It has been brought to my attention that the term, “Mount Ernie” is derogatory. Let me go on the record to say I have used the term, liberally, as a term of endearment.
You see, I like the hill at Shipyards Park. I generally like parks with hills.
I have many wonderful memories of having picnics at Zwick’s Island Park in Belleville, Ont. That park of my childhood is really a series of hills — “Shall we lay out the blanket on this hill or that one?” — and each one had its own view — “Shall we have our picnic overlooking the Bay of Quinte or the other side for a good look at the stage shell where the Family Brown is about to start playing?” — and each one was its own world.
Without Mount Ernie, Shipyards Park would be one, big, flat area. Hills create four areas … one for each side.
I have been shocked at how many people automatically don’t like Mount Ernie. “It blocks the view of the river from 2nd Avenue,” I have been told. Really? You can’t see the Yukon River from 2nd Avenue even if you were walking on stilts. And isn’t the sight of children tobogganing down its side better than looking at the far bank of the Yukon River?
And then there are those who say it blocks the police’s view of public drinking and drug deals. Well, I’m glad it blocks my view of such things. Even without the hill, I wouldn’t want any of my loved ones to be taking a walk in that area … not yet, at least. And, during the summer when the park is used more and more by all kinds of folk, all of that activity will go back to the alleys because there won’t be privacy anymore.
Let us all use our imagination and cast our minds forward a few months. Those of you who complain about their views being blocked should remember that it works both ways. In July, when you are soaking up some rays along the river’s edge, the hill will block your view of 2nd Avenue. You don’t have to see Tim Hortons, it will still be there when you need a coffee.
And when you are watching a performance in the amphitheatre, you will be grateful for the seating built up the one side of the hill. And you will be glad there is a sound barrier between you and 2nd Avenue.
Need one more reason to embrace Mount Ernie? How about this: It hides your view of that depressing statue.
OK, that snide comment deserves to be fleshed out. If I had the choice, the statue would stay right where it is because it is doing its job: It is making people think and it is making people feel. However, I would like to see two more statues erected showing the next two stages of recovering from despair.
Sometime, while scraping together four credits in photojournalism, I learned that the best sports photos show the moment just before the peak of action. It is assumed that the reader’s eye will finish the action. This must hold true for statutes as well and I would hope the two men will be depicted just as they start to run into the park for a good time.
Perhaps to climb Mount Ernie and roll down the other side like my twin brother and I used to do in Zwick’s Island Park.