We saw our first pair on the windswept point below the Mayne Island lighthouse: perched high to take advantage of the views over the Straits of Georgia and the entrance to Active Pass. A few months later, on a stormy winter day we encountered another pair, this time on the rocky promontory that juts into the Pacific Ocean at Green Point,marking the boundary between Combers Beach and Long Beach.
“They” are pairs of red Adirondack chairs, placed by Parks Canada in well over 100 locations across Canada, the first ones appearing in Gros Morne National Park over three years ago. they serve no purpose other than to invite the traveler to sit and linger and take in the view, and they are delightful.
For the ardent hiker they offer the surprise of an unexpectedly luxurious repose; to the ambler, a ready excuse to dally a while, and to the photographer, a splash of color to help compose the perfect landscape photo. It’s not often that one can accuse a government bureaucrat of harboring a sense of whimsy. but clearly one or two playful types have somehow infiltrated Parks Canada and I think our parks are better for them.
I feel compelled to register my approval of the Red Chair Project since it is not without controversy. There are it seems, purists amongst the users of the parks who are affronted by those little splashes of color, or feel that the wilderness is somehow tainted by the presence of the chairs. To each his own I suppose, but for the critics I think the words of Benjamin Franklin quoted above are apt.
For the rest of us- let’s sink back into the comfort of these chairs, draw a long, deep breath, relax and enjoy the view!