THE THOMPSON MEMORIAL PARK COMMITTEE

P.O. Box 11, Vittoria, ON N0E 1W0

Vittoria Thompson Memorial Park Committee
Fred Ludwig, Tom Haskett, Gord Walsh, Stu Philip, Tom Smith, Roger Cruickshank, George Lloyd, Ron Bezzo, Gary Cooper, Doug Smith, Clare McLaren, Duncan Walsh, Bob Van Hooren (Chairman), Ed Stenclik, Jack Bingleman, Jim Melville


The Thompson Memorial Park Committee has been cited on several occasions by the Township of Delhi Recreation Director and Council members as the prototype for the way volunteer groups should participate in the life of a community.

The Thompson Memorial Park Committee in 2001 has 24 members with a commitment to provide and improve recreational facilities for people of all ages in the Vittoria district.

The TMPC was organized in 1973, when the need for a better ball park was identified. The original composition of the committee was retained for a few years - three members from the Vittoria Lions Club, three from the Vittoria Firefighters, three from the Cherwaty's Intermediate Fastball Team and three representing the community at large. Presently, membership is open to all who are dedicated to the work and aims of the Committee.

Five of the charter members remain active 27 years later - Jack Bingleman, Jim Melville, Gary Cooper, Tom Haskett and Roger Cruickshank.

The Park, and the Committee which undertook to build it, was named after a popular sports enthusiast Floyd Thompson, who sacrificed his life to save another pedestrian from being struck by a car.

There had been talk for several years about improving the ball diamond - everybody talked about it but nobody did anything about it. The death of Floyd Thompson seemed to be the catalyst to get the project started.

A few years earlier, the Vittoria Lions Club had had the foresight to purchase the former Canning Factory site. They generously agreed to donate the property for the ball park to the Township of Charlotteville, and the rest is history.

A significant amount of the leveling, infield construction, sodding and seeding was carried out by the enthusiastic volunteers of the TMPC. Many residents of the community got involved and gave freely of their time, talent and equipment.

The next year, with the installation of the six 50-foot floodlights, Vittoria for the first time could host night games. The floodlit tennis courts/skating rink, playground area, concession booth, electronic scoreboard, and storage/utility building were developed over the next few years.

From its rather humble beginnings in 1973, the Thompson Memorial Park Committee has risen to a place of prominence in the community, and has earned the respect of the residents of the district and the Municipal Council of the Township of Delhi, with whom they have worked very closely on many projects.

At the Park, the committee has installed bleachers; several pieces of playground equipment; a concession booth with team storage area and washrooms; an electronic scoreboard; a scorers and announcers booth; a garage complete with water reservoir and storage area; a floodlit dual-purpose concrete pad used for tennis courts and road hockey for several months of the year, and skating and hockey when the weather permits; a pavilion with picnic tables; and park benches.

The TMPC were instrumental in having the Township acquire the ball diamond portion of the former Vittoria School property from the Board of Education, and then reconstructed the diamond in a better location and installed a new backstop and perimeter fencing.

One of the TMPC's proudest accomplishments was their participation in the construction of the Vittoria & District Community Centre (VDCC). Over the years, the Thompson Memorial Park Committee had established with the Township of Delhi a good working relationship, significant credibility, and a reputation for seeing through any project they undertook. At the request of the Township, Thompson Memorial agreed to accept the responsibility of coordinating the fundraising activities necessary, as well as overseeing the VDCC Building and Finance Committee.

The committee has, in recent years, broadened its mandate as new needs have arisen and fundraising activities have been undertaken for other major facilities which are used by residents of the district, including the ball diamond at Walsh, the Port Dover Arena, the Delhi Arena and the Todd Eaton Memorial Track. They assisted with the installation of a much-needed and very attractive set of front steps at the Vittoria Town Hall and contributed generously to the community share of the recent restoration of that historic building.

Two fairly independent organizations were formed to operate under the Supervision of the Thompson Memorial Park Committee - The Vittoria District Community Centre Committee, and the Charlotteville Minor Sports Association.

The TMPC is a fine group of citizens, dedicated to improving the quality of recreational and entertainment opportunities for all. It is strictly a community service organization, with business meetings held only as needed, but its community involvement, leadership and accomplishments will stand as a landmark for generations to come.

Officers for 2001 are Chairman - Bob Van Hooren, Secretary - Fred Ludwig, Treasurer - Roger Cruickshank.