Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Transformation of Stan Wadlow Park

They're cutting it a bit close this year...
Every year since we moved into this apartment overlooking Stan Wadlow Park in the fall of 2005, I've looked forward to the last couple of days of June and the makeover the park below us receives in anticipation of East York's Canada Day celebrations. I've taken pictures of the slow transformation most of those years; in 2009 a strike caused the cancellation of the event and, for some reason I can't explain, in 2008 I simply didn't photograph the events at all. Tomorrow, July 1, is the really big day around here as the view from our balcony of the midway and other activities is incredible, surpassed only by the eye-level fireworks display that counts as not-to-be-missed for as long as we do live here. I'm a bit concerned about the scope of the midway this year, however, as this picture was taken at dinnertime tonight and as of this writing - about 9PM - there have been virtually no additions to what you see in the photo above. I realize that many of these ride and midway technicians are used to working through the night to get everything set up and today was not the best day to work outside due to the heat; however, this is the most incomplete I have ever seen the park as the sun has set on June 30. I guess I'll have to see what happens when we get up tomorrow for the parade.

2011's very tiny midway
Every year since we first moved into the area the midway seems to get a little smaller. It's entirely possible that all the trucks that are going to arrive are already here and that's quite disappointing. I tried to find out where the funding comes from for the day's activities, but have so far been unable to uncover that information. In any event, it's easy to imagine that wherever the budget comes from it's likely been cut a little each year like many other activities in this city. The East York Canada Day celebrations have always been among the biggest and the best in Toronto and it would be a shame to see them die out completely, so I hope they begin to bounce back in the next few years. In the above picture you can see that the rides and booths were very sparse last July 1 and I was quite shocked when I realized that they were done setting things up at this point. If you look closely near the top of this picture, in left field on the baseball diamond behind the midway, you will see the fireworks being prepared for the evening's display. Hopefully this will give you some idea of just how incredible our vantage point is for that show.

For comparison purposes, here is how the park looked in some previous years:

2006 - note the fancy striped tents
2007 at dusk

2010 midway - just after opening
2010 - note the plain white tents

The Kiwanis Pool today
Another nice ingredient of the Canada Day Celebrations here in East York is the Kiwanis pool, nestled between the rink and the school at the edge of Stan Wadlow Park. Some years the pool hasn't opened until July 1, but this year it was ready to go last Saturday and has been well-attended this week, especially during the recent heatwave. It was closed the summer of the strike but also the year following when a contractor who had been hired on to refurbish the pool over the winter and spring bailed on the project when it was too late to bring in somebody new to get it up and running for the summer. That was an awful blow for many of the people around here, especially in this building because there is no air-conditioning (unless you buy your own). The repair job and re-landscaping, once they were finally completed, are fantastic; it's just a shame it took two years to complete the project.

One last glance out the window, now that the sun is set, and I see no more trucks on the field. Technicians were working by flashlight a few moments ago but even those have been extinguished right now. I have a bad feeling that this will be the smallest midway yet.

I'll take some pictures of the parade and the fair itself tomorrow and post them on a new blog piece. If it happens to be raining, I'll fake it with pictures from last year. Either way, there will be photos.

Before I sign off, I want to wish my good friend Alex a very happy 40th birthday today. It's also Sarah's mom's birthday, as luck would have it, so a happy birthday to her as well. Two of my favourite people in the world having birthdays on the same day. Very special!


  1. Very interesting to compare the views of the midway and fair from year to year!

    1. Thanks, Sar! I don't know what happened in 2008 that caused me to not film the assembly of the midway, though. Very strange.


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