Before the wadding pool and spray park was opened in 2010, Central Park, located in the heart of downtown Winnipeg, was virtually forgotten. Once a prominent, historical landmark, it had become a seedy, crime-filled haven at the center of Winnipeg’s immigrant community.

CentreVenutre, Winnipeg’s Downtown Development Agency (led by Ida Albo, a private sector champion for the project), recognized the need to revitalize the site and a plan was set in motion. The surrounding neighborhoods include a diverse immigrant group – from Africa, Asia the Middle East and beyond – and bringing these groups together to create a space that they would all value was one early challenge.

The community wanted the option to utilize the spraypark during times when no lifeguard was available to supervise the wading pool; therefore, in designing the project the goals were to develop a visually aesthetic spray park that could be operated independently from the oasis-style wading pool.

With this objective in mind, designers planned two separate water treatment systems, making it possible to have the wading pool draw from re-circulated water while the spray park could operate as an independent drain-away. This would allow access to the aquatic play pad without needing to turn on the water treatment system while preventing risk of cross contamination. A UV system, pressure relief valves to control flow, and a custom wall mounted manifold, further help maintain water quality and aquatic systems.

The completed aquatic play pad is located at the end of the wading pool and features activators and water cannons to allow for an interactive and engaging family playground. Adding to the oasis-like feel, 10-foot-tall Daisy Mae columns are placed in repetition, complimenting the wading pool. Within the wadding pool itself, aquatic play features including concrete islands with ground sprays

Another challenge unique to this project is now considered one of the most beautiful features: The glass structure that houses the washrooms, lockers and mechanical room. To lower the incidence of crime while still fitting in to the overall aesthetics of the aquatic area, the building was conceived to be literally “transparent.”

The spatial considerations of the building were somewhat restrictive and resulted in a custom-built manifold and water treatment system. Inside, the washrooms were built with environmentally sensitive low-flow toilets and motion detecting sinks. A shade canopy running parallel to the building and topped with a stainless steel trough with water flowing into the wading pool further ties the building into the aesthetic of the park.

In addition to the aquatic space and washroom building, the park includes a water table with troughs for water-manipulated play, a unique dry playground and an embedded artificial turf soccer field built 3 feet deep into the earth to keep the ball in play.

All told, the unique and comprehensive community involvement helped shape this project into a success. Since Central Park’s new aquatic facility opened on Aug 26, 2010, the park has experienced a 180-degree shift in terms of users and public perception. What was once the park that was nearly forgotten has become the pride of the surrounding multi-ethnic community. Crime rates have plummeted and a central goal of revitalizing this historic hub has undoubtedly been achieved.

“Community sessions at the beginning of the project truly impacted the vision in a meaningful way,” said Bob Somers, principal at Scatliff+Miller+Murray. “Continued communication with the locals in the area kept everyone involved and has given the neighborhood real ownership of the project.”


Opened: 2010

Cost: $1 million-plus

Aquatic space: 8,600 square feet

Dream amenities: The park includes a wading pool with concrete islands, ground spray features and a waterfall; an interactive water table; and an interactive spray deck with cannons, activators and 10-foot-tall Daisy Mae sprayers


  • Dream Designer: Waterplay Solutions Corp.
  • Architect: David Penner Architect
  • Aquatic Designer:Scatliff+Miller+Murray
  • Landscape Architect:Scatliff+Miller+Murray
  • Water Systems Designer: Waterplay Solutions / Playworks Inc.
  • Mechanical Engineer: KGS Group
  • Contractor & Irrigation:Ful-Flo Industries Ltd.
  • Engineers: KGS Group Canotech


  • Engineered Treatment Systems: UV technology
  • Waterplay Solutions Corp. (Distributor: Playworks Inc.: Water-play equipment