Improvised Park Play

My local park has been under renovation for a year and a half. It has been painful to watch the slow pace. The new playground area opened last fall, and this spring the remainder of the park looked complete, however, the construction fence remained. Signs finally appeared asking for patience while the new grass took root. Yesterday, the fence came down, and today, a lovely, warm Saturday, neighbourhood families were out in full force.

The park is divided into three zones, a playground, a field and an area shaded by trees. With the redesign, the three sides of the field adjacent to the street are now bounded by a long short wall, a taller sloped wall and a few steps up to a building. The long wall is low enough to sit on, yet high enough to prevent kids from easily running out onto the road. Now able to move with more freedom, boys and girls are doing what they do best, inventing play.

The kids, depending on their size, step or climb onto one of the low ends of the sloped wall. They walk up the curve, and when they arrive at a height where they feel comfortable, they stop, look around, and then jump onto the soft, newly laid sod below. It is encouraging to see all elements of a park accessible for play, not just those designed specifically for the purpose.

Floor, Best Seat in the House

Josephine has a talent for sourcing all things free. Today I met her for a jazz performance, part of the free concert series held in the amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

The seating in the amphitheatre was already full when we arrived. Fortunately for us, the glass balustrades on the fourth floor allow the space that overlooks the stage to become impromptu audience seating. However, my lateness meant the chairs set-up behind the performers were also full. We found a spot along the fourth floor bridge, laid down our jackets, sat on our quasi cushions, and peered down through the glass toward the musicians.

Our vantage point, sitting above and beside the performers, presented a unique view of the

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Grocery Store Obstacle Course Obsolete?

Vito, the resident carrier of groceries at Fiesta Farms, appears to have adopted another technique to help customers avoid the obstacle course. Instead of carrying one person’s shopping, he stations himself at the barricade. When I walked out of the store, he greeted me, then asked that I leave my cart there. He told me he’d watch my groceries while I retrieved my car. He already had one cart under his care.

I walked across the street to my car, drove it out of the parking lot and pulled alongside the sidewalk. Vito was finishing up with the other

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Theatre Acoustics Make Big Box Sale

Leslie wants to show me the Chapters near her yoga, one of her between teaching hangouts. The old box office window at the front gives away the building’s history. Still, once inside I am surprised. The old theatre is beautifully restored; only now books occupy the stage and audience.

I returned to the Chapters today. My first visit was a quick walk through an unexpected space. Today I stayed a while. The building still has the acoustics of a theatre, even though

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Skating on Thin Ice Strip

It took me longer than I expected to meet Martin at the rink in Dufferin Grove. As I crossed the park, I could see a lone figure that looked to be pacing. I wasn’t that late. Martin’s movements made sense as I reached the edge of the rink. He had called me earlier saying we were in luck the ice was good. That was before he stepped out onto it. Martin wasn’t pacing, but skating back and forth on the 3 foot wide strip of decent ice. I strapped on my skates and joined him for my one and only skating session of the winter.

Eventually we were joined by others. Martin, two groups of adults with small children, various teenage boys and me shared the ice strip. None of the teenage boys lasted long. The narrow strip required a leisurely pace to maneuver around each other. They got impatient quickly. For me, the ice strip was the ideal location for a catching up conversation with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while.

Competing Visions of Space

Upstairs to look for a new winter coat. The store does not subscribe to the idea of merchandising. Racks of coats, sweaters and pants crowd each other. Men and women’s items appear to be mixed, but really it is hard to tell. Are my allergies aggravated by the down coats or by the dusty chaotic conditions? A large skylight makes the chaos bright and airy that is if you find a way through all the clothing racks and look up.

When I return back down the stairs, I notice that the crowded racks were hiding a glass

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Community Created Centre?

Today, Leslie and I shared one of those wander through the city, high culture meets low culture, days. To end it, we tried to stop for a post movie, post King Tut, tea in the food court below the AMC theatres. It was 9:30 on a Friday night and most of the restaurants were already closed. A juice bar, whose name I can’t remember, was our only option. I went to find a seat while Leslie convinced the man behind the counter that he didn’t need a computer to check the price; it was written on the sign behind him.

We sat in the far corner, by the window overlooking Yonge Street. The place was surprisingly busy considering that almost

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