How do we get through the winter in Canada? Some of us find that being creative breaks up the long months of winter.  It feels healthy to challenge the mind to come up with new approaches to doing routine things.  But our bodies get sluggish in winter too. One way to avoid getting bogged down in winter is to lose yourself in exercise, where you can switch off your sadness, get rid of the chills, and warm up your bones. Being part of a community, working towards a common goal, getting out and skating on the ice, seeing and talking with other people, despite the weather, also helps chase the winter blahs away.  Anything that gets us off the sofa and out of our own heads, I think, has just got to be good for us.

In this issue, I’ve looked back at our local community centre — the hub of recreation for our neighbourhood, and dug up the story of its namesake, Mary McCormick.  This led to finding out about the origin of the playground movement in Toronto. Remarkably, our local plot of land has been pumping up residents’ heart rates for decades, with various sports teams and wide-ranging programs for children. And it continues to do so.  If you tracked the movement of people up and down Brock Ave. or Sheridan, I’m sure that most of them would be heading to the rink, the park, or the community centre.  Did you know Brockton has its own hockey team?  Read on to find out about it.

I’ve also focused on what’s been building in the past few years with the Friends of McCormick Park.  These lovely folks give their time to make the park a more engaging place for all and with their creativity and hard work, continue to make this neighbourhood a better place to live.  They’ve helped with the renovation of the park, including the introduction of a cafe and the building of a skating rink. Also, they’ve brought in bocce and the little free library through bake sales.  In this issue, I want to help tell their story and encourage others to join them in their efforts to keep improving our park and our community.

This being the sophomore issue of The Blok, it was a real challenge.  I thought that I could make this into a monthly zine, and I was always cursing myself when week after week I couldn’t get this issue together.  But now here it is, although some articles are put out later than I had originally planned. Mike Mulqueen wrote a wonderful article encouraging locals to get out and skate on the McCormick Rink, and as you read this it is melting away.  There is an article on The McCormick Minstrels, a local minstrel troupe in the 1920s, to celebrate Black History month, which has already passed. But the story is still fascinating and hopefully encourages us to celebrate diversity more than just one month of the year.

Thanks for reading.  If you can see yourself writing or making something for this and want to be a part of it, please get in touch.

Thanks also to all the contributors, and to Amada Estabillo for her help crafting some of these stories and thanks as well to her mother Karen Estabillo, who has donated her time editing all of the articles for both of these issues and deserves much praise!

Last thanks to Aimée Bomers, my 7 year old daughter who created the “Bird Playground” collage above.

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