comments to LaSalle Park to get a solid review – lease has just over two years left.

  • James

    Perhaps developers along Plains Road creating condo buildings could be required to pitch in to buy/ maintain Lasalle Park. I often hear complaints that builders should create green spaces within their footprints but it would be better to just upkeep the real thing.

  • Alan Harrington

    Can you show me where to find the following on the inventory list ?:

    Trees, Shoreline, Swans, Grass, Fish Hatcheries, Fresh Air, Scenic Views, A Wooden boardwalk, Open Space, Deer, Foxes, Chickadees and Chipmunks

    …or do they not carry any value?


    Lasalle park–such a wonderful place!! Could Burlington and Hamilton not share the cost of running this amazing park??

  • Steve

    Any word on how much Hamilton was asking for the park in the last negotiations? I’d be curious to see how far apart the two numbers were, and whether Hamilton was trying to fair or not.

    A source that was at the table 38 years ago said Hamilton will never sell the property. No word on what was discussed in 2017.