As trees grow greener and commuters move from the sheltered lower deck to the open upper deck of the ferry, two Dartmouth events are inviting folks out of their homes for a weekend spent in the great urban outdoors.
First, on Saturday, the Dartmouth Skate Coalition (that's DSKC) is celebrating the grand opening of the Dartmouth Commons Skatepark. It's been a long time coming—as DSKC secretary Jacquie Thillaye explains, Dartmouth residents have been lobbying for a skatepark on their side of the harbour for decades.
"It actually started when Andy Sawler, the current DSKC chairperson, was 15 years old and approached Gloria McCluskey about the need for a skatepark," says Thillaye. "Fast-forward 30-odd years, beyond the success of the Halifax Common Skatepark, and Andy and friends and community members were still seeing the need for a skatepark on the Dartmouth side."
This is clearly a reason to celebrate. The grand opening of the Pacific Northwest-style park will feature refreshments, music from DJ Blahblahblah, and lots of room to skate for the young and the young at heart.
Then on Sunday, grab your skateboard—or your bike, your roller blades, your favourite sneakers, what have you—and head downtown for Dartmouth's fifth installment of Switch: Open Street Sundays. If you're new to Switch, it's about "encouraging people to experience their streets in a different way," says Eliza Jackson, director of operations for the Switch-organizing Planning & Design Centre.
The event will see a two-kilometre route along Portland Street and Prince Albert Drive closed to vehicle traffic from noon until 4pm. Ditching cars will make room for giant board games, a trapeze artist, live music, food trucks and activities from local businesses.
"A street that is oriented towards people provides a venue for fostering public life in a community," says Jackson. "There are so many things we can do with the space on a street if we're opening it up to people."
Dartmouth Commons Skatepark
Sat June 4, 1pm-3pm
Dartmouth Common, Thistle Street
Sun June 5, noon-4pm
Portland Street at Prince Albert Road