High Park is a 400 acre municipal park in the west end of Toronto created in 1876. The name “High Park” was coined due to the shear number of hiding places for teenagers to hide and smoke up. The land was a bequest to the city by prominent 1800’s hippie John George Howard. Let’s face it, his name is only missing Paul and Ringo.
|"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"|
Before moving to Toronto and meeting my wife who is very knowledgeable about flower and fauna, my only real interest in cherry blossoms was the “candy bar”. A treat that was like biting through granite to get to a radioactive cherry. I grew up a block from the factory that made these, and you could find them littered on the streets around my house. Like a Wonka Chocolate Factory that just didn’t give a shit anymore.
|This looks sexual, but also disgusting|
A few years ago when my eldest daughter was little we went to see the trees that only bloom for a few days a year. The day was a cloudy and a little drizzly, but the trees were spectacular, the air fresh and the space free to run in. Not so this year. Much like Mecca there was a pilgrimage of thousands heading to the trees mostly for the Sakura party, a Japanese celebration and viewing of the cherry blossoms at their peek. The walking trails were crowded, the streets that cut through the park were lined with cars idling in traffic while small children hung their heads out the windows knowing that they were so close to fun, yet so far away.
We decided to skip entering the giant crowd to get close to the trees. As no one had eaten lunch it was decided to stop to eat our picnic prior to tackling and eating one of the many Japanese people there for the party. Besides they usually run away when you look hungrily at them and say “itadakimasu”. Damn my need to follow tradition.
|"Can I get that to go?"|
The picnic was very close to the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, a sprawling structure that resembles a castle. There are many towers, slides and levels for kids to play through. Many of the little nooks and crannies are too narrow for even a svelte young man like me to fit through.
|"Person who guesses how many Cheetos are in that bellybutton wins a kiss!"|
This means that you can’t follow your kid through the roughly one block area of the structure. You catch a glimpse of your kid and then they are gone. Just as you are about to speed dial Liam Neeson, you catch another glimpse before, like a mouse in your pantry, she’s gone again. I wish to rechristen the playground “Panic City” as a result.
|Like Game of Thrones for kids, with little less beheading and sodomy|
I did try to follow my daughter once through the labyrinth under the structure but quickly got stuck a la Winnie-The-Pooh. She decided that one spot would be her “bedroom”.
|With all the comfort of a labour camp|
I found a brilliant way to keep tabs on my daughter while not nagging her to stay in my view with the added bonus of getting her out of the park to go home within the ten minute warning I laid out. I told her she was a Princess whose castle was being threatened by a evil dragon. She then endowed me as the King to help her. I agreed to be the King, but I had lost my keys and could not get in the castle as a result.
|"Damn it! I wouldn't have lost it if you kids gave me a "World's Best King" keyring for Father's Day like I asked."|
I then sent her on a mission to find a magic ruby that had been lost ages ago in a well made of tires (King Midas perhaps- huh? Clever? No? Shut up.). She ran off and came back with it. Then she needed the scepter that the magic ruby was to be set in, and that was in halfway down the slide at the far end of the playground. She ran off and returned saying she dropped the ruby part way down the slide and would have to go again. For a moment there I thought she was on to my game and trying to draw out her play time.
|Slides are a playground's lower intestine|
When she came back I told her she needed the help of an evil witch to activate the ruby, but not to worry because the witches enemy is the dragon so she would be happy to help, provided she be polite (always sneak a lesson in when possible). She could be located at at the top of the tower closest to the exit of the playground. Some of you may be seeing where this is headed... She did that and I told her she then had to tap the dragon with the ruby to change him from evil to good and save the castle. I gave a description of the dragon matching her uncle who I knew was napping outside the playground. She went and whacked him with a stick. Then I told her that since we were out of the playground we may as well head home. I’m not sure she’ll ever forgive her uncle for his betrayal. Better him than me.
|There you go fuckers. And you can thank Jennifer Hendriks for the awesome pic. I didn't take one single photo of the trees.|