As a family we head off to Fort Edmonton Park a few times each year. Each trip typically comprises of an extended stay at the 1920's-style Midway (I have children), followed by a train trip to the Fort (also instigated by my children).
This first trip of the year started the same way except I had more than my usual amount of camera gear, because one of my daughters had wanted to expand her experience with telephoto. My original impression was to leave her carrying the extra gear, but that was just not a feasible idea considering she promptly left me with her share upon entering the Midway, and made for the ferris wheel and later the truly first class carousel (all rides are now inclusive in the price of the park pass I should add).
Other than the additional weight, the new arrangement wasn't all bad, I had time to actually enter into some deeper conversation with many of the interpreters in their various roles for the day; something I don't normally have the opportunity for.
I certainly had time to listen to the lamentations of a soldier recently returned from the Great War blinded, and how the compensation of the day would have been far greater if he had returned missing a limb. I even tried to shed some positive light on the rather gloomy topic, by reminding him that his present condition did earn him a free ticket back home, although such an attempt was almost immediately thwarted afterwards by my mischievous nature in suggesting that he could earn the difference in compensation by going back to Europe and returning a second time with said missing limb. Despite the laughter this comment generated, I couldn't quite avoid a feeling of embarrassment that I had committed some crime in the social art of make-believe conversation. Hastily withdrawing with a, "all the best to you," and some awkward goodbyes, I gathered my family, and left the Midway to allow these worthy interpreters a chance to review their script.
Unbeknownst to me the previous conversation initiated a change in my Ft. Edmonton Park routine. Maybe noting my strange embarrassment, my family, instead of waiting for the train decided the then presently stopped streetcar would be their choice for the day.
We don't normally take the streetcar, and I never quite give them much thought, having ridden the more "famous" variety in San Francisco, but I found this day's ride extremely enjoyable. I found myself studying all the various levers and buttons, and the few instruments; trying to discern their exact function, and observing the driver. The well-trained interpreters are really a wonderful element of the park, and whereas I've never seen them on the train, I was pleasantly surprised that aside from the driver other interpreters/guides enact their roles by using the streetcar.
Travelling through the 1920's, onto 1905 street, and turning around at 1885 street; we shared the streetcar with people dressed for the age, and going about their "normal" business. Having only decided recently to not hold any further conversation with park staff that day, it was still nice to have this impression of realism and vibrancy complement my day at the Fort.
I did say Fort, but here we departed from tradition for the second time this trip. My better half decided that we always go to the Fort, so we decided to walk 1885 street instead.
More interpreters, there seem to be more this year than previous years in memory, and having purchased some 1800's-styled treats from one running a shop we decided to make a go of 1885 street history.
With my newfound resolve to stay silent I actually learned more than I did from my typical park visit. I let my wife do the talking and I was voluntarily schooled in what it was like to live in Edmonton before the advent of the EIA, YEG, and my Twitter feed.
We made it quite a ways on foot, keeping my family in consideration, and there were plenty of buildings to duck out of the sun on a hot day. More importantly it was nice to know (for my children's sake) that the same kinds of sweetmeats were as readily found in 1905 as they were in 1885, and that inflation did not exist in Edmonton until the present age.
However all good things must come to an end, precipitated by the calamitous event that our treat budget ran dry sometime in the middle of 1905. That wasn't the only trouble, of course, I also made the mistake of asking for a posed photo, which in my family usually hastens the end of any outing.
In the end this was not our typical visit - we took the streetcar, no train, and no visit to the actual Fort. I was a little miffed because my daughter ended up using the extra gear to take only one picture, and I ended up carrying everything for the duration, but as we made our way toward the entrance, I certainly cannot say I was too disappointed because that's when the streetcar showed up to take us home.