Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Port of Spain - Green Spaces - Squares & Parks - Trinidad & Tobago

This is one of the first pieces which I wrote in Wikipedia, following my entry on Laventille, Trinidad and Tobago. The information was inspired by my wanting to remember the pieces of Port of Spain which I knew and which helped to  shape my character during my school years:

Green Spaces - Squares & Places

There are a number of well placed green spaces which have been preserved in Port of Spain. Many of them are referred to as squares or parks. Although some of the Squares have retained some of their "original framework" which consists of lengths of metal placed in concrete, which surround the exterior of the space, there are at least four gates positioned in each Square. These gates are positioned on the corners so as to allow the main paths to form an X. Some of the Squares have not retained nor do they give the appearance of having the lengths of metal placed on its exterior points as lines of demarcation. By virtue of the gates to the Squares not being closed at any time and the lack of metal enclosures on others, there is the impression that these Squares and places are also open to the public at all hours. In some of the Squares, there are street lights to illuminate the interior of the square at nighttime.
Some of the more famous squares are as follows:
Lord Harris Square which is located between Pembroke, New and Abercromby Sts. was "established in the early 1900s, (and) is named as a tribute to Lord Harris, governor of Trinidad between 1846 and 1854".[49]
Woodford Square is located between Frederick, Abercromby and Hart Sts. It s bounded by the Old National Library, The Red House and the Trinity Cathedral. Woodford Square is sometimes referred to as "University of Woodford Sq because of its occasional use by soapbox speakers and gospel preachers, this is the symbolic center of downtown. Dr Eric Williams, Trinidad and Tobago’s first prime minister, lectured to the masses here about the importance of sovereignty, which later led to the country’s independence from Britain". [50]
"Woodford Square was formerly known as Brunswick Square.".[51] However prior to 1808, "Woodford Square was first known as the Place of Souls by the native Indians who fought a bloody battle on this open space. ..... With the coming of the French settlers to the island, they called the Place of souls – Place Des Ames. Place Des Ames means Place of souls. Place Des Ames later became known as Brunswick Square. Brunswick Square was used as a parade ground for soldiers. Many of these soldiers were Germans. Brunswick is a German name, and so it is believed that this open space was named after the German soldiers who used it." [52]
Marine Square, while not a designated green space serves as a meeting place for many visitors coming into Port of Spain. "Plaza De La Marina was the name given to the area extending from the Wharf in the west to the Roman Catholic Cathedral to the east." [53] "When the British came in 1797 the name was changed to Marine Square.... In the 1880s a fountain was erected in the middle of the square."[53] "1962: Marine Square becomes Independence Square." [54] In the 1980s "this area was the site of the statue of Captain Arthur Andrew Cipriani (1875-1945), one of Trinidad and Tobago's celebrated political leaders and sportsmen......The area was then renamed the Brian Lara Promenade in honor of Trinidad and Tobago's most celebrated cricketer and record breaking batsman, Brian Charles Lara (1974-).The Promenade was completed in three phases and finally opened in August 1995".[53]
A little more of the history on Marine Square is revealed in the following extract "the square was the early home of the Syrian/ Lebanese communities when they started to arrive in Trinidad during the early 20th century. They were fleeing from the harsh religious and political persecution of the Turks who had conquered their lands. The original number of these immigrants was small but it grew larger when a confrontation erupted between a Muslim religious sect and the Christian Maronites.
Annette Rahael, a third generation Syrian living in Trinidad explained, "when the early settlers arrived and saw the cathedral on Marine Square they immediately claimed it as the House of God and adopted Catholicism as their religious affiliation, since there were no churches in Trinidad celebrating the liturgy of the Antiochan Orthodox religion which they had practised in their country".[55]
Tamarind Square - This square is located between Nelson and George Sts.[56] It is located in close proximity to one of the local banks which was established in Trinidad and Tobago, "Workers Bank". This bank merged with the Trinidad Cooperative Bank and the National Commercial Bank to form First Citizens' Bank.[57]
Victoria Square is located on Duke St. West, Park St, and has been categorised as a Park located in Woodbrook [58] according to WOW City. However, because of its location on Duke St. West which starts on Wrightson Road and ends on Charlotte St, it is included here.
Kew Place is one of the smallest "squares" in Port of Spain. "Kew Place has a length of 0.12 kilometres" [59] and is large enough to hold a statue of Gandhi. It is located just opposite the main entrance to Lapeyrouse Cemetery on Philip Street and is within walking distance of Victoria Square.[60]
Here is the link to the article in Wikipedia on Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_of_Spain

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