Improvements coming to Spencer Smith Park promenade

Construction from April to December

Spencer Smith - long view | Ward 2 | BurlingtonResidents will soon notice work taking place in Spencer Smith Park along sections of the promenade. The work is funded in part by Canada 150 Funding and must be complete by March 31, 2018. Details are below.


The Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan, which includes both Spencer Smith and Beachway Parks, was approved at Regional Council on May 20, 2015. Halton Region received a Canada 150 grant that will help the Region fund the implementation of phases 1 and 2, for improvements in Spencer Smith Park. The City of Burlington is overseeing the design and construction of the project in conjunction with Halton Region. The Canada 150 Funding agreement has a deadline of March 31, 2018 for all work to be finished.

Phase 1, which will be complete in spring 2017, includes:

  • an upgraded gazebo at a new location
  • hard surfaced walkway, pedestrian lighting and benches
  • tree and perennial planting
  • grading and drainage improvements

Phase 2, scheduled to be completed in 2017, includes:

  • asphalt surfacing on promenade
  • new shade structure at cobble beach
  • concrete surfacing at seating nodes
  • concrete surfacing of pathway at west end
  • refurbishment of parapet wall
  • railings along west end of parapet wall
  • bollards and benches

The promenade surface replacement with new asphalt will upgrade the surface to an accessible pathway that is smooth, durable and suitable for walking, cycling and use by mobility devices, such as wheelchairs. A dashed centre line will be painted down the centre, which is the current industry standard for a multi-use path; to provide separation based on direction of travel. This will be familiar to users, as it is the same principle as driving on the road, where you `keep to the right’ and allow faster traffic to pass on the left.


The existing surface along most of the promenade is asphalt that has been stamped and painted, to create a coloured brick pattern. The promenade surface has reached the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced. To maintain public safety, there will be no public access to construction areas. Park users will be asked to walk around the area via grassy areas or other pathways through the park or along Lakeshore Road.

Sections of the promenade in Spencer Smith Park will be closed for construction from April to December 2017. This work will be completed in phases to accommodate annual major festivals and events, such as the Sound of Music Festival and Ribfest, that use the park to host their events.


Written by Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.


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  1. I thought there was a plan in place for a bike lane along the grassy section, so that cycles would be separated from pedestrians?
    I would leave the lines off and let people simply walk freely without designated lanes… i.e. share the path so motorists have to slow down…electric bikes, scooters, etc.
    I watched the current surface laid and also feel it would look better stamped, than plain asphalt.
    I would love to see some sun shelter areas in the park, other than the gazebo. I suppose that would likely impact viewing at festivals… I’m not sure.
    I would love to see a gradual decent to the park at the current steps down from the foot of Locust St. When visitors park at the multilevel, it’s a fair hike to the hotel or the west slope if you are in a wheelchair or disabled.
    I can’t imagine why this is all being done in our 150th year celebrations.
    Spencer Smith Park is a jewel.

    • Bike lane is a good idea, but I still feel they should dismount and walk the promenade and pier it’s just safer for everyone, also the lines and markings are rather Orwellian.

  2. If you must have a smooth surface on the Spencer Smith promenade, try innovation. How about conductive concrete? It’s a new type of concrete developed to conduct just enough a current to heat the material. This removes snow & ice without salt, or ploughs, providing a safe surface. Why contaminate the environment & waste taxpayer money? Innovation up front can save taxpayer money in operational & maintenance budgets.

  3. I would love to see the small section of beach below the beach walkway (west end of Spencer Smith Park) designated as a leash free dig beach. It is currently not cleaned nor maintained by city staff as is the main beach. It is not accessible by wheel chair, scooter or any other mobility aid ( including strollers). It is currently used only by teens having illegal bon fires and impromptu drinking parties and the occasional vagrant. Toronto has several dog beaches. Could we have just one?

  4. Should have renamed the promenade QEW-2 as that is what it now looks like with those ghastly road markings, and I am sure the new surface will have even more lanes, arrows, signs and anything else that can be possibly crammed onto it. Just look at the small crescent shaped beach, a veritable sign fest.
    I also agree that cyclists should dismount, they go to fast and they weave in and out of anyone in their way disregarding all markings by the way. I walk on the grass its safer.

    • I agree, remove the markings. Also remove the bike accessibility as well as skate boards. I walk my dog down at Spencer Smith park at least once a week. I stay on or near the grass. It’s easier to remove his waste from grass than pavement. I am also fearful of the folks weaving in and out of the walking crowd. I have seen several near misses with elderly and children as the riders do not use a bell or horn as required by law.

  5. Don’t like the idea of plain asphalt (not pretty). People like to take a nice stroll along the Promenade and enjoy the lovely park.
    Some bikes already go far too fast along that short stretch.

  6. Cannot argue that smooth asphalt would be better for wheelchairs , but does it have to be black

    Also I believe that cyclist should be made to walk which would be safer and make it easier to check for speeders and if they have bells.

    • Sorry to keep banging on about cyclists but on a walk along the promenade this Easter I witnessed a race ready bike with lycra clad adult, brake hard as a toddler decided not to follow the arrow markings on the pavement but instead do a ninety degree across both lanes.
      The Lycra clad warrior looked at me and shook his head in dismay looking for my support….I gave him something entirely different.

  7. Ironic that Canada 150 money will be the cause of disruption of most of the events during the summer that would have been celebrating Canada 150.

  8. I agree to the existing promenade surface is fine, why waste money on a lower strength surface. Affordable housing wait list is approximately 8 years. Spending money on aesthetic stuff is morally wrong.

  9. I hope you keep the coloured and stamped pattern on the new asphalt. Otherwise, it will really take away from the beauty of Spencer Smith Promenade.

  10. I’m not pleased about the use of asphalt on the promenade. I hope I’m wrong about where it’s going to be used, but if it includes ripping up the current walkway it will make the promenade worse. Pavement will crack, fade and warp extremely quick in our weather, where as the current materials have held for a very long time without too much deterioration.

    • “The existing surface along most of the promenade is asphalt that has been stamped and painted, to create a coloured brick pattern”

      It sounds like the walkway is already asphalt, so I’m not sure durability is an issue, but I do hope that they’re going to pattern and colour it again and not replace what’s there with plain blacktop.

    • I agree Chris. This park is the jewel of our downtown. I’d prefer we invest in high quality materials. Asphalt doesn’t cut it.

    • “The existing surface along most of the promenade is asphalt that has been stamped and painted, to create a coloured brick pattern.” It looks like it was already asphalt, the only difference is that the new surface will be smooth.

    • Some have pointed out that the current path is already stamped asphalt, and if that’s the case, I hope that it remains the same, the red walkway is beautiful and better than black pavement.

      I know it’s more comfortable for bikes on flat pavement, but it’s a short stretch, and you could even have a small strip for bikes that is paved

What's your take?