Playfair Park is about one acre. A pocket park. Gorgeous summer and winter. A five minute walk from my house. If there had been time, I’d have asked everyone coming to Atli and Þruður´s reception to meet at the park for a walk around the gardens. We could have done an easy stroll about the park. If we had done that, it would have been with a purpose. I´d have used the opportunity to tell everyone about Christian Sivertz and his family and Victoria.
Flower pix by WDV
Wherever you live, demand pocket parks. Big parks are nice but pocket parks are secrets hidden in neighborhoods where people picnic, throw balls for their dogs, lie on the grass, admire the flowers, play with their children.
Once, I was surprised to see a wedding, ceremony and all in Playfair Park. I thought it a fine place for a wedding. I watched the wedding ceremony, the guests in chairs set in a crescent, children running about, the flowered gardens as a backdrop, the bride and groom a bit giddy with happiness.
There’s a small playground for children with a slide and a teeter totter, a bench for parents. There are benches here and there and, if you follow the paths that weave through the rhododendron forest, you’ll find rocky outcrops on which to sit.
In May, the gardens will be at their best. I’ll miss them this year. I regret that. Today, I had to make a circle around the park, filling up my eyes and soul with the colours. Whose heart wouldn’t pause slightly when they see the purple rhodo arching over one of the paths?
That´s when I thought of Icelanders like Christian Sivertz (in spite of the adopted name, he was an Icelander) who worked as a farmhand and tutor in Iceland, came to Winnipeg in 1883, to Victoria in the 1890. He’d had time to adjust to the New World in Manitoba, working at the Winnipeg Gas and Electric Plant, with summers as a fireman and 2nd engineer in small steamers on Lake Winnipeg.
He’d read about the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coast. People had started coming here by train in 1886. That’s only eleven years after the first settlers landed at Willow Island in Manitoba.
Christian´s parents, three brothers and a sister soon joined him in Victoria.
Playfair Park was still wilderness then but Victoria was already the flower capital of Canada. If I still am amazed by places like Playfair Park, by rhodos ablaze with bloom, what must he and his parents and siblings have thought?