Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I am not really a very nice person

When we were in Germany, we saw SO many beautiful, round fountains in the middle of parks.  And I thought: how come we don't have fountains like that at home?  Then I remembered the dog fountain.

The dog fountain is the new addition to the park near our condo.  It's a smallish park, enormously popular for at least 25 years with office workers at lunchtime on a weekday.  But a couple of years ago, the city decided to make a fresh start with it, and they finally unveiled their work this spring.

(side note: can you believe how much of the land around the dog fountain has been bricked over?? try that in a residential property and you'll have your wrist slapped for exceeding your coverage allowance.)

I've lived here for a couple of years now, and I follow developments in real estate because we have two places to live right now and will soon need only one, so I've noticed that a LOT of young families are starting out in tiny downtown condos these days.  Some of them are in our building, in fact.   And the park sites near here are pretty limited for children.  Really there's only one viable option for running and play and it's a few blocks away, so I was kind of hoping the 'new' park would acknowledge the growing small person population and feature a nod to kids who would like to be kids.  After all, we're really near a ton of hotels which are also without play space, and vacationing families walk past this park just as often as local ones do.

However, as child-centered families are increasing downtown, so are dog-centred families.  Every morning I see people walking their dogs(s), who are often VERY large, before returning them to their tiny condos and heading out to work.  There aren't any off-leash areas close to our neighbourhood and it's not practical to make one out of this small park, even if it is bigger than the closest off leash area (which has neither grass nor shade and is really just a tiny plot of mud with chain link fence around it.)  A decent off-leash zone is clearly needed.  I feel so badly for those big dogs, some of whom are greyhounds and would probably love to run more, and you can nod to anybody who deserves acknowledgement, even if you don't actually accommodate them. 

I guess that's why, when the park was finally finished and revealed to have zero play equipment for children, it still had miles of benches for office workers having lunch, and also, a giant tiered fountain with a dog bone at the top.

If I were a nicer person, I would find the bone charming.  And I do in a way.  I would prefer an ironically elegant version made out of a more traditional material, but it's still quirky, and quirky is good, and I see the allure of a golden bone just out of reach, even if I think it's a shame we finally got a fountain in our park and it's got a dog bone on the top.

I think the problem for me is the dogs that were placed around the fountain while we were away.  I am sure that if I were nicer, I would think they were adorable and make sense of the golden bone, and not notice how much they look like they have all chosen the same moment to projectile vomit into a large basin.

I would probably also not notice that the artist made the dogs anatomically correct and positioned them facing away from viewers, with their unfortunately-shaped tails curved up firmly onto their backs for maximum gender-determination opportunities.  But I did, and I am sufficiently not nice to offer you a photograph of same, albeit not in closeup. I mean, I'm not a monster.

Those are cat faces along the side of the first-tier bowl, by the way, spitting water back at the dogs.  I find this feature very clever even if it does cast a subtle aspersion on the character of a cat.

I guess the thing about downtown parks in tourist areas these days is that you have to put something photograph-able in them.  Something people will post on Instagram with something like, Adorable! or You Have To Travel Here And See This In Person!  Something like Chicago's bean, which I just wanted to hug and touch and stare at the whole time I was in Chicago.

I don't think the dog fountain is anywhere near the same league as the bean because what can top that huge shiny reflective beautiful thing?  But I will admit, no matter how not nice I am, that it's got more of a cute factor than the donkey fountain we saw in Berchtesgaden.

I mean, that poor animal!  He just makes me want to find the nearest vet to come and help with whatever he's got wrong with him.

Okay I'll stop complaining about the fountain now but to their credit, the dogs around it are amazingly life-sized and brightly coloured.  you should totally travel to Toronto and check them out while you're here, and enjoy a nice meal in a local restaurant while you're at it.

(The fountain may be dated already anyway; tonight as I was walking up Church Street I saw a guy out walking his TURTLE.)


Kathy said...

That fountain is just bizarre! I agree about catering for kids.

I would have liked to see a fountain, (if it absolutely *had* to be a fountain rather than swings and roundabouts), with models/sculptures of children and also REAL LIVE CHILDREN playing in the water.

Mary Keenan said...

Kathy, you will be happy to know I saw real live children splashing water from the stuff spurting out of the dogs' mouths when I walked through there the other night :^)