I took the month of June off to travel the country from Ontario to Salt Spring Island, one of the gulf islands in B.C. As a director for the Beach Strip parkrun in Hamilton Ontario my first job was to ensure our events would continue.
While Stephan and I share the director duties, our other two core team members have since moved away. A big thanks to Joanne for stepping up prior to the launch of the River Oaks parkrun in Oakville where she is one of the directors. Beach Strip did not miss a beat.
I was now ready to go on my cross country tour with my wife Janet and our dog Lexi. The plan was to take 5 days and overnight at pet friendly motels and at a couple of camp grounds. I had never driven west of Ontario (nor north of Thunderbay) before and indeed had never even visited Manitoba, Saskatchewan nor B.C. My plan, if possible was to try to participate in one or two other parkruns during my journey. It was when we got to Kenora that I realized this will be a 6 day drive instead of 5 days. While I do not mind driving long hours, we did want to be able to take in the sites and stop from time to time.
As we logged the Kilometers and took in the views I couldn’t help thinking at each major town/city how it would be great to have a parkrun here. Passing Sault Saint Marie, Calgary and Vancouver, the timing was not right to take in their parkruns. Indeed it turned out that on the 4 Saturday’s we were away, we were never within a couple of hours away from a parkrun. Needing a ferry ride to go anywhere from Salt Spring meant the idea of heading to Victoria or Vancouver was not going to work out for us and so will have to wait for another opportunity.
While I knew that our country was vast and beautiful I was not expecting how this trip would also make the country smaller in my mind. Passing the north shore cliffs of Superior, the many lakes of northern Ontario, the wide open prairies, the mountains and finally the waters around the gulf islands I felt both pride in what our country has to offer and a great peace of mind that while I had never been here, it was still Canada and somehow was familiar to me. The country seems smaller to me now too, or should I say I feel closer to many of you as I can now picture each area in my mind, and I feel a kind of connection that was not there before.
With the recent announcement of a parkrun in Regina, I laughed as my wife and I were just saying as we drove through, you could have a parkrun here, or there, or there. Guaranteed to be flat and fast, haha. I am sure it is only a matter of time before we see parkruns in Revelstoke, Winnipeg, Brandon, Thunderbay, Barrie, ….
Beach Strip parkrun Event Director
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