Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Old|New Park

When I was a little girl, I remember walking with my mom around the corner, down the street and then along a cedar-lined path between two houses. And it was while walking along that path that I always got rather excited because I knew that the end of the path was the beginning of fun.

At the end of the path was Kingston Park.

Big open field, a walking path, playgrounds, a fabulous tobaganning hill for the winter, day camps in the summer. It was a great park. Loved it.

So when we moved "back home", I had big hopes for taking Hadassah there. How cool would it be to have Hadassah play in the same park I played in as a girl, right?

Was I ever disappointed to find out that it was closed for renovation. Really?! Closed for renovation?! Just when we get here?! Hmph.

But a couple of Saturdays ago, Kingston Park re-opened. And I decided that I couldn't miss it. I'd been waiting for awhile to show Hadassah where I used to play. Although we've been peeking glimpses at the progress through the houses and trees every time we drove down St.Clair St., and I knew it wouldn't look quite the same as it used to, I still wanted to go.

Apparently everyone else in Chatham had the same idea. (happily for Kingston Park...) It was packed. It was hot. But it was worth it. We happened to be walking from the hill to the splash pad, through the new change rooms/office building, just when the official opening began. The Town Crier started everything off. (followed by speeches from the Mayor, MP, etc., but I decided the guy with the pink fur cap was the most interesting shot...)

 I think I can safely say that Hadassah liked the splash pad. 'Loved it' would be exaggerating. The whole "water-in-my-eyes" thing is quite the major issue for Hadassah these days, so splash pads are still only like- able.
 The tipping cauldron was quite the hit - and I'm thinking it'll stay ranked #1 as long as it's in good, working order. And, rightly so. That thing is pretty cool.
Why, you ask, is my daughter posed beside a lion statue? Well, believe it or not, those lions (there's two of them) used to sit at the end of our road. They've graced the end of the sidewalk of the main doors at the old CCI (Chatham Collegiate Institute) for years. Many years. But since it's been bought and is used by the Muslims for their school now, and since these lions somehow conflict with their religion (not sure how? I should try and figure that one out, it has me curious...), they donated them to the city of Chatham. They were moved to Kingston Park just before the grand opening. Whenever we went for a walk, Hadassah always asked to stop at the lions so she could pet them, and when they were moved...well!...that was not a happy day for our little girl. At least she can pet them here. :)
 I love this part of the splash pad because 3 long rows of fountains shooting into the sky makes for a pretty park from many angles.
One area behind the office/bathroom building is put together with slabs of old street pavement. I thought it was kinda cool to see fragments of painted roads. Way to upcycle!
Due to the grandness of this Grand Opening, there were lots of activities for the kids. Lots of blow-up castles and slides, face painting (line up was insanely long!), this barrel ride...
...and little 'play stations', like this bubble tent:
Overall, despite the mass of people and the really high temperatures, Hadassah and I had a great afternoon. We didn't even do half of the stuff they had offered at the park and we had to do a lot of walking to get back to our van parked halfway across the city, yet we enjoyed ourselves a lot.

And I got to see my daughter play at 'my park'.

I do believe that was the best part of all.

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