Brewer Park is across the street from Carleton University here in Ottawa. It is on the banks of the Rideau River and, at one time, had a sandy beach on the pond where people would actually swim. When I was 5 or 6 I attended a camp in Brewer that was run by one of my parent’s friends, Mr. Joly.
I remember very little of that camp, but I remember the beach.
The beach itself was man-made, and surrounded Brewer Pond. The sand was trucked in and dumped every year, and was a pretty good example of what was a really bad idea. In the early seventies the pollution standards in Ontario changed, and the beach was closed and left to go fallow. Today it’s a collection of weeds and grass, with all of the sand collected and sent downstream by momma Gaia (or city workers).
The pavillion, which housed change rooms, a canteen, and equipment for city-run programs, remains. It’s the only reminder of what was once one of the cooler inner-city swimming holes Ottawa once had, and now is used as a spot for local artists to leave their mark, and for local football teams to store their stuff.
I sure don’t wanna see it back, but I remember it.