Metal Detecting & Bagpiping
By Megan Hunka
Last summer I was a green shack leader, a job aptly named after the wobbly, green-coloured sheds that house crafts and sports supplies in certain playgrounds throughout Edmonton. Green shack leaders, also known as recreation technicians, plan everyday programs and fun activities for children who come to the playground during the summer. Leaders are characterized by their blue staff shirts.
One of my sites was at Parkallen, a neighbourhood on the south side of the city. Visit the Community League where the Ellingson Park playground is located and at first you’ll see basketball hoops with no nets, a wading pool with a cracked cement bottom converted into a spray deck and a graffitied green shack that sits on a slant.
But if you spend some time here, you’ll get to know members of the community. Perhaps you’ll meet the tightrope walker who strings his rope up between two trees. Perhaps you’ll meet the bagpiper who practices in the flower park. Or, perhaps you’ll meet the man who visits parks city-wide and combs the sand with his metal detector, looking for something of value. If you stop to talk to him, like I did, he’ll tell you all about his finds and how much they’re worth. And, maybe like me, you’ll think, “Wow, there are a lot of interesting people in Edmonton.”
Across the street from the playground on 111 Street are several family-owned shops including a Chinese restaurant and a yarn shop. This community is small but dynamic. I had a great summer here working with the children, their parents, and other members of the community.
And there are plenty of other communities like this one. Edmonton has beautiful parks and interesting people who frequent them. So visit this park or one of the 459 other parks in Edmonton. You’ll meet some remarkable people and, if you go to Ellingson Park, maybe have a bit of entertainment.