A summer night in Sunnyside

Tonight I decided to go to the rock garden in/next to Riley Park to do some sweet macro flower pics. I never expected to love flower photography but I do. It’s a great example of how the photos you take aren’t necessarily what is actually in front of you. If you know what buttons to press and lens to pick you can make images that are very different from what you see. In this case they are mostly blurry somewhat abstract images. I don’t have a real macro lens — one day — so I just use a f. 1.8 and mess about. I’d post photos but I still haven’t found a blogging platform where the two can work together yet. I will one of these days.

I’ve also never actually gone to the rock garden even though it’s on a hill that I go past all the time. It’s nice to go out and explore places and see something new.

While I was there I noticed these orange cubes hanging off things. Then I noticed people running. Then I noticed numbers. Then I figured out that it was a scavenger hunt. Nice idea.

At the bottom of the rock garden I was pleasantly surprised to see people playing cricket. I don’t understand cricket but I love that there are people in this city who gather in this specific place to play it and that people from the non dominant culture get a place to play a sport specific to them and make this space theirs. I’ve always meant to go take pictures of the cricket players and now I have a few. There were lots of other people in the park too. People throwing a football, playing frisbee, reading. It was a vibrant place with lots of people nearby to come here and use it.

From there I started to get thirsty and walked along 10th in search of somewhere open. Fortunately the newly renovated Second Cup is open until 10 pm so I went in. I was happy to see a wide range of people from a range of backgrounds hanging out in there. When I arrived it was hoping.

By the time I left there were still lots of people out and about. People going home, people buying groceries, people hanging out. A group of friends cycling towards the pathway. Another group of cyclists pulling up outside a liquor store. Some kids on bikes. Some teenagers on foot. Some skateboarders.

This is what I miss about living in an European space with a street like what you get in Kensington. There is the density to support life and stuff to do. There are people coming and going. There are people from lots of different backgrounds and age groups all in one place.

While so many people in Canada fear urban environments and the basic building blocks of Kensington like midrise apartments with ground floor retail on the high street and a diverse range of housing leaning towards the midrise high density side of things I see a healthy and vibrant place that can give lots of European cities a run for their money. I’d take the life on 10th tonight over a single-detached home with a big yard and lots of vehicle miles traveled any day. We could easily make the northwest up the hill more like this. We’d just have to change some of our attitudes and some of our zoning bylaws.

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