Go Skateboarding Day!

Heya, hiya, hoya. Happy Canada Day! True North, baby!

Right, so, a couple weeks back it was National Go Skateboarding Day. We, meaning Mama Sleuth and the Skateboy, had planned to traipse to the city and check out the Pop-up Skate sponsored by Octopus Skateboards but, we failed to calculate end-of-school-year events in our own locale as well as severe allergic reactions to one’s first bee sting. (Skateboy is ok, after the histamine overdose and subsequent infection, praise be to the Great Goddess.)

So, sadly, we missed the Pop-up Skate but, luckily some dear soul took vids and spliced them up into a nice montage. Looks like a good time, with stereotypical police attention but, some great prizes too.

Now, for your viewing pleasure…Go Skate Day, Halifax, 2018…

Two Sets of Wheels – Chester Style

Hot summer days make most folks think of beaches. My boys are no different but, owing to far too many days of being sunburnt on Cape Cod beaches as a child, Mama Structure Sleuth is no big fan of sunblock and sand, especially when they creep inside your swimsuit or continually find their way into your picnic sandwiches.

Besides, with so few truly nice days throughout a Nova Scotian year, the kids have been begging to get in as many road trips and visits to skate parks as we can manage. Little Trainman even got a new Thomas the Tank Engine scooter for his birthday last weekend.

We stayed a bit close to home today, using our hours of warm sunlight to visit the Chester Skate Park for the very first time. It’s quite well situated between 3 restaurants, affordable one’s too, not like those catering to the throng of American tourists so typical at this time of year. We took advantage and stopped for Chinese food before gearing up and hitting the ramps.

Our arrival at the park was around lunch time, which is a couple of hours before peak heat here in Nova Scotia so that gave us plenty of time to try out some features before the entire fam-jam melted like beeswax in the sun.
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Sushi & Dreads

Wicked good jaunt to the city today for a few of the Skateboy and Slueth-type errands.

Skateboy is trying to beg off of his haircut and forego his long-term surfer kid hairstyle in favour of dreads. Yes, he asked for some dreads when he was three. Mama said okay to the idea while we were enrolled at Waldorf, but changed her mind when we transferred to the French School. The place just seemed a bit more, well, prim and proper.

Now that we’ve been there a couple of years and Skateboy has impressed all of the faculty with his loquacious nature, I feel it’s okay to start breaking moulds. I dissed his mohawk idea, as I imagined myself spending hours with gel and spray, perfecting the gravity-defying nature of it, only to have it crushed a couple of hours later by Skateboy’s safety helmet. Ahem, no way, José.

Alrighty then, off to Life Salon in Halifax for a dreads consult. Seems like it might be an actual GO, so we’ll keep you updated with before and afters. 😉

This Structure Sleuth is also in the city trying to source some superb industrial-style lighting for the new art/writing studio she’s going to be renting. It’s located in a fabulous old Victorian building which will house the most amazing collective of female artists and creative-types that you can imagine, complete with tourist-friendly workshop and gallery space on the lower floors. Très excited to get in there!
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Moment of Humour

Seen today on my Facebook feed. Shared here because I think it’s f-ing funny. ( Sue me. I’ve have one skateboard kid and one who may…just may…be getting into scooters. Skateboards are better. Nah-nah-nah. 😛 )

It’s sunny outside. Hit the skate park. Have a handle bar free day! 😀

A New Skatepark? Say, What?!?

Well, the community has been waiting a long time and encountering many hurdles, but the day is nearly here…Bridgewater will soon have it’s own skatepark!

The site, like so many in Nova Scotia, seems to have been at least partially reclaimed from swamp and scrub ground. But, no matter. The location, just adjacent to the new Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (LCLC), is really quite ideal. It’s easy to get to and allows parents and younger siblings to engage in other activities while teens and tweens rock the new skatepark.

Officially the park is not yet open but all features of Phase 1 are in place and fully functional. The grand opening event is scheduled for July 14th, 2018 from noon to 3pm…music and snacks included. (Fundraising for Phase 2 continues. Please donate!)

Apparently there will be a week-long summer day camp focused on skateboarding safety that is on site sometime in August. Skateboy is jazzed about the opportunity!

So, without further adieu, the new facility…
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The Bridgewater Met Mart

In the “big” town near us, where the little explorers go to school, there is a rusty old structure kicking around behind the newfangled pharmacy and clinic.

I’ve lived in the area for about 7 years and have never gotten around to stopping to investigate. That’s likely due to growing and raising small humans while letting my business cool it’s heels very close to the dustbin, but I digress.

Standing side-by-side like two bloodstained skeletons of consumerism, the “South Shore Mall” buildings or Met Mart as some locals may know them, are a rather large poster child for what happens when trends and styles – architectural, traffic flow or otherwise – change so rapidly. Urban sprawl, urban decay and the like are all the result of right-nowism gone awry, with no attention paid to community needs such as walkability, public transport or heritage preservation.

This mall, in use until the late 90’s has two rumoured causes of it’s demise. The first being the newer, and larger, Bridgewater Mall, located down the block, beside the LaHave River and nearer to downtown. The other possible culprit, water damage. The buildings were apparently plagued with water issues, mostly arising from too high a water table underneath, leading to the being easily flooded.

But, the abandonment and “demolition” of these structures, whatever the true cause, is not without a different sort of merit, the kind that few pay attention to. That is the need for teens and preteens to congregate, to explore their independence, to SKATE for goodness sake. As a big believer in, and supporter of, freedom, fun, rebellious & (at least somewhat) respectful youth culture. I can see the beauty of these behemoths for what it is: a blank canvas where cool shit can go down outside the notice of most of the town inhabitants and inaccessible to cop cars.
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Skateboy Gets a Real Board

Owing to his success and the passion displayed at the recent “Skate Fundamentals” day, Skateboy has finally found a need for, and earned, a real skateboard.

Since he was upgrading from the tiniest, cheapest skateboard known to mankind, Mama Structure Sleuth thought we’d go BIG and get a nice locally made deck, crafted with love by Jesse at Homegrown Skateboards in lovely LaHave.

We had a special Mama & Skateboy Day, meaning no school on a school day, and went to Jesse’s shop to let the little man piece together his own board, with hand-chosen elements. He chose the limited run Fisherman’s Friend board, with multi-colour wheels, grip and stickers…one of which (the old school Alien Workshop one) was bequeathed to him by his late uncle Lukas…it’s been aging well in Mama’s care until this fella got old enough to slap it on a board. 🙂

After Skateboy and Jesse got the board all kitted out, the little skater got to try it out on the indoor skate bowl at Homegrown, with not too much success but, it will come in time. This is, after all, a much bigger board than he’s used to.

We left the skate shop and paused at the LaHave Bakery downstairs for some pastries and to let Mr. Skatey show off his new board to passersby.
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Finally, a Local Skateboarding Instructional

Well, after two years of “just messin’ about” with his little skateboard on our front walkway, Skateboy is trés jazzed that Mama Structure Sleuth finally managed to find a local get-together with experienced skaters offering up instruction to younger newcomers.

The event ‘Skate Fundamentals‘ was offered at the most rad local skate park, just recently constructed in Liverpool. The Mersey Skatepark has already become one of the most highly-celebrated in Eastern Canada, mostly for the size and variety of it’s ramps, bowls and obstacles. It was clearly designed by someone who loves to skate.

On our way to the event we had to stop and pick up a new set of pads for Skateboy. He chose Spiderman, por supuesto.

Upon arriving at the skate park it became clear that we were not the only folks who had been waiting for someone to host an event like this, especially since it had only just stopped raining moments before the event began. Ontario is chock full of skateboarding shops, lessons and summer camps but, naturally, we don’t get the full urban plethora of events and opportunities over here in peaceful, pokey ole Nova Scotia.

The two main instructors for the day were Jesse Watson of Homegrown Skateboards and an acquaintance of mine named Jay. They were both upbeat, knowledgeable and patient…a great combination for teaching frustrated know-it-alls like my Skateboy. 😛

Once he was finally shown a few things and set free on his own, Skateboy was truly in his element. He’d been hoping to get deeper into this skateboarding gig for a loooong time. Jesse was giving him some guidance on skating the ramp, but the board Skateboy had was…um…barely a board and more of a Barbie toy.
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All Aboard, For Coffee

Having bopped around Nova Scotia for a few years before finally settling on the area we now inhabit, this little family has catalogued knowledge of quite a few fun and quirky things to visit in our province. Some of them are places that we have already visited and others are places that we would like to get around to, one of these days. A place that had been visited by all of the family, except Trainman himself, is the Bike & Bean, a now defunct train station which has been converted into a bike shop and café. The rail trail that it sits on is a great walk/ride, as it connects the capital of city of Halifax to pretty much the entire South Coast of the province. A recent, relatively balmy, spring day afforded us a great opportunity to hit the trail and explore the “trainyness” of the café.

The first thing that Trainman noticed, as we arrived at the Bike & Bean was the orange caboose attached to the bike shop end of the building. He literally screeched at the sight.

We paused to check it out and allow the boys to be goofy for a while…as per usual.

Next we disembarked the bikes from the Thrive Mobile and hit the trail for a spell – shout out to the couple who helped pump up the back tire on Trainman’s fancy wooden trike, thereby avoiding complete tragedy.

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Bridge Over Golden Waters

Trainman did not have daycare today so the Structure Sleuth surprised him with a stroll on the rail trail, headed for the monstrously over-engineered train bridge at Gold River. This was a real treat as Trainman had never yet seen this spot.

Originally built for for the railway in 1905, the Gold River bridge saw it’s last train in 1991 and was converted for foot and cycle traffic in 2001 by the military engineers of 143 Airfield Engineering Flight, Bridgewater.

On our approach to the site we parked on the Old Bridge Road, adjacent to lands belonging to the Gold River Mi’kmaq Reserve. This provided us foot access to the underside of the trestles where the Structure Sleuth was in her jollies…minus the very powerful smell of creosote from the “weatherproofed” timbers.

Sleuth was impressed by the heft of the timbers used to construct the supports and the stunning stonework underpinnings. I mean, that was laid by hand! So precise.

All that Trainman could point out was that “Dis isn’t where da trains were. We need to go up theyah.”

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