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Saturday, 25 July 2015

Picnic at Wolastoq Park

Sometimes, you forget to appreciate all that your city has to offer. I find that when you live in a city, you hear all of the negativity - the complaints about the smell, the traffic, the closing stores, the pot holes, etc., etc., etc., When you hear that day after day, you forget to look at the great sights, sounds, smells, and experiences. Last week, there were a group of people traveling around New Brunswick, and blogging, Instagram-ing, and tweeting about their adventures, using the hashtag #LetsGoNB. It was great! I loved seeing my city and province through the eyes of someone who doesn't have to hear all the complaining. They loved it! It made me think about all the awesome parts of Saint John, and New Brunswick. I've lived in Saint John my entire life. Sure, it has it's negatives, but everywhere does. The important thing to remember is that it also has lots of positives. I'm going to make an effor to look for the good.

On Thursday, after spending the morning at the zoo, C and I decided to have a picnic for our supper. We packed some food up and headed to Wolastoq Park. 

I have to admit, despite driving past it almost daily, I haven't taken advantage of this park lately. I had forgotten about what a great spot it is. It's a small park in the middle of an area filled with industry - the Irving Pulp and Paper Mill and Moosehead Brewery are to the left of the park, and up until about a year ago, Simms brush factory was in the area too. A little nature in the middle of industry. 

The park's land has an interesting history.  From the early 1800s to the 1990s, the spot housed a psychiatric hospital. When it closed, J.D. Irving purchased the land and turned it into a park.  Once the building was torn down, they made it a green space, and overtime added more to the park - including a driveway, parking, picnic tables, benches, and the best part - wood carvings.




In case the dark clouds rolling in decided to attempt to spoil our picnic, we found a covered picnic table and sat down to eat, taking in the sights and sounds. I forgot how fun a picnic can be.  Food really tastes better outside.  It helped that we had a great view, overlooking the Reversing Falls and the lower West Side. C got a kick out of the seagull who was sitting guard, hoping that we would drop some food for him to enjoy after we left. (We may have left a few crumbs, but not much!)

When we were finished, we packed up our meal, then took a walk around the park. The middle section of the park is now a "who's who" of Saint John, including Samuel de Champlain, Charles Gorman, K.C. Irving, and Koluskap and Beaver. Each is accompanied by a plaque, explaining their connection and contribution to Saint John. I didn't know all of the names, but many of the people have buildings in the city named after them, so it was neat to get to read about why they were important. 
Koluskap & Beaver - Many, many years ago, they shaped the land into what it is today -
including the creation of the Reversing Falls and Partridge Island. 
K.C. Irving - if you look closely, you can see a tree sapling in his hand
Lots of spots for sitting, relaxing, and having some family (or alone) time
The nice part about rain? When you're lucky, you get to see rainbows!

Wolastoq is a great little park, with a great view. When I was on maternity leave, I used to go there a lot. I'd drive my husband to work, and my son would fall back asleep in the truck. Since a tired mommy never, never wakes a sleeping baby, I'd grab a coffee, park there, and do a little reading, while C snoozed in the back. It was a nice break. I don't know why I forgot about it! Well, not again. The next time I need a change of scenery, I'll pack up a lunch, and grab a picnic table or bench at Wolastoq Park.  Just another reason why Saint John is awesome!

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