The English Cornerpar Rohinton Ghandhi
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Article mis en ligne le 1 décembre 2008 à 15:26
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These unpaved lanes made our own personal “Diversities” a non-issue, as we all had more in common as neighbours, than we had differences as individuals. The relationships we formed allowed us to respect those differences and to respect our friendship first.
Compared to the noise and grit of working downtown, Crawford Park, with its friendly people, many trees, open parks, including the Douglas grounds, made you feel like you were “going to your country place” every night. It was not just the relaxing surroundings, it was the people you knew as a family that gave you a feeling of being home.
Listening to the flocks of songbirds, as you sauntered down theses lanes, was simply amazing. The sheer variety of birds found and heard in Crawford seemed endless. We hear less of them today, in our reduced green spaces. Almost everyone had a pet cat, or dog, or both, which you would greet as your own. Traveling these lanes allowed you to form bonds with the animal members of the community as well. As pet-owners, we took pride in treating our pets as our own family. Something that openly seems lost today.
As the 1980’s came, the unofficial paths started to be sealed permanently, as our society made us more protective of ourselves and of our properties. One by one, the lanes disappeared, cutting off our shortcuts, and in a way removing the “Social Pathways” to our community permanently.
Eventually, the City of Verdun allowed citizens to expand their properties by purchasing the lane spaces, adjacent to their homes, for $1. Which most homeowners did.
Today, the narrow footpaths, and almost all of the lanes are gone. With them went our ability to informally get to know our neighbours, and to share in their diversity. Lanes that remain, have high fences that are much less inviting than the people-friendly ones we all leaned across, to share a laugh and a smile with people who cared.
Unlike the end of Verdun’s free-tennis courts this year, it was not our mayor that caused our lanes to disappear. For many seasons those old lanes connected us all. It was a change in our own self-protective values as a society, which started their final winter. As a famous songwriter once wrote, their demise was simply, “Blowing in the Wind”.
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