Fire Dancers in New Dundee, Sea Glass in Neville Park

Fire Dancer (PyroFlys)

I’ve said this already in my Kitchener Post column, but I want to tip my hat at the volunteer organizers who put together New Dundee’s Victoria Day celebrations. They gave the daughters and I an unforgettable experience. Not even my allergies could dim my appreciation of the food, the fun, Eric Traplin, and a visit by the Peterborough fire dancing group The PyroFlies.

The fireworks display at the end was a wonderful cap to a wonderful evening, and even the thunderstorms were kind enough to hold off until just after the kids and I got back to the car. Thanks again New Dundee. If you do this next year, you can count on us to come out.

I took pictures, and you can find them on Flickr here.

Yesterday, I took daughter the younger out of school for the day, to give her a special Daddy-Daughter day together. We went to Toronto on VIA Rail, and then I took her out to the end of the Queen streetcar line. Years ago, when I was still in grade school, my mother would indulge my love of streetcars by kindly accompanying me as we explored where all of the lines went. My favourite spot was Neville Park at the eastern end of Queen.

The place is world’s away from anything else in Toronto, even from the Beach neighbourhood just a few blocks west. The Beach is a fiercely independent community with a bustling commercial district along Queen, but as the street peters out at the border of Scarborough, the character changes. It’s quiet, almost small-town residential. The thought of applying that description to any part of Queen Street is just absurd. That’s one reason why I loved it.

But Neville Park had another secret: where the sandy beaches met the retaining walls of the R.C. Harris Water Purification plant was one of the best beaches to look for interesting stones in all of Toronto. All sorts of interesting stuff washes up here — a lot of it, it must be admitted, probably junk from the building up of Toronto. There were interesting rounded rocks of limestone, granite, and old asphalt. Some of the best skipping stones are to be found at this beach. And there was sea glass.

Now that’s a remarkable material. Industrial glass worn down by the action of the waves looks both natural and manmade. It’s a contradiction, and it’s pretty. For me, finding some was like finding a gemstone.

I repeated this experience with daughter the younger yesterday. The portion of Queen Street was there, the stone beach was there, and the waves were there. She loved it. She found some interesting stones. We skipped some in the waves (my throwing sucks, but I did manage a five). But no sea glass. Hard as I looked (and I looked hard), there was no glass to be found among the stones.

The water also looked bluer than I remembered. And I wondered, maybe we’ve cleaned up the lake since I was there in my childhood. Maybe less industrial glass in the waters. That would be a good thing, even if it means a dearth of gemstones.


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