Tuesday, June 22, 2010

HRM Point of Interest #1: Halifax Commons

Originally a lightly forested swampy region, this large grassy area is known popularly today as "The Commons". It was cleared in 1749 by the original settlers of Canada, which today makes it Canada's oldest urban park. The original purpose for creating the grassy area was mainly military (the Citadel fort is just to the south of The Commons), as the army did not want invading troops to be able to hide in the trees. Today though, it is one of Halifax's most popular outdoor recreation areas.

While recent development has cut the park's original area in half, it is still large enough to hold several baseball diamonds, tennis courts, a skate park, an outdoor swimming pool, to name just a few of the myriad facilities currently present.

It also plays host to major outdoor concerts, including recent performances by Paul McCartney, Keith Urban, KISS, and The Rolling Stones. Prince Charles and Princess Diana made a visit to The Commons on their 1983 Royal Tour, and Pope John Paul II drew 80 000 people when he visited The Commons in 1984.

(Children playing in the relatively new skate park. Some older residents I interviewed resent the concrete replacement to what used to be a peaceful pond.)

(A friendly city cricket league match.)

(A scene from a Hockey Night In Canada Play On! 4-on-4 National street hockey tournament game held in the commons on June 19, 2010. This particular game was being played on a city street between the North and Central Commons, that was closed down for the tournament.)

(Touch football league game.)

(I'm not sure what this guy is doing, but a number of these "hoopers", as I call them. gather in The Commons to practice their acrobatics, whilst spinning a large, heavy hula-hoop around their body/limbs.)

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