Christopher “Kip” Park was born 31 July 1939, and died at the age of 59 years on 20 June 1999. Born to Eleanor and Halsey Park, he had a brother, Michael, and lived in Winnipeg for much of his life. In 1972, he married Sylvia Mouflier. Together, Park and his wife shared common interests in the environment and worked side-by-side as communication specialists. His interests in film production and art culminated in receiving an international award for first place in the American Association for Conservation Information (1971), an award of merit from the Art Directors Club of Toronto (1973-74) and completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (1985).
He graduated from the University of Manitoba, first in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts (honours) with majors in Urban Sociology and Urban Planning, then in 1985 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (ceramics). In addition to obtaining two Bachelor degrees, Park also received a certificate in Television Studio Production from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute Extension Department in 1968.
While attending the University of Manitoba in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Park was a member of the Glee Club and served on the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU). He received three awards in recognition of service as a Glee Club member in 1958 and 1960, and as Glee Club chairman in 1959. For his meritorious service to The Manitoban , Park was inducted into the “Ancient and Honourable Order of The Rubber Type with Coffee Bean Cluster” for both 1958-59 and 1959-60. In addition, he also served as the Public Relations Chairman for the university’s students’ union in 1962.
During his academic years, Park worked for both The Winnipeg Tribune and the university’s campus newspaper, The Manitoban. In 1959, Park began as a news reporter for The Manitoban. In the following year he was promoted to Executive Editor. He maintained this position for the 1960-61 school year, and afterwards, he wrote sporadic articles for the paper. At The Winnipeg Tribune, Park worked as the University of Manitoba campus correspondent, writing numerous articles between 1960 to approximately 1978.
In 1965, Park left on his second overseas trip. While in Europe, he traveled to several countries including Scotland (1966), England, and Greece (1967) as well as visiting Japan in 1968. In addition to his travels, Park worked in London, England and Kerkyra-Corfu Islands, Greece. During his time abroad, he documented various cultural and historical landmarks in his slide collection. After living in Europe for two years, he returned home to Winnipeg in 1967.
At this time, Park began his career in radio and television obtaining employment as a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where he remained until 1969. He then accepted a position with Manitoba Department of Mines, Resources and Environmental Management as head and senior conservation education officer of the Public Education sector. In 1973, Park moved to Ottawa, Canada to become the manager of media relations for the Metric Commission of Canada. He continued to gain experience in the radio and television industry, coordinating national media campaigns to introduce Canadians to the new metric system. As well, he carried on researching, writing and editing numerous publications and reports for the Metric Commission of Canada. Park remained in Ottawa until 1976, when he returned to Winnipeg as a freelance journalist.
Aside from working as a journalist, Park was also a full-time writer and photographer. In addition to writing numerous articles, he wrote two unpublished manuscripts, one about the history of Winnipeg, and the other, an untitled novel. His photograph collections span the artistic to the professional fields, some of which have graced the covers of Canadian and American magazines, and many have been used to illustrate his articles. One of his more notable collections includes the photographs of the historical architectural buildings in Winnipeg. Although a number of photographs have been deposited at the Archives & Special Collections at the University of Manitoba Libraries, a series is also housed at the Western Canadian Pictorial Index in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
From 1976 until shortly before his death in 1999, Park wrote copious articles on housing, construction and energy technologies as well as Winnipeg heritage. His articles have appeared in a variety of national and international magazines such as Transportation Business, Heavy Construction News, Cottage Life, Harrowsmith and Fine Homebuilding. Additionally, some of his articles have been carried in national publications, such as his article “Sick-building Syndrome” which appeared in The Financial Post (30 November 1987). His main interest, however, was researching and writing publications and feature articles highlighting the historical and architectural significance of Winnipeg (and Manitoba) heritage buildings and districts.
During this time period, he became a regular contributor to The Winnipeg Real Estate News (1982-1999) and The Manitoba Co-Operator . In addition, he worked from approximately 1982 to 1988 as the editor for The Home Report, a monthly publication of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association. In researching and writing many of his articles, Park collected various newspaper and magazine clippings, and company/product brochures as source material which otherwise was unavailable. This resulted in a series of research files focusing on topics such as Winnipeg and Manitoba businesses, local economy, industry and technology, environmental issues as well as information on Manitoba heritage. As a result of his extensive research, his articles have covered many diverse topics for the home renovator and the local historian.
In 1984, he researched and wrote The Historic Winnipeg Restoration Area – An Illustrated Guide to Winnipeg’s Historic Warehouse District for Heritage Winnipeg. In the same year, he also wrote an 80th anniversary history for The Winnipeg Construction Association. Park also researched and wrote the 50th anniversary history of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association in 1988. In 1994, he prepared a history of the St. Vital area, including a walking tour guide for the St. Vital Historical Society. He continued to work with Heritage Winnipeg to review and update the heritage resources of the city. This lead to other projects, and in 1988, together with Heritage Winnipeg and the South Osborne Historical Society, he introduced younger generations to a realm of Winnipeg’s past and heritage.
In 1976, Park, along with his wife Sylvia Mouflier, formed Write Works Inc., a home business. As communication specialists, they specialized in translating complex technical terms and concepts into readable and readily understood language for articles, newspapers, brochures, pamphlets and booklets. Together, they wrote, illustrated and produced product literature for Manitoba companies, as well as advising corporations and other clients on communications strategies. With hands-on experience in residential construction, including an understanding of the technical aspects and requirements of modern-day housing, they designed and produced brochures, news releases and promotional write-ups for ditech, Welclad and Kraft Construction.
Park’s “hands-on” experience in housing construction was gained when he rebuilt his cabin at Shoal Lake. His enthusiasm for the environmental conservation and energy efficient housing resulted in his ability to design his cabin using solar energy and environmentally consciousness technology. As a result, articles on the cabin have appeared in several magazines including Cottage Life.
During his professional career, Park was a member of the Winnipeg Free Press Club and participated in the Beer & Skits nights. He was invited to several media and press releases, such as the opening of the Imax Theatre and the construction of the new building at 400 St. Mary’s Avenue. The fonds, thus, contains pamphlets and other textual material acquired from media events.
Aside from Park’s journalists career, he enjoyed various aspects of the Arts. During his visit to Greece, he was introduced to the field of pottery making, and in due course, formalized his training in the Fine Arts programme at the University of Manitoba in the 1980s. Many pieces of Park’s pottery currently grace the homes of friends and family. Park was also strongly interested in drawing and photography. Part of the Kip Park fonds contains black and white photographs from his photography course and of his cabin at Shoal Lake. Like his pottery, his line drawings have also been presented to a number of his friends and family. As well, the fonds contains a sample of his line drawings along with other artwork. In addition, Park and his wife, Sylvia, enjoyed the ballet for several years, and were season ticket holders for opening night performances.
Kip Park described himself as a creative and imaginative writer, photographer and editor with nearly forty years experience in print, electronic and visual media. His achievements in film and print attest to his interest in heritage and his concern for environmental issues. His collection of papers will benefit future research in Winnipeg’s architectural heritage.