Monday, July 19, 2010

Hastings Park

Hastings Park, formerly known as New Brighton, was formed as a resort, a watering hole for the area. The Hastings Park racetrack has been there sinice 1889.

In 1968 the Pacific Coliseum was completed and this is the building that has a few fond memories for me.

It was here that I went to my first concert in 1978 or 1979 I think. It was Shaun Cassidy. I remember sitting in my seat way above the stage and gazing down at this figure in white dancing around the stage. I was in heaven! Especially when the woman beside me loaned me her binoculars so I could actually see that it was Shaun!

I was on cloud nine for days afterwards. Although a review in the next paper the next day angered me. The reviewer said that at least the attendess had gotten the value of their parents' money. My parents hadn't paid for my ticket. They drove me into Vancouver and went to the PNE while I went to the concert but I paid for the ticket with my babysitting money and from whatever other monies I could earn.

Years later a couple of friends and I went to see Shaun in Romance Romance at the Stagewest Dinner Theatre in Calgary, Alberta. Even though I was now in my twenties I still got the same thrill from seeing him onstage. One of the friends that was in the group worked for a florist so we brought Shaun flowers along with a note from each of us telling him what he had meant to us growing up. His manager brought out autographed playbills after the show. Unfortunately I was in the washroom so I missed him. But I had that playbill for many years after.

I may now be in my forties but I would probably feel the same excitement if I were to go to a live show featuring Shaun Cassidy. Some things just don't go away.

I like walking through this park for the peace and stillness it has. Even if Playland with all the rides and screams is a short distance away the noise doesn't seem to disrupt the serenity at Hastings.

Whenever I meditate and have to envision a safe, peaceful area I go here:

I mentally walk across the bridge and sit on the benches, watching the ducks swim. I feel the calmness wash over me in my mind, just as it does when I'm there.

There is so much to see and write about when looking at Hastings Park but I only have limited room. So I will write more about this area another day. However I can't leave without one more feature.

In front of one of the entries to the park is this monument. On August 7, 1954 at the British Empire Games John Landy and Roger Bannister became the first two men to ever break four minute mile in the same race. The statue shows Landy looking over his left shoulder and Bannister passed him on the right and won the race.

To me that says not to look behind you in life. I try to bring some of the history of Vancouver alive with this blog but I am not living in the past. I am not looking behind me and wishing I had done things differently. It's done, it's over with. Take what I can from that and forge forward.

That's all for today. Here's to finding the beauty around you.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Karen, I'm sure you know that Hastings Park was a temporary internment centre for Canadians of Japanese descent who were stripped of their homes, businesses, personal property, freedom, and basic civil rights by the federal government in 1942.

    Dad's family came to Canada in 1897 and established a successful boat-building and commercial fishing business in Ucluelet. Dad was born there. In 1942, the RCMP rousted all the Japanese-Canadians out of their homes and businesses, took their fishing boats, and sent them to Hastings Park where they were imprisoned in the livestock buildings, one family to a dirty, smelly horse stall, with only blankets to provide any measure of privacy and decency. They were surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards, and kept in windowless buildings that reeked of dung and urine. In the meantime, concentration camps with flimsy tar-paper shacks were hastily built in far-flung parts of the B.C. interior to contain the "Yellow Peril" until long after the war was over.

    Whenever I go to the P.N.E., I think about Dad and his family being forced to sleep on burlap sacks stuffed with straw in those dirty livestock buildings, but I also have some nice family memories of going to the fair as a young child in the fifties and sixties, with Mom and Dad trying their best on a meager income to provide their sons with some happy moments. In any case, I will take your advice not to look back, but to "forge forward," and leave things in the past.

    All I can say is that I'm very proud of Dad and his family, and Mom (who married Dad in Japan after the war and came with him to encounter tough times in Canada in the early fifties), and all the others who were mistreated, because they overcame bigotry and intolerance and raised their sons and daughters to be hard-working, high-achieving, and well-respected citizens, "Canadians" in the truest sense of the word.