Park's fundraising campaign has star support

Celebrity couple John Mellencamp and Meg Ryan are the faces of a fundraiser for Bannerman Park in St. John's.
Actor Mary Walsh on Meg Ryan and John Mellencamp's purchase of the first memory stone for Bannerman Park's renewal 6:02

Celebrity couple John Mellencamp and Meg Ryan are the faces of a fundraiser for Bannerman Park in St. John's.

They had their names carved in a special stone when they visited the city last year — and they were the first to have it placed in the park's 'Garden of Memories.'

Actor Mary Walsh is campaign chair, and said it's a story of the two sweethearts and their connection to Bannerman Park.

In July 2012, the couple stayed at the Ryan Mansion, a boutique hotel across the street from the park.

When the couple heard about plans for the fundraiser, they were the first to sign up. Now it's a selling point.

"The stone that they put in Bannerman Park ... that was the first time they publicly declared their love," said Walsh.

"So that's why it's there, and its their first public acknowledgement of their relationship."

The Mellencamp-Ryan stone may have been the first to be installed — but many others have since supported the campaign. 

The fundraising project is part of a multi-million dollar revitalization of Bannerman Park, and has yet to reach its $3 million goal.

"So, the more people can be involved, the more people can recognize who is involved ... I mean, the better all told I would say for the park," said Walsh.

The city of St. John's is matching every dollar contributed to the campaign.

Bannerman Park was named after Governor Alexander Bannerman, who donated the land in 1864.

It was the first land in Newfoundland and Labrador designated for a public park, making Bannerman Park the oldest park in the province.