I just had pleasant phone conversation with Sylvia Holden, the former Ottawa resident who has a park named after her near Lansdowne Park.
Holden, 82, lives in Vermont now and says Mayor Jim Watson recently invited her to Ottawa to rededicate the community park, since the current Lansdowne Community Park between Holmwood Ave. and the Queen Elizabeth Pkwy. will be renamed Sylvia Holden Park. (Currently, Sylvia Holden Park is the small park at Holmwood Ave. and Bank St., but it will be wiped out because of the Lansdowne redevelopment).
“I don’t think we’ll be coming. I haven’t told him yet. I think we’re not just very happy to participate at this point,” Holden said. “We’re just getting a little older.”
Holden said she knows the community is disappointed with the Lansdowne redevelopment and doesn’t want to be caught up in the brouhaha. She would love to see her friends in Ottawa but would rather stay at home with her 88-year-old husband and avoid the long travel.
Holden still keeps tabs on developments in the Glebe and talked about the struggle of residents adapting to change.
“I hope the community can come together somehow,” she said.
On her park, Holden said perhaps it’s even time for the city to consider a new name to recognize a current community leader.
I suggested to her it’s hard to believe the community would want her name dropped from recognition.
“That’s very nice, but I don’t feel that I need to keep it alive forever,” Holden said. “There might be another name that might be suitable for the present situation. Time moves along and it may be helpful, in a way, in making a change in the name.”
At the same time, Holden likes that the park celebrates work of volunteers, which is why the city recognized her by naming the park in 1994.
“I think it’s nice volunteers can make a difference,” Holden said. “It validates the work of the volunteer.”