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Bowring Park

I learned today that I am somehow related to Edgar Rennie Bowring, the man responsible for Bowring Park. But, I'm an American, so I've never been there, so.. is it good? How do you guys enjoy it, or have you never heard of it? Thanks! -Bowring

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level 1
23 points · 1 year ago

Bowring Park is a major part of our capital city, St. John's. It's quite large, and different areas of the park have different features. There's a duck pond, a playground for kids with swings, slides, etc., a swimming pool, lots of open grass areas, and more. There's a small building referred to as the Bungalow which is often used for small wedding receptions, corporate events, and so on. I have childhood memories of rowboat rides in the park's second pond with my dad.

Not only is it popular with the people of St. John's, it would surprise me to find anyone in the entire province who hasn't at least heard of it.

level 2
Original Poster7 points · 1 year ago

That's awesome! I take pride in being a Bowring because of everything we've done in Canada and Britain.

level 1

The park has a number of WWI and WWII memorial features as we were a major port during wartimes. One such treasured memorial is a statue called the Caribou, an indigenous animal which represented the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Duplicate statues were placed at 5 sites in France and Belgium to honour great efforts of the NL Regiment. The Park has been designed and influenced by many renowned landscape architects over the past century and has seen a number of royal visitors and gifts. It is full of history, some of which can be read here. While our relationship with merchants and wealthy landowners has been tumultuous, the legacy of the Bowrings has been known as one of integrity and generousity. The park is considered a jewel among residents, and one of the most favoured attractions in the province.

level 1
7 points · 1 year ago

I imagine the Bowring family that built the park is the same family that had the large shop on Water street. I think it is still called the Bowring building but now has offices and smaller shops. I have fond memories of the shop and park and still go to the park whenever I can. The park is used all year and is has swans and great statues. Many people has gotten married or had their reception there. There is a swimming pool and skateboard park. I also love that on the trail near the river is more natural and you feel like you are outside the city. You should be very proud. If only every city had a park like this.

level 1
5 points · 1 year ago

As a parent, Bowring is a really nice park. It has a nice walking trail along the river, a wonderful playground area, a swimming pool, a duck pond and a large open area for stuff like picnics and kite flying.

One of the - I want to say saddest, but it's more in a sad in a touching way - is the statue of Peter Pan - a replica of the one in Kensington. Sir Edgar Rennie Bowring put it there after his granddaughter, Betty Munn, died (along with 92 other souls) aboard the S.S. Florizel off of Cappahayden. Betty was three years old at the time and was ripped from her father's arms by the pounding surf. The Florizel was one of the ships owned by the Bowrings. The inscription on the statue reads: "In memory of a little girl who loved the park, Betty Munn"

level 1
3 points · 1 year ago

So, what's the story?

How did you come across this information?

Where are in living now?

level 2
Original Poster2 points · 1 year ago

I live just under the border in St Paul, MN. My mother, from Ohio, had traced her genealogy to Benjamin Bowring, the OG Canadian Bowring. She had only told me the most of it yesterday.

level 1
2 points · 1 year ago

A friend of mine is also related to the Bowrings. They were prominent merchants in St. John's for many years. I fondly remember the department store on Water Street. My friend's grandfather was the last to operate the store until it closed. Yes its the same family who gave the land that is part of Bowring Park to the city and started the Park. The original park didn't include the part that has the swimming pool/splash pad, etc. I found an interesting paper about the history of the park once. I'm sure a little googling would turn it up.

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