May 282010

Memorial Park (also known as “that park”) is the green space tucked neatly behind the Dunbar Community Centre at Dunbar and 31st Avenue.  In addition to the playground, there’s a lawn bowling club, tennis courts and a baseball diamond with bleachers.

The day we visited, there was a lot of activity in the park. At one end, there was an intense game of Tee Ball while at the other end a small group took Tai Chi lessons.

The playground was busy, full of kids “playing nice”.  This park has three main structures, one for bigger kids with a spiral slide and the second (very similar to the apparatus at Chaldecott Park) contained a fort, mini suspension bridge and zip line. Yes, I said zip line…wheeeeeeeeeeeeee! That part of the playground was a little advanced for my little guy but he was intrigued and stood quietly while he watched the bigger kids give it a try. Third structure contained tubes you could crawl through, a tube slide and a horizontal ladder to climb on or swing from.

This playground, like many I’ve visited, frustrates me. My 21 month old loves all slides but has a hard time accessing them due to the odd design of these structures. They use different types of ladders to give kids access to the slides. These ladders are tricky to climb…shheeesh…what’s wrong with an old fashioned set of stairs. Here we go again…my poor back…I watch parents lift their kids up to the slides so they can slide on down. The only park I know of (at this point) with easy access to the spiral slide is the Granville Loop park.

Memorial Park is another park from my childhood. It was fun to visit and feels like home to me. We’ll be back to check out the zip line and perhaps even play a little Tee Ball in the future.

Mar 232010

That’s what I wanted to know last Saturday morning.

I woke up, threw on my clothes grabbed a baseball hat and headed out the door. My destination: Kerrisdale Community Centre. My goal: register my son in “Music Together”.

For those of you who don’t know…

“Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music program. Originally offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement.”

I was curious; do parents really line up for days to get their kids into certain programs?! So far I hadn’t experienced that kind of craziness.

Upon my arrival at 7:30am, I noticed the parking lot was full. That seemed a little odd. I walked through the doorway of the gym and sure enough there were fifty people standing in a Disneyland-esque line winding through the gym (20 minutes later 75 people). Some brought chairs, some laptops, others blankets but mostly I saw coffee. Damn it all anyways, why hadn’t I brought a cup of the liquid lightening…sigh?

 As I sat on the gym floor studying the faces around me, I was happy knowing that I had already secured a spot at St James Community Square for this program. Strange but true, I had a spot but was hoping to cancel it and get a place at the Kerrisdale location.

At 8:00am sharp, everyone was handed a “Timesaver Slip” (a new term for me). On it was a registration time and a number. I was #3 at 10:00. In other words, I would be the 3rd person to register at 10:00am. (Basically, they were telling us to go away and come back later. I’m sure there are fewer irate people as there is the illusion that you are no longer in line but let’s face it, you’re still waiting).

 So there I was, still waiting but wandering down the street with a latte in my hand. Walking, window shopping, relaxing with time to myself, no yelling & screaming, no whining, and best of all Daddy was babysitting and giving “the little one” breakfast (for a change). Wait a second… of course, lining up at 7:30am on a Saturday is GREAT!

I returned to the community centre at 10:00am and immediately got the class I wanted with no problems. It was over and done. I was almost sad to go home. So much for my peaceful Saturday morning, it was time to head back to my darling 19 month old boy with the energy of 10 men.

Online registration may be a snap, but this was a good experience for me; almost cathartic I’d say.

P.S. I found out later that the line up also contained people wanting the last 5 spots in a KidsPace class. Some of those people had been in line since 3:00am and did NOT get a spot in the program they wanted, OUCH!! I’m sure those people wouldn’t be as optimistic about the experience as I was.


Kerrisdale Community Centre

Westside Music Together

St James Community Square