Last year, the parade took place as the community was rallying to protest the over-development on the convent site - a property formerly owned by cloistered nuns which was bought by developers. Ashcroft, the developer, was defying city zoning guidelines and development plans and the community was incensed.
Many years ago, the Byron Path was a tramway line. Now it is a cycling/foot path. No matter the time of day, you can see people cycling, strolling, and walking their dogs under the bordering canopy of mature trees. Before and after school hours, the path is especially busy with children hurrying to and from classes.
Last year, Ashcroft threatened to cut a road through the park. The community fought back. This wasn't just about green space and over-development, it was an issue of safety for all the kids and families using the path. Finally Ashcroft back down. Or so we thought.
Shortly after I had started organizing the parade, the news came that Ashcroft was again filing for a road to cut through Byron Path. If I had wanted extra publicity for the parade, I couldn't have picked better timing. A local paper even picked up the story and my tweets got some traction on Twitter.
On Friday, the day before the parade, Ashcroft withdrew this part of its request (it's still asking for other things, like an extra story and a cut through a small residential street). I'd like to think it was the parade's superheros and fairies who scared them off.
So yesterday was a celebration after all. The fight against Ashcroft is not over, but many people expressed their relief that this valued path will be spared. We joyfully jangled, rattled, tweeted and clanged our way past the development site. We know that what we have is worth fighting for.