After 20 years of exploring Stanley Park, I still stumble upon hidden treasures.
Monty and I parked near the Vancouver Rowing Club and walked northwest along a winding paved pathway towards the forest. The sun dripped through the leaves. I glanced across a field and towards the Parks Department works yard. I glanced again. I focused my vision on the gothic tips of a monument.
A monument? In between trees, at the back of a baseball diamond-sized grass field with no pathway?
“Monty, let’s go check it out,” I said.
It was a monument to Shakespeare. Moss grew on the border of bricks but his image in the middle was undeniable. The inscription was worn and difficult to read:
Shakespeare 1564 – 1616
He was not for an age, but for all time
I had not read Shakespeare since high school. But I thought it ironic that my first 30 Day writing challenge led me to discover a forgotten monument dedicated to a writer.
I walked around and saw small plaques pinned to two trees, each with a Shakespearean quote. There was the Eastern White Pine and a quote from Lucrece. The Western Red Cedar with a quote from Titus Andronicus.
I saw a parks worker in a nearby garden.
“Hi, what’s the story of the Shakespeare monument?” I asked.
“Yeah, it was donated by a Shakespeare club back in the 1920’s or 30’s. Did you see the plaques on the trees?” she said. “The types of trees are ones Shakespeare mentioned in his work.”
“Oh, that’s so cool. I’ve been coming to this park for 20 years and this is the first I’ve seen it,” I said.
“It was really overgrown, it still is, but I’ve removed some plants. My plan would be to make a path to direct more people to it,” she said. “It’s kind of run down.”
I then walked by a woman and a man holding a camera.
“Hey, did you see the Shakespeare monument just over there?” I asked.
“Is it new?” he asked.
“No, it’s from the 20’s or so, it’s cool,” I said.
“Is it worth it?” he asked.
Is it worth it to walk a hundred feet to peek at a monument hidden in a park? Is it worth it to make a connection with a parks worker instead of Googling an instant answer? Is it worth it to take the time to cut a tree stump so it looks like a beach chair? Is it worth it to wander in Stanley Park for 30 days?
Is it worth it?
For me, there is only one answer.
Yes. Yes it is.
Check out the next story in the series, Day 12: In Memory of Tuk.
Photo by: me