- Get Involved Meeting Calendar
- Burlington Community Engagement Charter
- IAP2 Public Participation Spectrum
Back in November, my sister took her daughters to Bronte Park where they discovered “the gnome trail”. My one niece loved it and told me excitedly the next day, about the “fairy tale theatre” and other things she had seen. I loved the idea so much, that I decided to try and start the same thing here. There were already beautiful painted rocks all over the place, which people seemed to enjoy, and this would take it all a step further.
I painted some wooden bird-houses, trees and animals and put them out along one of the trails. The idea grew. My mom helped out with the artistic side of things, while my dad was the handyman with the drill.
I made some little signs with positive, encouraging sayings on them such as “Believe In Yourself” or “You Are Enough”. I also made two larger signs saying “Sherwood’s Enchanted Forest Trail, This Way à”. The “enchanted forest” continued to grow and others began to add things as well!
Whenever someone saw me with something, I would just tell them that I loved what was going on, so I was making a contribution. Every single person I spoke to, young, old and everywhere in between, loved it as well. I didn’t hear a single complaint, in fact, people thanked me!
About a month ago, I was walking into the trail with some add-ons when to my complete disappointment, it was all gone. I have since found out that it was the City of Burlington who removed everything because they had not given permission for this. The exact words were “This area is a woodlot and is not intended to have such displays installed, certainly not without any prior discussion with City staff.”
If anyone from the city is reading this, I am truly sorry. I should have asked before starting the enchanted forest. I think it just got bigger than I expected, but regardless, I should have checked beforehand. However, was it really necessary to take it all down? There were some gorgeous things in there that had been worked hard on, and some had been done by young children who don’t understand where their artwork has gone.
This wasn’t just my project; it was a community project. In these dark days of COVID uncertainty, going for a walk is something we can still do, and if some wooden shapes and kind words can make someone’s walk more enjoyable, then really, what’s the harm?
I understand that not asking first was a poor judgement call on my part, but the entire neighbourhood should not be penalized for my mistake. Especially in a time when this kind of inspiration is something that the whole world so desperately needs.
Thank you, to all the people I’ve met, and those I didn’t who shared kind words, took pictures and contributed to the trail. Our efforts may have been removed from the forest, but will remain forever in our hearts and minds.