A Rather Eerie Sight This Morning

On Friday mornings I do my morning walk with my friend Christy. It rained this morning, so we decided to stay on the sidewalk rather than along the Harbourfront, and walk farther west on Toronto’s Queen’s Quay than we normally do.

And that’s when we came across a little park on the waterfront called Ireland Park.

It was a cloudy, wet morning, and these statues in the park came as something of a surprise to both of us.

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Quite the eerie sight! I’m glad I was there with Christy; there was no-one else around, and the air had that thickness to it you often get when it rains. Queue some scary music and a bit of fog, and I would have been out of there like a shot. But since Christy is one of those comforting, practical people you’d want to have with you in a haunted house, I stayed and even took pictures.

So of course I had to look up “Ireland Park” when I got home. It turns out Ireland Park is a memorial to the 38,000 Irish immigrants who came to Canada in 1847 to escape famine; more than 1,000 of them died that summer.

The statues are by artist Rowan Gillespie, and there are similar statues on Dublin’s quay side.

There is also a large limestone wall, which was shipped from Ireland. The names of those who died are engraved on it. According to Robert Kearns, the chair of the Ireland Park Foundation, “It represents the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland, the last sight seen by emigrants leaving home. The names of the dead are engraved on the gaps in the wall. The park is really a cemetery without bodies, for the people who didn’t make it.”

Yes, it was definitely a very interesting walk today!

22 thoughts on “A Rather Eerie Sight This Morning

    1. Belle Wong

      I was so glad I thought to look up the park when I got home, Kathy. Now that I know more about it, I’d like to visit again – only not on a rainy, gloomy day!

      Reply
  1. Kay

    How very interesting! I can see how it would be a little disconcerting to come upon them on a gloomy day. Thanks for sharing them with us. :-)

    Reply
  2. Athira

    Those pictures are both creepy and hard to look away from. I haven’t heard of this park either so thanks for posting about it. I agree – I would rather walk through the park when there is someone with me.

    Reply
    1. Belle Wong

      They’re very tragic, aren’t they? Especially once you know the story behind them. I’m glad I had someone with me, too!

      Reply
  3. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    Definitely eerie to come across the statues unexpectedly! How interesting about the park. I know my 2x great-grandfather came to the US through Canada in the early 1850s. I don’t think he stayed in the country for any length of time before moving into the US but I wasn’t aware how common that route was. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  4. Angie@Angela's Anxious Life

    It is sooooo neat when you just stumble upon stuff!! One time I got lost in my car and found a huge water fall and trails. It was really something. I think these pictures are beautiful. It’s amazing what can be in our backyards if we just go out and explore.

    Reply
  5. Melissa @ Bookmark Dragon

    Wow, that really is creepy! But also kind of cool. I like how they were able to find a way to memorialize those who died. That being said, I’m not sure what I would do if I randomly stumbled across those statues at a park near my house.

    Reply
    1. Belle Wong

      Yes, exactly! A little creepy but cool. And now that I know more about the statues, I want to go back another time, but in better weather :)

      Reply
  6. Ti

    They look like zombies to me! I’d probably turn and go the other way if those popped up in front of me.

    Yay!! You are doing so well with your walking? How do you feel?

    Reply
    1. Belle Wong

      That’s what I’d thought at first, too, Ti! The walking’s been great, except I’m not doing it as regularly any more now because the weather’s so much warmer and I hate walking when it’s hot out. And I’ve also been finding my early morning hours to be really productive, so I’ve had a few days now where I decided to “do a little bit of work” and then by the time I was done, it was too late (too hot) to go for a walk :(

      Reply

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