Pop-Up Parks, Public Space, and Pretty Enclaves at Queen's

As a human geography student, I am constantly aware of my surrounding environments and how they affect me and other people. This was something I came to really understand this summer when I had the amazing opportunity to be part of the Working Group for the Sydenham Street Revived Pop-Up Park. 

(Above) The Wilderness performing at the Sydenham Street Pop-Up Park.  (Top Right) A peaceful evening at the park. (Bottom Right) The "Before I Die, I Want to..." Wall filled with so many comments! 

(Above) The Wilderness performing at the Sydenham Street Pop-Up Park. 

(Top Right) A peaceful evening at the park.

(Bottom Right) The "Before I Die, I Want to..." Wall filled with so many comments! 

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The Sydenham Street Revived Pop-up Park was designed and planned by a group of Kingston community members who came together to brainstorm and pull off an incredibly, exciting, colourful, pedestrian-friendly vision for downtown Kingston. It existed on Sydenham Street, between Princess and Queen, from August 27th to September 13th. 

There were musical events, silent movies, yoga, giant board games, mural art projects, and a lot of yarn-bombing! The pop-up park came together because passionate people really wanted to re-examine our understanding of downtown Kingston and of public spaces, and physically create a space where our imaginations could be sparked and our community could grow together. 

I was walking through Sydenham Street today, and it truly feels so different filled with parked cars rather than lime green tables and a wide assortment of plants. There were concerns about vandalism and loitering and theft at the pop-up park, but I felt more safe walking through the middle of the road surrounded by chalk drawings and fake grass. 

I guess what I'm trying to convey is this idea that pedestrian-friendly places, "cities built for people, not cars", can happen if we advocate for it, and genuinely do believe in better people-friendly infrastructure. The pop-up park was up for 2 weeks, but it really did inspire me to be more appreciative of the wonderful natural places I walk through at Queen's and how lively they could be if more people actively made use of these public spaces. 

Mac-Correy hidden natural gem (Credit: Diana/me)

Mac-Correy hidden natural gem (Credit: Diana/me)

The little Mac-Correy area (pictured above) has benches and cool trees and interesting shadows if you're there at the right times. When I took this picture, I had to snap out of my busy busy rushed fast paced state and actually absorb the world around me. It felt like fall; it was calm and empty and nice. 

The other pretty "enclave" (I use this loosely, since it's a pretty wide open space) pictured here is Agnes Benidickson Field. During Frosh Week, we used this field one night for a movie screening (Pixar's Inside Out!); my group also hung out here a little bit to learn the frosh dance and do some icebreaker games. The field is almost always empty, but it was really lively and cozy when different groups of people were using the space for a variety of activities. Whenever I've visited McGill University, I see people hanging out in the centre quad grassy area on campus, and I guess I think it'd be nice if we at Queen's actively took some time to appreciate the environments that we are in and spend some time embracing pretty places on campus. 

What other natural (-ish... still man-made, built environments) places do you enjoy spending at Queen's or in Kingston? Let me know in the comments! 

Have a super day! Take some time to breathe outdoors for a bit! Enjoy the fall while we still can! 

-Diana Yoon