Lily Fielding donation creates public corridor to Georgian Bay

Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger and Councillor Deb McIntosh accept a symbolic cheque from philanthropist Lily Fielding for the million-dollar-plus donation of 300 acres to be added to Kivi Park. The donation will create public access to three pristine lakes and create a corridor to Killarney Park and Georgian Bay.

SUDBURY—Philanthropist Lily Fielding has made a generous million-dollar donation to the City of Sudbury, turning over 300 acres of land on the site of the former Long Lake Public School to the municipality adjacent to Kivi Park, boosting that park to become Sudbury’s largest, some 23 times the size of Bell Park and helping to create a public access to three pristine lakes (Crowley, Linton and Camp Lakes) and creating a public land corridor connection to Killarney Provincial Park and Georgian Bay.

“Kivi Park is designed as a destination park for residents and visitors alike, with a vision to create a space that encourages healthy active outdoor living through organized sport, extensive trails, recreational space and lakes,” noted family member Jeff Wallace in discussion with The Expositor following the announcement.

Ms. Fielding herself holds the area close to her heart.

“I have lived in Long Lake my entire life,” said Mrs. Fielding, in a news release following the donation. “I grew up and went to school here, married my husband Cliff at the Voima Hall and together we raised our children in the community. I wanted to do something special in my 100th year, to give back to the community that has given so much to me.”

Mrs. Fielding is donating the park in memory of her parents Susanna and John Kivi and the many Finnish immigrants who settled in the area and helped shape Sudbury into a dynamic and vibrant city.

“The community response to Kivi Park and its long term strategy has been wonderful,” said Sudbury Councillor Deb McIntosh, who represents the Long Lake area. “Lily Fielding was inspired by the vision of businessman William F. Bell in the creation of Bell Park, the originators of Lake Laurentian Conservation Area, founding members of the Walden Cross Country Ski Club (WCCS), the dedicated board of Rainbow Routes, and Fielding Memorial Park, which was founded by her husband, Cliff, along with his brothers and sister.  Mrs. Fielding wanted to help create another addition to our entire region in the spirit of our great community assets that have a positive legacy impact for generations to come.”

Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré called the addition of 300 acres to Kivi Park a ‘game changer’ for Northern Ontario. “The expansion provides a corridor of access to the Crown land past Cowley Lake, Linton Lake, and Camp Lake and extending south, then west on public property the entire way to Killarney Park,” he said. “Soon all Canadians will get to experience the land that inspired the Group of Seven Artists.”

The addition to Kivi Park will increase the number of available sports fields in the City of Greater Sudbury and will lead to the creation of additional recreational activities that will benefit the entire community, notes the release. Over time it will become a year round destination for outdoor adventure and sport tourism.

“I would like to thank Mrs. Lily Fielding for the generous contribution of more than $1 million to the creation of Kivi Park in the City of Greater Sudbury,” said Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. “It will continue to further our community’s status as a green city and outdoor recreational hub and will be a wonderful active space for our citizens and visitors to the entire region.”

Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to reach the region’s most picturesque spots through a series of trail systems for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, mountain biking and running.

World Champion and Cross Country Skiing Olympian Devon Kershaw, knows the Long Lake area very well.  Mr. Kershaw grew up skiing, running and roller-skiing in the landscape that includes the Kivi Park and sees a strong connection between the landscape of the region, the development of elite athletes and safe places for recreation.  “It’s fitting to see a park of this caliber being created in Northern Ontario, as a destination with sport and cross country ski trails through beautiful Canadian Shield forests, hills and lakes. This is exactly the setting that has produced national level athletes as well as countless hours of family enjoyment in our Canadian outdoors.”

Brian Savage, former NHL Star added, “The outdoor hockey rink, soccer field, baseball diamond, basketball court and sports fields will all be upgraded to provide up to date venues to support active lifestyles, youth and adult sports leagues, up-and-coming high performance athletes and community wellness throughout the region.”

Melissa Sheridan, who successfully led the recent creation of the DJ Hancock Memorial Park, stated that “Our goal with the additional space and natural beauty of Kivi Park is to create the best play environment for children in all of Northern Ontario by integrating best in class play structures and active facilities with cutting edge child development design.  This play space will be unique from any others in the region.  The design features nature inspired play equipment to encourage active and imaginative play by children of all ages and abilities.”

Ms. Fielding recently donated a large parcel of land adjacent to Low Island Park in Little Current that she hoped would help act as a catalyst for building an assisted living complex near Manitoulin Centennial Manor, which sits atop a bluff overlooking that property.

The recent (and historical) philanthropic donations coming from the Fielding/Wallace families has an ulterior (but not so hidden) motive. Mr. Wallace noted that the family hopes these donations will not only act as a catalyst to improve public amenities directly, but also entice other major players in the Northern Ontario economy to put their financial shoulders to the wheel, leading by example.

“They say you spend half your life making money and the other half figuring out how to spend it,” said Mr. Wallace. Certainly in the case of the donations to Sudbury and the Northeast Town, it has been money well spent.

Staying up to date on developments at Kivi Park is made easty through a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/kivipark) and on Instagram (kivipark) or through the park’s webpage at  www.kivipark.com.