Two new warm-up shelters to open at Little Red River Park with Jenkins donation

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Malcolm Jenkins (left) poses for a photo with Tim Yeaman (right) at one of the new warmup shelters in Little Red River Park.

Little Red River Park will open two brand new warm up shelters next week thanks to a donation from a long-time Prince Albert business owner and philanthropist.

Malcolm Jenkins, who formally retired from Canadian Tire back in October, donated $100,000 from the Malcolm Jenkins Family Foundation to build two new warm-up shelters near the Rotary Adventure Park and the toboggan hill.

Jenkins says the shelters will help both the playground and hill receive more use from the community on days with colder temperatures.

“I live here, I’ve been here for 33 years, but if there’s cool stuff to do, we’re going to do it. Why should other places get ahead of us? We’re the city of parks. We’ve got more parks per person than any other city under over 10,000. It’s the largest urban park in Canada, so we should keep adding stuff to it.

The warm up shelters are approximately 16 feet by 24 feet in size and feature a wood-burning stove that heats the building.

“I thought this would be a really neat thing to do because it extends the life of the playground,” Jenkins says. “Kids want to play there, but they’ll get cold, so they can warm up. The same with the Toboggan Hill. Whenever there’s snow, they can do the same thing, come in here and warm up, spend 10 hours here or six hours here instead of an hour and get cold and complain.”

Tim Yeaman, the parks and open spaces manager for the City of Prince Albert says the city is still determining the permanent operating schedule for the new shelters.

“You can probably fit up to 25 people in here comfortably,” he says. “They are open year round, we’re going to test the waters. Currently right now we’ve kind of limited statutory holidays, so we wouldn’t be open then, but we’re certainly open to watching the traffic flow out here and making it work for the public because this is a great place for them to be.”

The city of Prince Albert had built an additional warm-up shelter located near the Cosmopolitan Lodge without any contribution from Jenkins. Yeaman says it was a pleasant surprise for the city when they heard that Jenkins wanted to contribute to the shelters.

“This is just another great addition to allow kids who are out here, especially when it’s cooler during the tobogganing season, to be able to come in and warm up. Maybe they want to do some hot dog roast or whatever as well, but just a super great addition to the park. Honestly, we couldn’t have done it. This was a surprise contribution by Malcolm to build two additional warm-up shelters, and we’re just proud to have them.”

Both new shelters will feature names with special meaning to Jenkins. The shelter located at the toboggan hill is named Kaiya after Jenkins’ great-granddaughter who was born back in October. The shelter located near the Rotary Adventure Park is named Violet, after the daughter of a close personal friend of Jenkins who passed away before the age of two.

Jenkins says this is the first major donation for Jenkins since his official retirement. He says he still plans on contributing to other projects in the future.

“It’s a total pleasure and going forward, there’s a number of other projects we have and we’ve talked with the city about doing other things so look out for more. Watch this space.”