The weekend of Feb. 2-3 was Super Bowl weekend but at Elm Pool Park in Dollard des Ormeaux, the big celebration going on had nothing to do with football. On Feb. 2, it was time for the Elm Pool Park 4th annual winter carnival.
Over 100 parents and children showed up for the many activities that were planned for the event: tobogganing, sledding, outdoor skating, tug-of-war, snow soccer, home-made chili, crafts, bake sale and warm cups of coffee to keep the parents warm while they laced up their kids’ skates and watched them play outside.
Pool president Marie Habib was glad to see so many of her friends and members of the pool turn up during the cold afternoon.
“We’re trying to revive something that was done in the 1970s where the whole community would come together in the winter because in the summer, we participate in an outdoor pool. The purpose of the carnival is that everybody gets back together and sees each other over the off-season. Every year it’s getting better and bigger,” she said.
She added that the success of winter carnivals and summer activities at Elm Pool is the direct effect of the strong sense of community that inhabits the neighbourhood.
“There is a big sense of community out here. The same kids grow up together, they’re anxious to see each other, they have their lifeguards: they come and see them, they look up to them. Some of the kids who also swam are now lifeguards at the pool. There is a sense of continuity. Kids grow up here and then they come and work here. The parents become friends,” she concluded.
Tina Ferris came with her eight-year-old daughter Vivian. The young one enjoyed the tobogganing the most because “it’s fast and it’s fun.” For the mother, it was an occasion to catch up with other moms she normally only sees during the summer.
“We have our group of moms that talk and watch the kids while they play. A lot of us haven’t seen each other since the summer pretty much. Some of us got babies or got pregnant and it’s nice to see everybody: the kids, how big they’ve gotten... It’s really nice for the kids to see their summer friends,” she said.
Ferris, like many others in the neighbourhood is a bona fide member of the pool with all it entails.
“We do a lot of things with the pool. In the summer, we’re there every morning for swimming lessons of the swim team, the evenings we do all the activities like the BBQs and the kids have so many friends there... It’s nice to have a community to be a part of and that the kids can grow up and be a part of.