The Toronto Island wooden carousel has been a childhood favourite among GTA residents for over a century. The carousel, which currently resides on Centre Island, was built in 1907 by the Dentzel Company. It was originally made for Bushkill Park in Pennsylvania, before it was purchased for $20,000 and moved in 1966 to Toronto’s Centreville Amusement Park.
The carousel is hand-carved and stands as one of 125 large park carousels still running in North America. Its legacy is deeply embedded in Toronto’s heritage, with many of our parents and grandparents having spent time at the handcrafted ride.
Beasley Enterprises, the company that owns Centreville, wasn’t quick to sell the ride. According to the company’s president Bill Beasley, the company has been approached twice by the New York auction house that initiated the sale. The flood that occurred this summer on the islands forced Centreville to close for the summer, which cost the company nearly $6 million. Given the circumstances and loss, Beasley decided to accept the auction house’s proposal to cover some costs.
Island flooding forced Centreville to close for most of the summer. Photo courtesy Centreville Theme Park.
“We’re closed, and we have no revenue, and we have expenses,” Beasley told the Star. “Therefore we needed to sell some assets.”
“It will be a loss,” he added. “But it’s going to go to a home that will lovingly restore it in a central part of a city.”
The carousel will reside on Centre Island until November. It is scheduled to open in Carmel, Indiana in spring of either 2018 or 2019.
Feature photo courtesy Centreville Theme Park.