The City's Millennium Project focused on the complete redevelopment of the downtown waterfront, and while much of the work was completed in 2000, final touches, such as a small waterfall, a shaded pavilion and a paved courtyard that is wheelchair accessible were added in 2002. In 2003 the Boardwalk was extended by 350 feet to connect with the Living Legacy Landmark kiosk that explains the cultural and heritage significance of the Ottawa River as the original "Trans-Canada Highway".
What was once a ho-hum under-utilized municipal park has become an incredible "people place" with a Boardwalk, a 600 seat Amphitheatre, a full-sized bandstand, a courtyard, several viewing gazebos, several picnic tables and benches, a woodland chapel and a children's playground.
An initial Canada Millennium Partnership Program grant of $158,000 grew into a project worth well over $1,500,000 through corporate sponsorships, donations in kind, services in kind and private contributions. Volunteers built the entire facility and every service club in the City has contributed either time, money, or most often, both. The Pembroke Horticultural Society designs, plants and maintains all of the gardens. Several school groups have been involved in tree plantings and spring clean-ups, and countless residents come down on a regular basis just to help out.
Early in 2007, the waterfront again became the focus of public attention when a private citizen, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated $100,000 to further enhance Pembroke's waterfront! The gift is due in part to the donor's pleasure at seeing the waterfront being enjoyed by people from all walks of life. In particular, its accessibility to those with physical and other challenges was noted.
Noted volunteer and community leader Mr. Fred Blackstein was chosen by the donor to manage the endowment, and he immediately brought members of the community together, including Communities in Bloom, Algonquin College, the Kiwanis Club, the Pembroke Horticultural Society and the Pembroke Field Naturalists to discuss projects to add polish and sparkle to an already beautiful jewel.
Living Legacy Landmark
The Living Legacy Landmark project, in which Pembroke is a partner along with other municipalities along the river, provides information about our portion of the river, as well as what can be found north and south of us. The interpretive kiosk frames a lovely view of the river and is an integral part of the Waterfront Park.
The Cockburn Pointer Boat
Installed at the waterfront, the Cockburn Pointer Boat Monument pays tribute to a unique vessel that used to be made in Pembroke by the Cockburns. With a pointed bow and stern, it was designed so that raftsmen could work quickly and easily to separate logs out of the giant floating log booms on the Ottawa River and destined for the timber mills. This lasting legacy to a by-gone era was erected circa 1995, and was one of the first installations in the Waterfront Park.
The Portage Sundial
The Portage Sundial was installed in 2007 featuring a wrought iron sculpture of a canoeist making a portage over logs and granite. The logs are the hour indicators, and the tip of the canoe is the gnomon. We believe this is the most unique sundial in Canada and it was designed by local artist Barbara Blackstein with the assistance of her husband, Fred.
The Riverwalk Amphitheatre
Every night in July and August there is something happening at the Riverwalk Amphitheatre! A wide variety of local talent is showcased here under the Waterfront Live! program starting at 7pm and running until 9pm. Also, Tuesday nights in July and August are FREE movie nights outdoors at the Riverwalk Amphitheatre!
The Kiwanis Walkway
The Kiwanis Walkway is a scenic paved pathway along the Ottawa River. Take a stroll or cycle along the river's edge between the Waterfront and Riverside Parks. The lovely paved trail is 1.5 km and will bring you close to nature to view many species of plants, animals and birds that call the shoreline home.
The Timber Crib
The builders of the craft, Shaw Lumber, donated the 21,000 kg structure to the park. For 3 days in August 2009, a group of enterprising lumbermen retraced the route of the last commercial timber run from Deep River to Ottawa by sailing an authentic log crib built in the style of the pioneers, something that hasn't been seen on the Ottawa River in more than 100 years. Now the famous timber crib has a permanent home at the Waterfront Park.