Plain and simple. I like parks. If there’s a park around, I will surely find my way to it at some point or another. I think you can really get a feel for a city when you visit its parks.
I come from a park town. Ottawa is well-known for its parks. In fact, there are over 850 to choose from. I like quiet walks through them in winter time. I like hanging out on benches with my friends or throwing a frisbee around. I love Art in the Park. I enjoy the seasonal displays of springtime flowers, colorful leaves and ice sculptures. If Ottawa were a color, it would be green. I love it.
Toronto’s parks are terrific too, but I like them best when I find one tucked away in unexpected places. Just when you think you’ve had enough of the concrete jungle, you stumble across a little hidden gem that just begs your attention.
Montreal’s park Ahuntsic is synonymous with summertime jazz and blues. Musicians from all over to gather here for BluesFest. You haven’t had a summertime experience in Montreal if you haven’t been to Ahuntsic Park
I spent an a lot of time in parks in China, especially while living in Changchun. At first, I went to the park near my apartment, where I wrote in my journal, watched people and made new friends. On windy days, I loved getting up early in the morning to join the throngs of people out flying kites. The parks in China are always thriving and there’s never a lack of things to do at any time of the year or any time of the day. We went on picnics. We rented boats and played games. We went fishing and skating. I joined hordes gathered in the cool shade during the heat of the summer to watch the giant TV screen, listen to live music and enjoy a cool cup of iced tea.
Taiwan has amazing parks too. I like small green areas tucked into the most unlikely places. I like the big sprawling parks in downtown Taipei. I especially love being able to escape up into the mountain parks within the area. Yangmingshan is incredible any time of year, but I like it best in the spring when the cherry blossoms, azalea and camellias are in full bloom. I spent the better part of last spring running along the trails of Datong Mountain. Taiwan is unbelievably rich in terms of national parks within close mileage of one another bringing Yangmingshan, Taroko Gorge, and Kenting together with the new High Speed Rail system.
Just recently I spent time in Yoyogi-koen in Tokyo, Japan. I quickly forgot I was in the biggest city in the world as soon as I entered. I’ve never seen so much diversity: From art in the park to amazing works of graffiti. From battling bands to drum circles. From romantic picnics to medieval summer night dreams all manifested right before my very eyes. This park echoes and mimics the personality of the city of Toyko down to its every last inch. It’s simply incredible.
I don’t know many people who like to take advantage of city parks while they are traveling. Most are too busy racing off to the nearest local attraction.
So I offer this word of advice.
“Stop and smell the roses. Don’t miss the next one. The beauty never ends, no matter where you are.”