This was the question that Serge Lavoie and his team were asking with the St. Thomas Elevated Park. The community development organization had been the driving force for the preservation of the Canada Southern (CASO) Station, and the rail-themed murals in downtown St. Thomas. Their latest vision was especially bold: to convert an iconic railway bridge, an engineering marvel when it was built in 1929, into Canada’s first elevated park—a part in the sky, 30 feet wide and 1,000 feet long, some 90 feet above the Kettle Creek Valley. The project would create an exciting new destination like the High Line in Manhattan and the Boulevard Plantée in Paris, and help preserve a part of this country’s important railway heritage.
The website was built as a platform from which to rally and inform the community—in this case, a combination of three communities: train aficionados, history buffs and boosters of St. Thomas—about the project and the process. As well, the site is a marketing tool for STEP, publicizing the project and building excitement for those people who aren’t members of STEP’s pre-existing communities, including organizations and people interested in tourist destinations in southwestern Ontario, and those who support active transportation (walking, jogging, cycling).
The site is also a place to promote the design competition for the park. The competition will be an international one, and we wanted to make sure that we created a well-designed website to help pique the interest of these design firms.