Residents of Amherstburg will no longer see what used to be called the Space Needle on Boblo Island. The amusement park’s relic of the past was quickly demolished Thursday.

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For decades, Amherstburg resident Ron Renaud was able to look out from his home on Dalhousie Street and see the tower on Boblo Island.

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But that will never happen again: On Thursday, the amusement structure once known as the Space Needle was quickly and unceremoniously brought down in a controlled demolition.

“I’m going to miss that now,” said Renaud, who is 71. “I live right across the water from where the tower used to be.”

“Now it’s gone. But that’s progress you know “

The city of Amherstburg acknowledged the scheduled demolition operation with posts on social media Thursday, noting that the destruction was accomplished without the use of explosives.

“If you heard a loud noise, there is no cause for alarm,” said the municipality.

An aerial view of the tower on Boblo Island, photographed in 2003.
An aerial view of the tower on Boblo Island, photographed in 2003. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

But the tower’s sudden disappearance still took many Amherstburg residents by surprise.

“A week ago I heard a rumor that the tower might be falling,” said Renaud. “I wish to continue with that. If I had known, I would have videotaped it from my back porch. “

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“I’m like a half historian, you know. Every time I took a photo of an unusual boat or barge, I always tried to put that tower in my shot. “

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Boblo Island is currently owned by developer Dominic Amicone, whose company Amico Affiliates took over the property in 2005.

When asked for comment on Thursday, Amico Affiliates project manager Derrick Amicone responded with a single sentence: “The Boblo Island tower has become a health and safety issue and as such had to be demolished. “

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A relic of Boblo Island’s past as an amusement park, the tower has been out of use and without maintenance since the amusement park’s official closure in 1993.

Years of neglect had left the tower rusted, and the winding wooden ramps that once housed rows of visitors were covered in overgrown trees and bushes.

Even the Boblo Island logo atop the tower faded beyond recognition.

Renaud, a longtime Amherstburg resident, has fond memories associated with the amusement park. “I was one of those kids who worked there. In fact, my wife and I worked together at Boblo in the summer. “

“Little did we know that we would end up living on the river and witnessing all the changes.”

The top of the tower on Boblo Island is shown in this 2013 file photo.
The top of the tower on Boblo Island is shown in this 2013 file photo. Photo by Nick Brancaccio /Windsor Star

However, according to Renaud, the Sky Tower, as it was originally called, was more of a part of Boblo Island’s “modern history”. The ride was erected in the 1980s when the park was owned by Triple A Michigan.

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Attendees would enter a mobile observation deck that would rise up the length of the tower and offer a glorious view of the island at the top.

“I think they brought it from California,” Renaud said.

Despite the tower’s recent condition, Renaud believes it still has potential as a community asset.

“You know, what I often thought would be cool would be to put a 360-degree camera on top. Do a live broadcast. You could collect the river, the canal, the lakes, all the houses in Amherstburg. See all the ice in the winter. “

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“It was an idea, but I guess it will never come to fruition.”

An aerial view of the tower on Boblo Island, photographed in 2003.
An aerial view of the tower on Boblo Island, photographed in 2003. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Although “No Trespassing” signs were posted around the tower, the property was irresistible to some would-be adventurers. Numerous images and videos can be found on social media taken by those who explored the site and marveled at its deterioration.

“Perhaps, structurally, it had to go down,” reflected Renaud. “That would be a valid reason.”

“But I’m telling you, if I had won the lottery, I would have bought the tower and put a residence on top. I would have put an apartment up there! “

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