Walk Leader: Mary Wilson
Text by: Mary Wilson
Photographs by: Chris Petty
Following the streets and sidewalks, it’s about a ten-block walk from my neighbourhood to the local library. Could have been a very ordinary walk to accomplish a very ordinary chore – returning my library books. Instead, we went “off-road.” Back lanes are generally under-appreciated public spaces. But I’m a big back-lane fan. Consequently, our alternative route to the library and home again traversed three back lanes, a school playground, a park pathway, two parking lots, a “street” functioning as a back lane, and a multi-use greenway trail shared by pedestrians and bicycles.
We were wandering aesthetes, commenting on backyards and garages, park trees and private gardens, and chatting with people we met along the way. We encountered – and appreciated – at least a dozen examples of public art, from kids’ flower art on the schoolyard fence, to my personal favourite, the “Alpha-Ball” metal sculpture beside the library. Being a curious bunch, we dropped into New Westminster’s new Youth Centre on the way home, and were able to include a brief exploration of the facility as part of our walk.
Yes, we did talk about pedestrian issues – but the sun shone and there was plenty to enjoy, and that kept us all in good humour, making this otherwise pedestrian Saturday morning chore a pedestrian’s delight.