Sunday, November 3, 2013

Art in the Park

When I was eleven, my parents moved to a subdivision in Pickering called Bay Ridges. It was touted as one of the first real Ontario subdivisions. For five hundred dollars down, you could own your own house which cost anywhere from eleven to fifteen thousand dollars. The houses were small, but adequate and appreciated. There were none of the current extreme expectations for new houses. For example, the driveways were unpaved, there was no garage and no grass. When they were able to afford it, my parents seeded, sodded, watered and fertilized. Sadly, no pavement grew so they relented and a few years later got the driveway paved.

Eventually, there was a small local newspaper founded by a man named Alex Robertson. He contributed a great deal to the community by beginning the Bay News. Local highlights were always of interest to this new community. I went through school with his son, who was around my age.

Our cozy little suburb soon became home to the Pickering Nuclear Power plant. As the plant expanded, so did the community. There was a population explosion and the influx created a boom. A huge shopping plaza (Sheridan Mall, now Pickering Town Centre), transportation in the form of a GO train and overcrowded schools became the norm. The newspaper if I recall correctly, turned into the Bay News Advertiser. I lost track and possibly interest after that since I left the area to attend university.

I always admired a lovely wooden, carved sculpture at my dad and stepmom's house. It was created by Canadian artist, Dorsey James.

When I heard that the community Bay Ridges had old hydro poles carved by this same sculptor, I became intrigued. After a bit of research, I learned that they were in fact located at hydro hill, part of Alex Robertson Park and had been there since 2001. ttp://  I had to go and see this for myself.

As I approached the park, all I saw was old telephone poles. I got closer and wondered if that was all there was.

As I ventured on, the full scope of this fantastic exhibit came into view. One after another, like monoliths, the carvings rose from the ground. Spectacular!

They seemed endless as the path wove around and around. I was in awe. Each sculpture was meant to symbolize a different culture, belief and time period.

I learned that the cluster of hydro poles at the top of the hill were there to symbolize the growth, evolution and prosperity of the community. I am proud to have been a part of that history.

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