Column: The magic of the tower

Last week I wrote about the online auction to benefit the restoration of the Stanley Park Carillon Tower, and it took me back in time.

The tower stands in the rose garden and sends music into the air that always seemed magical when I was a child. I have written before about my connection to Stanley Park growing up on Granville Road. My backyard abutted the wildlife conservation and long before it was fenced in, I explored it.

But that was woods and wildlife, a far cry from the gorgeous roses that surround the tower. That was a different kind of exploring. I would walk among the roses and played on the stone entrance to the Carillon Tower where a slate map of the United States made for hours of fun and learning. I often used that map to recall the states and when my children were younger and learning state capitals, they, too, would use that slate map as a guide.

But when I was lucky enough to be there when the music played, that was the best place for an impromptu interpretive dance among the roses and around the fountain.

A few years ago, Stanley Park Managing Director Robert McKean took me “behind the scenes” at the park, including inside the Carillon Tower. I don’t recall ever being inside the tower as a child, so it was a special moment for me to go inside and see the heavy brass doors that depict scenes of the park. The stained-glass is stunning – and being restored as part of the tower project. Bob even brought me up to the top of the tower where the views of the gardens are stunning and the magic of the music happens.

While gathering information on the tower, I was given excerpts from notes sent to the park for the Carillon Tower dedication in June of 1950. Among the congratulatory letters were notes from Winston Churchill and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. I could not believe that such important leaders in our history were compelled to write to the park in honor of the tower. It is truly very special.

Every year, Stanley Park hosts a fundraiser earmarked toward a special project. This year, for the first time, the fundraiser is an online auction to benefit the Carillon Tower restoration project, which is estimated at close to $400,000. I urge everyone with a connection to this iconic landmark to visit stanleypark.org now through Sept. 18 and bid on one of the many lovely items and be part of the continued history of the Carillon Tower.

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