Tony-Proudfoot Park, located at the corner of Gendron and Des Frênes avenues in Pointe-Claire, has yet to be officially inaugurated but it’s open for play and the facilities are already getting rave reviews.
“I live in Île-Bizard and I’m driving all the way here almost every morning,” said Shannon Lawler.
The park was designed to be inclusive and features adapted swings, ramps for wheelchairs and a tactile roller slide, compatible with hearing aids.
“It’s so different from like the other parks,” said Janice Bowen, who was there with her daughter. “It’s nice and soft when they fall.”
The playground also includes interactive music panels and others illustrating sign language, popular with parent’s and kids alike.
“There’s so much new little things to teach all the kids everything. It’s really nice,” Lawler said.
For Pointe-Claire resident Norm Horner, the best part about the park might just be its name.
When the city held a contest in 2018 to find a name, he’s the one who suggested Tony Proudfoot.
Proudfoot was born in Winnipeg but grew up in Pointe-Claire after his family moved there in the 1950s.
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Read more: Pointe-Claire resident hopes new park will honour local CFL great Tony Proudfoot
He attended John Rennie High School and eventually went on to play football in the CFL.
Proudfoot played nine seasons with the Montreal Alouettes and helped them win two Grey Cups in 1974 and ’77.
After retiring from football, Proudfoot went on to teach at Dawson College, lecture at Concordia and eventually became a broadcaster.
” I think it’s a tremendous tribute to Tony Proudfoot in his career as an athlete, a teacher and as a journalist,’ Horner said.
Read more: Pointe-Claire honours Tony Proudfoot with new park
Proudfoot was also known for his community involvement.
“He was very generous with his time for community organizations,” Horner said.
Proudfoot became a prominent advocate for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a motor neurone disorder, after he was diagnosed with the illness in 2007.
He died in 2010 at the age of 61.
Proudfoot’s family is planning a special visit to the park.
“I have five grandchildren so we’re really excited to introduce them to their grandfather’s park,” said Vicki Proudfoot, Tony’s widow.
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Proudfoot also believes her late husband would approve of the new playground.
“I think it’s so fitting because Tony was such an athlete and played all kinds of sports. He grew up in Pointe-Claire and has probably played in every park,” she said.
“It’s such an honour for him. He would love it. I know that.”
Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the city of Pointe-Claire will officially inaugurate the park at a private ceremony with the Proudfoot family in the coming weeks. Officials say the event will be broadcast live on the city’s Facebook page.
— With files from Global’s Phil Carpenter and Felicia Parrillo
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.