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To my nephew on his wedding day

Friday, July 22, 2016

There are thousands of places on this planet where people can go on vacation and have an amazing time.  I’m personally always interested in what places do to make families feel welcome because  we’ve been travelling with our daughter and our friends and their kids for years.  Every family finds their favourite places that they talk about long after the vacation ends. 

  Last Tuesday I couldn’t help but think that if we were on vacation in Haliburton we would feel so lucky to find Head Lake Park – especially on a Tuesday.  There is such a good “vibe” there all day.  There is lots going on and people are out and being active and happy.  The Farmers Market  allows parents to buy good food while kids  run around in the playground or swim in the river.  We have the most beautiful library in the world over looking the park and the lake. Parents can sit on the porch and have a latte or check their email while kids read a book or play. The Rails End Gallery is open and families can check it out.  And then there is the Music in the Park in the evening as the sun sets.   It is magical.  People bring dinner or buy pizza.  Kids are still running around.   The whole day  is a perfect family experience.  Lots of stories can be told about a day like that.  

This weekend I am in Kelowna, BC spending a few days before going to Vancouver for my nephews wedding.  It’s my first time here and I am really appreciating how welcoming this city is for families and everyone.  On an evening stroll along the lake with my daughter I notice how there are lots of opportunities for people of all ages.  First of all there are art installations throughout the downtown.  My favorite is the Dancing Pedestrian that is lit up by pot lights on the street.  To me it’s a statement about how much  they value, welcome and respect pedestrians.  Then there are the bright and colourful crosswalks that are pieces of  art.  I watch kids delighting in using them.  Parents want to take their kids to places where they feel safe and it’s easy to move around.   The sidewalks are extra wide with many half circle  benches surrounding tables so that people can gather and sit in many places.  A skateboard area  is plunked in the middle of the waterfront and is part of the scene. There are kids on bikes and scooters.  There is a large round structure that has posters all over it. It is made of mesh and is at least 10 feet tall.  Everyone can easily learn what is going on in the city by checking out one of these poster towers.   There is music in the park and a splash pad.  Painted pianos are located at various outdoor locations where people can stop and play a song or two.  This downtown feels loved, and it is evident that planners spent a lot of time considering how to make people feel welcome,  relaxed and playful.  We strolled under the almost full moon for a couple of hours.  It’s a night we’ll remember and we will come back here. 

Tonight is the July Full Buck Moon or Full Thunder Moon.  Hope you get outside and enjoy it at the Music in the Park! 

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