The Roseneath Carousel, Roseneath Ontario

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The Roseneath Carousel, Roseneath Ontario
Address: 9109 45, Roseneath, ON K0K 2X0

A small fairground in a tiny Ontario village is probably the least likely place to find one of Ontario’s most historic amusement rides, and that is the hundred-year-old carousel in the village of Roseneath located just east of Rice Lake.

Hidden with a large circular, orange-colored shed, the carousel was built in Abilene, Kansas, in 1906- a time before TV’s and computer games, when amusement parks and fairgrounds were common sources of recreation.

By 1932, the carousel with its forty basswood horses and two wooden boats had made their way to Mohawk Park beside a tram line in Brantford, Ontario , where it languished. In that year the rail line closed and the ride was placed in storage.  The head of the Roseneath Agricultural Society heard about the hidden treasure for $675 purchased it and moved it to the Roseneath fairgrounds. To protect the find from the elements, the society erected a sixteen-sided wooden shed. By 1986, with the carousel in dire need of refurbishing, a fundraising campaign was launched. Horses had to be painstakingly repainted in the same colors as the originals, while some parts were re-carved. Much of this exciting labour was done by master carver Konstantin von Waldburg.

Unfortunately, the sixteen screen panels in the centre of the carousel had become so fragile they could not be restored. New panels commemorating local scenes now rest in their places, most of them work of local artist Ron Bolt.

Thanks to $400,000 in donations and much volunteer labour, the historic merry-go-round was back in business by 1995.

Although the “gold rings” have long since vanished , music still plays from a genuine 1934 Wurlitzer pipe organ with actual paper scrolls. The tunes today are likely to be “Rock around the clock” or “Locomotion.”

Ontario does possess another heritage carousel in Port Dalhousie.  Although the latter is considered a Coney Island-style ride, the one in Roseneath falls into the country fair category and is said to be the only such strcture in Canada.

Information Source: From Author Ron Brown and his book the “Top 150 most unusual things to see in Ontario”

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