Last weekend, Georgia, Shawn and their three-year-old daughter, Ele, grabbed a tent and sleeping bags, jumped on their bikes and headed downtown. They were one of two dozen lucky families that slept under the stars, against a backdrop of skyscrapers, for the David Suzuki Foundation's first-ever Homegrown Jamboree.
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As part of the Homegrown National Park Project, the special overnight campout was held at Toronto's historic Fort York, a green urban space rapidly becoming one of the city's most exciting cultural hubs, hosting music, arts and food festivals each weekend.
Jamboree families spent the sunny Saturday afternoon touring the site and reliving local history, complete with cannon fire, muskets and fife-and-drum processions. After closing, they pitched their tents on the Fort's grounds and headed to the mess hall for tasty, traditional stew, circa 1812.
Sunset was time for (vegan and non-vegan) s'mores around the fire and spooky ghost walks with one of Fort York's great storytellers. A full moon added to the evening's special glow.
While the many kids conked out and slept through the night, the hum of the nearby Gardiner Expressway and rail corridor kept most parents (including me!) awake. Still, a crew of smiling, happy campers arose on Sunday for a simple breakfast before taking down the tents and packing out.
Check out more Homegrown Jamboree photos here.
Special thanks to the staff at Fort York Historic Site and the volunteer Homegrown Park Rangers for making the event such a success.
We look forward to camping in the city again next year!