Tuesday, August 06, 2019

History in the summer in the city

Toronto had a beautiful August long weekend:  warm but breezy, with none of the all-too-familiar heat/humidity nexus we see too often.  Turned out to be more historical than I expected it to be, lazy as my expectations were.

Saturday we went strolling along the deep green valley of the Humber River, as part of the Walking the 6 West program organized by a consortium of local historical societies.  We just walked along the river for a few kilometres total, and here and there along the way we encountered arts companies performing some brief original presentation -- music, theatre, recitation, singing -- inspired by some or other aspect of the local history: from a dance in honour of long-gone Chinese market gardeners to a playlet about the integration of Syrian refugees nearby.  Hundreds turned out.

Monday we happened to be at Fort York, rather aimless except for a wish to be out in the city, where we encountered a pretty large crowd being entertained by military marching, cannon fire, and Lt-Gov John Graves Simcoe proclaiming.  (In Toronto the holiday is Simcoe Day.)  Fort York is both a pleasant oasis in the city and a reminder to me whenever I'm nearby of how brilliantly it has integrated itself into a densely populated urban neighbourhood.

I know we go on about how Canadians don't know their history.  Actually we are immersed in it way more than we can see.

Update, August 7:  Helen Webberley comments:
There is no need to insist that history is only valid if it is written in text and placed in a gloomy library.
Follow @CmedMoore