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Riverside Park Carousel Ride Undergoes Maintenance

Web posted on May 12, 2014

Guelph, On, May 8, 2014 It will be about six weeks before the nostalgic sounds of Guelph's antique carousel ride return to Riverside Park.

The City-owned and beloved amusement ridefeaturing jumping stallions, chariots and other figureswas dismantled earlier this year as part of scheduled maintenance of the ride's custom mechanical parts; sent to a patent holding company in the United States.

"The maintenance work is taking a bit longer than we anticipated and as a result there will be a delay in opening the carousel," says Karen Sabzali, manager of Parks and Open Space.

Typically the carousel ride, miniature train, and paddle boats welcome visitors from the Victoria Day long weekend until mid-September, weather permitting. However, this year only the train and boats will be ready to open on May 17.

"The carousel is an affordable, family-based activity that has become a favourite pastime for residents and visitors to Guelph. Our aim is to have the painted horses going around in circles again by Canada Day," says Sabzali.

While the horse poles, telescopes and floor locks are machined and fabricated south of the border, staff are using the time to make minor repairs to the wooden horsesfilling small cracks and pinch points. A local artist will give the horses a fresh coat of paint.

Once the mechanical parts arrive back in Guelph, Sabzali says a local company will reassemble the carousel.

The refurbishing costs will total about $50,000 and were approved in the 2014 budget. Life expectancy of the capital repairs is 15 to 17 years.

The carousel provides about 13,000 rides during a typical season.

For ticket information and updates on when the carousel ride will be operational, visit

About the carousel
1919 Designed and manufactured by Allan Herschell.

1970 City of Guelph purchases carousel from Conklin and Garrett Ltd. of Brantford for $6,000.

1976 In disrepair and removed from service.

1976 Public subscription is led by local solicitor John Valeriote and local artist Ken Danby.

1977 Save the Carousel campaign raises $10,000.

1978 Wintario grant for $10,000 is received to help the cause.

1978/79 Guelph Correctional Centre residents rebuild and paint the carousel in colour scheme provided by Danby. Mechanical clutch and brake system is rebuilt and carousel is permanently installed, with the old trailer system removed. New canvas top is supplied. Refurbishing costs total $45,000.

1987 Direct drive electrical system is changed to fluid drive system. Rotted wooden sills are replaced with metal. Refurbishing costs total $22,000.

1989 Carousel horses are rebuilt and repainted at a cost of $29,000.

1999 Carousel shell is built at a cost of $350,000. Artist Steven Lewis donates shell weather vane.

2002 Local artist Greg Elliott paints mural.