Prom night should be one of the most memorable nights of your life. So what should you do on grad night? You’re all dressed up and you have your best friends with you, so it needs to be epic. This was a challenge my friends and I faced. We brainstormed, and brainstormed, and brainstormed some more, until it was time to leave the venue and embark on our epic journey of sitting in the car.
Now, I shall explain. I live along the lakeshore in the suburbs of Hamilton. Translation: there is nothing but beach, trees, and houses. On the other hand, downtown Hamilton (which is about a 30 min drive), is super sketchy and only has convenience stores literally one beside the other. It was too late to take the GoTrain to Toronto, and none of us were willing to drive the 40 min drive. In Niagara, Nik Wallenda was walking the rope along the falls, so traffic was insane. That took away our fun choices. Where were we to go?
We chose a spot conveniently close to the Sound of Music Festival, but far enough from the crowds. It was cool, so we put of some sweaters and dug our feet into the warm sand. Honestly, I felt like we were in a movie. Who knew that a beach that we were so familiar with, would be the best place to spend grad night. We listened to our friend play his guitar, but after about two hours, we got bored and decided to relocate.
The group of us decided to go to the “Red Bridge” (https://www.hamilton.ca/CityDepartments/PublicWorks/Environment_Sustainable_Infrastructure/OpenSpace/East+Hamilton+Trail+and+Waterfront+Link.htm) This magical and mysterious bridge is located over the QEW connected the beach trail to the Red Hill Valley. The entrance was quite uninviting; probably to keep high schools kids away past 10 p.m. (If that was their true intention, well, it didn’t work). There was a narrow pathway surround by trees and bushes galore. We walked in a circle, holding on to each other, until we reached a clearing that lead to the bridge. Let me tell you I have never ran faster than I did from the dark clearing to the light-up bridge.
There was no one on the bridge, which didn’t surprise me considering the fact that it was about 3 a.m. There were only a few cars below us. I took a picture, never thought I’d be using it for a university course.
The reason I posted this picture is because public space gives us memories. Yeah, you might have great memories at house parties or having a sleepover in your room, but nothing surpasses the freedom of roaming around the dark night. Wow, I didn’t realize how creepy the last part of the sentence sounds. Though public areas do not always have restrictions, an unwritten rule prevents youth from being in the parks after 11/12 p.m. Sitting on this bridge, we talked about what life would be like in the future. This “Red Bridge” brought together a group of people who weren’t sure if they would ever see each other again.
It’s sad to see residential and commercial areas take over parks and nature. What if one day, there is no beach? What if there is a subdivision of houses along the lakefront? Future generations will not be able to have the same moments after their grad. Although with the development of technology, maybe they’ll teleport themselves to a better beach in the Caribbean.
In my opinion, natural public areas, such as beaches or parks, are the most “public” of public spaces. No confusion intended. Unlike indoor or guarded places, a park does not have too many restrictions and rules. Like all public spaces, parks allow one to socialize and enjoy the beauty around them. You can go on a family trip to the park, you can play soccer in the park; you can even go for a date in the park. There are many different people with different backgrounds, but all of them are engaging in pretty much the same social activities.
Writing this has made me decide that next time something will be in the way of a natural public space, I will protest.