Roos Island in Kitchener's Victoria Park reopens, music series launches Sunday

Restoration work on the bandshell on Roos Island in Kitchener's Victoria Park included new shingles, painting as well as structural, electrical and landscape upgrades. It's set to be used Sunday for the start of a summer music series being hosted by the city. (Kate Bueckert/CBC - image credit)
Restoration work on the bandshell on Roos Island in Kitchener's Victoria Park included new shingles, painting as well as structural, electrical and landscape upgrades. It's set to be used Sunday for the start of a summer music series being hosted by the city. (Kate Bueckert/CBC - image credit)

Roos Island in Kitchener's Victoria Park has reopened after months of being fenced off to the public and the city will kick off a summer music series Sunday afternoon to celebrate changes to the park.

The island has been closed to people since April 2023. At the time, there was an encampment on the island of people experiencing homelessness.

As well, the city said restoration work needed to be done on Heritage Bridge, one of the bridges that connects the island to the rest of the park.

The bandshell in the park has also undergone a transformation, with new shingles on the roof, plus electrical and landscape upgrades. A $100,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Kitchener paid for this work to be completed.

The island has also seen crews revamp the gardens, trails and grass.

A city worker waters new sod that was laid in what were once flowerbeds along the water in Kitchener's Victoria Park. The park has been undergoing improvements over the past few months. Roos Island, which has been closed to people for more than a year, has now reopened.
A city worker waters new sod that was laid in what were once flowerbeds along the water in Kitchener's Victoria Park. The park has been undergoing improvements over the past few months. Roos Island, which has been closed to people for more than a year, has now reopened.

A city worker waters new sod that was laid in what were once flowerbeds along the water in Kitchener's Victoria Park. The park has been undergoing improvements over the past few months. Roos Island, which has been closed to people for more than a year, has now reopened. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Summer music series

The summer music series starts Sunday with a 2 p.m. concert at the bandshell featuring the Ambrosia Eclectic Quartet. The concert is free and family friendly.

Bob Egan is the city's film and music officer and told CBC News they're excited to have both established and emerging artists perform in the bandshell over the course of the summer.

He says there are two goals to the series.

"One is to entertain people in one of the most popular venues in the city, Victoria Park, right throughout the summer," he said.

"The other is to showcase local talent. We're really taking a closer look at the wonderful amount of talent, the breadth and depth that we have here and we're looking at different ways to bring them to the public's attention."

Concerts aren't just on weekends. The next concert will be Monday at 7 p.m. with the Kitchener Musical Society Band, followed by a concert Thursday at 7 p.m. with Waterloo singer-songwriter Jessie Vickery.

"I would say the best way to enjoy it is to bring a blanket or a lawn chair and maybe a late dinner or an afternoon snack on the Sundays and just relax by the water and the newly renovated bandshell courtesy of the Rotary and let yourself be carried away by music," Egan said.

Coun. Debbie Chapman said in a media release that the concert series will "be a wonderful asset to the park and adds to the vibrant arts culture that already exists downtown."