The looming closure of Crystal Palace, in Dieppe, is upsetting many regular visitors to the amusement park — particularly the younger ones.
Cadillac Fairview Corp. announced on Thursday the amusement park, which opened in February 1990, would be closed down on Sept. 1 to make room for a new Bass Pro Shops store that will open in 2015.
Jolie Thellab was one of the many young people who were spending their afternoon at Crystal Palace, as news began to spread about the park's fate.
She said the retail store will not replace the fun she had at the amusement park.
“I was pretty mad at the person who offered that Bass Shop, because I've seen Bass Shops — they're pretty small usually and this is a pretty big place, the size of a baseball stadium,” she said.
The Thallab family visits Crystal Palace every year. Denis Thallab, Jolie’s father, is from Moncton, but now he and his family live in Florida, a short drive from Disney World.
But he said Crystal Palace was a great place to take his family during their annual trips to Moncton.
'It sucks to me. I don't like the idea of it closing. It's good for the kids when it's raining.' - Doug Trenholm
“This was unique, I thought, to the area,” he said.
Thallab’s concerns were not unique.
Doug Trenholm is originally from Amherst, N.S., but now lives in Vancouver.
Trenholm said he usually visits Crystal Palace two or three times when he returns for family vacations.
“It sucks to me. I don't like the idea of it closing. It's good for the kids when it's raining,” he said.
“It's a lot of fun. It's not expensive.”
Veronica St. Onge also said she was sad to hear the local amusement park would be closing in a few weeks.
“I feel really bad, good attraction for the area, [it] brings in a lot of tourists and it’s good for local people as well,” she said.
The amusement park will be closing in a month, while the attached Ramada Plaza Crystal Palace Hotel and Convention Centre and the McGinnis Landing restaurant will close on Oct. 31.
The closure of the amusement park, hotel and restaurant will make way for an 110,000 square-foot Bass Pro Shops. The store sells fishing, camping, hunting and other outdoor products
It was up to Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre to put a positive spin on the amusement park’s closing.
Lapierre said he expects year-round tourism to actually receive a jolt because of the people who will visit the southeastern city to shop at the Bass Pro Shops.
“Bad news to lose the Crystal Palace, for a number of reasons and a segment of our population, but very good news for everybody and anyone that's interested in outdoor sports and outdoor activities,” Lapierre said.