Sunnyside Beach Stone Labyrinth, Thanksgiving Sunday

The Sir Casimir Gzowski Park wading pool was my second labyrinth stop on this Thanksgiving Sunday 2011.

Having biked from Howard Junior Public School after experiencing their Species of The Humber Watershed playground labyrinth, I was en route to Butterfly Park just west of the Humber River. The original intention for the day was to create a giant Butterfly shaped labyrinth design. It has been on my mind for the past two summers, and today I finally made the time.

Watching a mother and son walk my wading pool labyrinth brought a smile to my face. Looking over to children climbing the nearby playground equipment, my eyes were drawn to the empty spot on the beach immediately south of the boardwalk.

As often happens in my labyrinth building, serendipity takes over and something else, somewhere else gets built first.

Only a moment was needed to decide to abandon plans for the Butterfly Labyrinth. Maybe it will get done next summer? Or the summer after that?

…I began measuring, then outlining circles in the sand…

Having completed outlining the circles in the sand, placing the turn-arounds and the unicursal entrance/exit facing the boardwalk, it was time to begin the heavy lifting.

Along the shoreline, about 10-20 seconds away, found objects included cracked cement blocks, bricks, stones, and a lack of waves.

Unlike Woodbine and the Eastern Beaches, where I have made many labyrinths, Toronto’s Western Beaches have a breakwater which lessen the impact of Lake Ontario’s incoming waves upon the shore.

Most noticeable after I had found my rhythm in stone gathering, placing, and returning for the next stone pickup, was this silence, this missing crashing of the waves, be it ever so slightly.

Perhaps the breakwater barrier was the first and outer-most labyrinth wall?

RT @ Inside+second inner circuits done. Sunnyside Beach labyrinth-in-progress. Toronto City of #Labyrinths ---
Nice RT @: Grandma & Grandkids become my first Labyrinth Walkers :-). #Toronto city of #Labyrinths ---
Jerzy Jarmasz

Many families were out and about today.

Among the first Labyrinth-in-progress walkers were combinations of grandparent and grandchildren.

I recall learning something via my dad that the reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy! 😉

People couldn’t wait for this labyrinth to be finished. Instinctively, people seemed to want to walk it while it was in the process of being built.

Almost every return trip from the shore with brick or stone in hand, found a new person winding their way around the ever-increasingly-completed labyrinth.

Passing the half-way point with more circuits completed than remaining, I was getting tired but was still confident this labyrinth could be completed today, saving me a return trip the next morning.

Soon after, Curtis and his family sat down nearby. He and his sons, Benjamin and James, joined in. Curtis carried larger stones and worked the outside circuit wall. His sons randomly chose pebbles and rocks placing them along the arcs in the sand.

Four Labyrinth Circuits done. Two to go! Sunnyside Beach. #Toronto City of #Labyrinths ---
@ what a perfect way to spend a day..the boys played in one of yr labyrinths this wk.
Hollie Pollard
These make me smile RT @: Four Labyrinth Circuits done. Two to go! Sunnyside Beach. Toronto City of #Labyrinths
Shazia McCormick

Often times with enough children pitching in to help, their curiosity is piqued and a labyrinth-in-progress becomes a classroom.

I taught a number of the kids how easy it was to create a classic three lane labyrinth by drawing it in the sand beside the outer-most wall.

Now it was my turn to learn something.

Years ago, I spent dozens and dozens of hours creating a giant 137 foot in diameter Dog Labyrinth in the off-leash area in Kew Beach, known as Dog Beach to the locals. Each lane was six feet wide with a huge open centre. I built it with space enough for dog and dog owner to walk together. Hence, a Giant Dog Labyrinth.

And then this happens…

Walking your dog in and out of a child-sized labyrinth? You can teach a dog new tricks!

It is very late in the afternoon now. I’m beat. But the labyrinth ain’t done yet. This is the point of exhaustion marathon runners call Hitting The Wall.

Often, when I Hit The Labyrinth Wall approaching day’s end, it becomes a great internal struggle to retrieve and place each of the final few bricks and stones needed to complete the outer-most circuits.

Not today.

Curtis and his two boys, Benjamin and James, plus a myriad of other children have stepped in to finish the Sunnsyside Beach Stone Labyrinth.

It’s allowed me to rest, recharge, and to simply enjoy watching the construction and nearing completion of this Labyrinth.

The big moment. Curtis is carrying a big, huge actually, final stone needed to complete the labyrinth.

He’ll drop it into position, into the southern most point and opposite of the unicursal entrance at the north end, and this labyrinth will be done.

Nearby, kites are flying, sandcastles are being built, passersby stroll along the boardwalk, the Sun is long, children re-create the centre of the labyrinth with their own sense of play.

Six hours after I began the Sunnyside Beach Stone Labyrinth, it’s completed with a lot of help from others.

One final look back. It’s hard to leave tonight. It was such a fun day. Now it’s home time.

To all the kids and the few grown-ups, especially Curtis, who helped build this stone labyrinth by Sunnyside Beach, there are only two words one can say on this Thanksgiving Sunday…

Many Thanks!

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