Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2023/ Vogelsang Green

Vogelsang Green

It is no secret that am often critical of what our municipal governments do, especially when it comes to bike lanes. But sometimes I have to offer credit where credit is due, and so I congratulate the City of Kitchener for how they transformed Vogelsang Green.

Vogelsang Green is a tiny little park at the corner of Duke and Queen Streets. It used to be a jungle thicket of plants that I do not remember anybody ever using. I remember liking all the plants but I never sat there either. Then a few years ago they tore down everything and turned it into a lawn with some benches and picnic tables, and fairy lights running through a trellis overhead. Ordinarily I dislike manicured lawns, but in this case I have to admit that it worked: Vogelsang Green has become a hub of activity. City of Kitchener runs concerts and comedy shows there, which are well-attended. People sit on the benches. Dogs on leashes sniff around. Some other guy brings his dog in a stroller. It is rare to see the park completely unoccupied.

I frequent the park more than Victoria park for a number of reasons. First, it is used but often not too busy. Secondly, it is comfortable, especially in the summer. Thirdly (and maybe most relevantly?) the City of Kitchener offers free wifi there, so I can simultaneously waste my life on the internet while being outside. I distinctly remember spending a lot of time at that park while teaching one pandemic year -- I remember marking a midterm there.

Some homeless people like the park because there is an (unofficial) power outlet there, so they can charge their phones. But so far I have not seen anybody camping there. Maybe it is appropriate that poor people use the park, since one of the public sculptures is intended to represent poor people.

I suspect that one reason people don't camp there is because somebody cleverly installed anti-homeless technology: sprinklers which start spraying water everywhere at 11pm or midnight or something. I caught caught in those showers one night and it was unpleasant.

I will admit that there are not enough wild places in downtown Kitchener, and maybe I would appreciate the old wilder Vogelsang Green now than I did back then. But I think the revamp works pretty well overall.