The Goulds marks a period in Newfoundland and Labrador history when a substantial permanent population became established in the province. Early roads and infrastructure at the start of the 19th Century allowed for settlement and cultivation.
A road connecting to Bay Bulls extended through the area of Golds Pond (Third Pond) and Golds River (Raymond's Brook), known for their abundance of wild plants and yellow flowers (marsh marigolds).
The fertile land proved to be a great advantage for new settlers who were granted Crown lands in the 1860's and whose thriving farms supplied the St. John's market. Many of the early Irish, English, and Scottish settlers names persist today in the roads and lanes, including Ruby, Heffernan, Doyle, Dooling, Williams, Cox, Walsh, Ryan, and Chafe.
Farming life in the Goulds, 1963
The park condition pre-construction
Footbridge and boardwalk construction, May 2008
Grand Concourse crews surfacing walkways in August 2011
Entrance construction, April 2014
In 2000, the Bidgood property of 38 acres of pristine landscape was donated by Roger and Jennie Bidgood to the City of St. John's for the creation of a municipal park.
After the master plan was completed in 2003, a planning and development committee was formed. Dedicated participants on this committee have been Elaine Bidgood representing the Bidgood Family, MHA Keith Hutchings, Councillor Wally Collins from the City of St. John's, MHA John Dinn, Gordon Warford representing the Gould's Lions Club, plus Addison Bown and his team from the Grand Concourse Authority.
In 2012, a further donation of $300,000 was donated by the Bidgood Family. This donation sparked the City of St. John's, governmental and corporate organizations, as well as private donors to contribute financially to the completion of the park. The park held its official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony October 4th, 2014.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Bidgood Park was officially opened with a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony on Saturday October 4, 2014. Over 100 people turned out on the bright, sunny afternoon to participate in the festivities. The ceremony was opened by Alexander Templeman, grandson of Roger and Jennie Bidgood. Speeches were given by City of St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe and councillor Wally Collins, MHA Keith Hutchings, MHA John Dinn, Ron Whitten of the Goulds Lions Club, local artist Gerald Squires, local farmer Leonard Ruby, naturalist/birder Lisa de Leon, and daughters Helen, Peggy, and Elaine Bidgood.
Siblings John and Peggy Bidgood unveiled the dedication plaque, which was covered with a bolt of Newfoundland tartan help in place by Roger Bidgood's 12-foot fishing rod. Several couples waltzed as singer Sheila Williams performed 'Let the Rest of the World Go By', a song that Roger and Jennie considered to be "their own".
Following the official ribbon-cutting, the group proceeded through the entranceway into the main sculpture area where "The Mower" sculpture was unveiled by artist Gerald Squires. Musician Con O'Brien performed 'When I Mowed Pat Murphy's Meadow' to the large crowd circled around the sculpture. Following the formal presentations, refreshments were provided by Tim Hortons and the City of St. John's, and walking guides showed groups through the park.
See the full video of the park opening here.