The N.S. amusement park that wasn't a fun idea for the competition

The provincial government figured Nova Scotia needed an amusement park in 1987. But not everyone was amused with the plan.

Upper Clements Park was just at the idea stage, but already had its detractors

The Nova Scotia plan to open an amusement park is met by dismay from people already doing it. 1:56

A new amusement park for Nova Scotia was a fun idea — except for the people who would be forced to compete with it.

In 1987, the options for fun in the province included parks with water slides and go-kart rides, and not much else.

"The government feels that sort of entertainment leaves the tourist wanting more," said CBC reporter Glenn Deir on Dec. 9, 1987.

"So it plans to pump $13 million into a new theme park in the Annapolis Valley town of Upper Clements."  

No fun for the competition

"We're only a little operation," said Jim Corbett, who owned Atlantic Playland and was worried he'd be unable to compete with a new amusement park. (1st Edition/CBC Archives)

"They'll have roller coasters, which I dreamed about, and flume rides, and multi-dollar rides," said Jim Corbett, owner of the modest-by-comparison Atlantic Playland.

"People will go to it ... and they'll spend their money there and won't come here."

But because his operation was near Halifax, Corbett figured it would survive.

John Cooney was more pessimistic.

"A new theme park will definitely put us out of business," said the part owner of Funland Village in Middleton, N.S., near the site of the government's proposed park.

"It's not really fair because they've given no support to the theme parks currently in existence in Nova Scotia."

Greg Kerr was the province's recreation minister and the MLA whose riding would be home to the new park.

"They key thing is, it's going to provide lasting jobs and economic spinoff," he said. 

Upper Clements Park was opened at a cost of $18 million in June 1989 by Premier John Buchanan, according to reporting by the CBC. Within 18 months it was reported to have lost $2 million.

The park remained open, and in 2007 the province sold it for $1 to the non-profit organization that had taken on the task of running it.

John Buchanan, premier of Nova Scotia, waves from a train ride on opening day for Upper Clements Park on June 26, 1989. (1st Edition/CBC Archives)