A few weeks ago I spent the UK May bank holiday weekend in a park in London. I decided to start the Canadian May holiday, Victoria day, in the same vein. Victoria Day is often seen as the start of summer even though it comes a little earlier than the actual season. Often it marks the weekend gardens get planted in Calgary, and the weekend when campgrounds start filling up for the summer. The weather was not as fantastic as one would hope for, at the start of the long weekend, but it also isn’t snow which has a bad habit of making an appearance this holiday. The sky grew grey as I drove towards the park I had chosen, Confederation Park. It is a large lush park that has a great path system often used by pedestrians, cyclists, runners, and dogs. I had set out with friends to try my hand at geocaching. I had downloaded an app to my phone so we could see if any there were any caches hidden in the park. I had heard from other friends about geocaching. They explained it turned an ordinary walk into a treasure hunt, who hasn’t wanted to hunt like a pirate for treasure? You too can download an app and it will tell you if anything is hidden near you using GPS co-ordinates and your cellular phone, follow the map on where it is, locate it, open it, sign the log and leave a trinket in the box if you take something out. The urban treasure hunt for my party did not yield any booty. The only one we came close to finding had been hanging it appeared but seemed to be missing from its hook. I am told that sometimes that can happen; people move or take the boxes. We took it to mean we should enjoy the mediocre day in a beautiful park.
We wandered the sparsely populated paths admiring the just blooming and budding trees. There were less people out enjoying the park than I expected, with the week-end starting in two hours I figured many would play hooky from work to get a head start on the holiday. The park was commemorated for Canada’s centennial in 1967; hence the extraordinarily inventive name Centennial Park. The centerpiece of the monument to the 100 year anniversary is a stone representation of the nation’s symbol, the maple leaf, a map of the country and the flags representing the country and areas within. There also looks as it there may be a time capsule stored under it from the wording of the inscription on the stone. As treasure hunting was a bust, and our stomachs were starting to rumble we moseyed back to my car to retrieve the picnic I had packed. We sat in the light drizzle and enjoyed our sandwiches because hey! At least it isn’t snow. On the way back to the parking lot I noticed the 1967 era playground that was vacant. It didn’t seem well stocked with apparatuses, apparati? (Whatever the plural of apparatus is, you get the point). The structures aside from seeming ancient appeared to be best suited for a young toddler who, with today’s helicopter parents would not be allowed within 100 feet of the metal slides fearing layered leaded paint and leave it to beaver era safety standards. It does need an update hopefully before the bicentennial.