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Summer in the City

Posted by Emma Baron on

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Song of the Week - Summer in the City by The Lovin' Spoonful

This song was inspired by the frontman's brother (and non-group member) Mark Sebastian. At 15 years old, he wrote a poem about his visit to New York with a chorus that struck a chord with the band: "But at night there's a different world." Ain't that the truth! This week we're talking about parks, both the daytime activities and the nightlife. 
The Long Form - Get lost in your own city...

After what we can all agree was a gruelling winter, it feels like we’ve turned the corner into summer and despite the last 3 days of unseasonal cold, we are holding on to this optimism.

For those of us lucky enough to own a cottage - or perhaps luckier still, have friends with cottages (all the fun, none of the upkeep) - we can look forward to quintessential Canadian summer moments. Lazily sitting dockside while pretending to read, roasting S'mores by a campfire and WEED. Sounds dreamy, but what are the rest of us left behind in the sweltering heat of a summer in the city supposed to do? Embracing park life is the only sane answer.

City parks are so much more than a patch of green among the concrete towers. They are a refuge, a gathering place, a common ground and all for the low low price of showing up, which makes parks the best deal in any town.

Some of our favourite city hangouts include the Sunday night Christie Pits Film festival. In its 9th year, this beloved community event screens weekly movies in the park with this season’s lineup focusing on Dynamic Duos and exploring “themes of of partnership, friendship, coupledom, doppelgängers, and other dualities” The closing movie has not yet been announced, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the classic female road revenge movie Thelma and Louise.

Dufferin Grove is a gem of a park and has led the way in transforming how we use our city parks. It has led by example with a well-imagined playground, shade dappled wading pool and an adventure space equipped with a huge sand pit, shovels, and a tap with running water. Shenanigans guaranteed. In the evenings you can book a campfire space and satisfy your s'mores cravings. The Grove has been the home and stage for the Clay and Paper Theatre company which asks the big questions using even bigger puppets. This year they will continue waging puppet revolution from the park in “The Echoes” a tale of gentrification and modern urban living and making room for everyone in our evolving cities.

Another standout with a packed summer schedule is the Evergreen Brick Works, a “community environmental centre” built on the site of a former quarry and factory. Although a bit more structured that the free form 'parkness' of Dufferin grove, it’s definitely worth a visit. A weekly farmer’s market, mountain bike group rides and outdoor large scale art installations are among some of the offerings. Surrounded by over 40 acres of nature trails this site has been recognized by National Geographic as one of its top 10 geodestinations and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

We know this a Toronto-centric review but the bigger message remains: Parks and common green spaces are where community comes alive. As we continue to crowd into urban spaces living in smaller and smaller apartments the need for these communal spaces will only grow and the only way to ensure they are there when we need them is to show up and play along.

The News

Have you ever found a message in a bottle? How about having the good fortune to be walking along the beach when a few pounds of cannabis wash up on shore? While we probably wouldn't believe our eyes either, apparently this happens pretty frequently around the world. Most recently, it was the beach-goers of Alabama on Memorial Day weekend who found 21 pounds of cannabis and 38 kilos of cocaine. Which begs another (totally unrelated) question - why is weed measured with the imperial system, and cocaine with metric? Because the sun never sets on the British (h)empire? 
The Social Calendar
  • Toronto: Lift & Co Toronto Expo - Canada's signature cannabis expo, June 6 - 9th, 2019
  • Vancouver: Cannabis Women Deliver - Hosted by Canadian Women in Cannabis as part of the Longhouse Dialogues, June 2nd, 2019
  • Windsor: Reefer Madness: The Musical - by Extension-Korda, June 20th - July 6th, 2019
  • Winnipeg: Pride Winnipeg Rally & Parade - at the steps of the Manitoba Legislature - June 2nd, 2019
  • Québec City: Québec's National Holiday - We were today years old when we learned Québec celebrates summer solstice and made it an official holiday in 1977 - June 24th, 2019
Sure, we can always read about parks in other awesome Canadian cities in articles like this, but we like to talk about what we know, ya know? Have you visited Toronto and feel that your city's park totally destroys our little scraps of grass? Please let us know, we love to feature friends from across the country.

Until next time, don't forget to paddle your own canoe.

- Emma & Carol
Milkweed website

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