Easter in the City
One of the nice things about living in the city (Yes I confess to some admiration for urban living) is that on any particular festive occasion there is a wide variety of things to do to participate in it.
As I look over the activities in Toronto this Easter I find things from the Divine to the rediculous (or just fun and playful). The activities are both religious and secular something for everyone. There are sunrise services, passion plays, great musical concerts ( Handel's Messiah and Bach's Easter Oratorio). There are the community Easter Egg hunts for children as well as the very large one of Center Island.
One event I always associate with Easter is the Easter Parade in Toronto. I remember the one along to Boardwalk at Sunnyside, not that I ever experienced it (Maybe once) but because my mother told me all about it. It was a stroll really when people, particularly women, showed off their new Easter outfits and and enjoy the Spring weather. Sunnyside was beachfront amusement park on the west side of Toronto. It was important for my parents generation but actually closed down in 1954 so the ugliest cityscape of Toronto could be built, the elevated Gardiner Expressway, an accommadation to the automobile.
This early Toronto Easter Parade was in the spirit of the New York Easter parade and the inspiration of the movie "Easter Parade".
You know the song. I like this version by Sarah Vaughan and Billie Eckstine. Mainly, because I love Sarah Vaughan and consider myself to have been privileged for having seen her perform live once near the end of her career in Dallas, Texas.
In the early part of the 20th Century amusement parks were a major source of entertainment for urban dwellers, (before the automobile, TV and computers) Toronto in those early days was a small city of about 50,000 people. There were three amusement parks, on the east and west of the city and on the island. They were well used, as few could afford to escape the city in the summer. It was my generation that came to enjoy cottage life in rural central Ontario.
There is still an Easter Parade in Toronto but it is a standard street parade with little regards to showing off fashions. It is sponsored by the Lion's Club in the Beaches area of Toronto.
There was a time that Easter would be a time to only find Christians out in the streets and parks celebrating. But Toronto is a rich multicultural city with almost every religious and ethnic group represented in significant numbers. Today the Sikh community is having their Khalsa Day parade. They have a large parade each year to celebrate the beginning of their religion. Ten of thousands participate. Here is a video of the parade in 2007
The Sihk parade finishes in Downtown Toronto. It is interesting that the leaders of the New Democatic Party and the Liberal Party, will address the the Sikh rally since we are in the midst of a federal election. It seems the Christian's don't merit this special attention.
What ever you are doing this Easter, may you find it enjoyable and hopefully life affirming.
For me, this is the deep meaning for the Christian Easter message that Life should be lived in the fullness of God.