Com­ing a long way

Woman born in McIvers is a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor, though she hasn’t lived there since child­hood

The Western Star - - Front Page - BY GARY KEAN THE WESTERN STAR [email protected]­ern­star.com Twit­ter: WS_GaryKean

Kay Park made the long trek from the United King­dom to McIvers for Come Home Year.

Kay Park has tried to get home ev­ery sum­mer since she left McIvers and she def­i­nitely was not go­ing to miss 2017.

She may have been born in the Bay of Is­lands town, but Park moved away with her fam­ily to On­tario when she was about four years old.

She grew up in the Toronto area be­fore ven­tur­ing off to uni­ver­sity in Hal­i­fax and then St. John’s. Af­ter be­gin­ning her teach­ing ca­reer in Labrador, she moved to teach in Brighton, England, where Park has lived for the past seven years.

Al­though she has lit­tle mem­ory of when she was an ac­tual res­i­dent of McIvers, the home­town of both her par­ents — Frank and Doreen (nee Lovell) — will al­ways hold a spe­cial place in her heart.

“This was al­ways held home, no mat­ter where as we lived,” Park said in an in­ter­view Mon­day. “This is where we went when we said we were go­ing home.”

Dur­ing her reg­u­lar vis­its home, Park would al­ways meet up with fam­ily and friends she hadn’t seen in a while. Some still live in McIvers, while some just hap­pened to be vis­it­ing at the same time.

This year, she has a chance to see most of them dur­ing one visit.

“It’s just been in­cred­i­ble to see there’s been such a re­sponse,” she said of the Come Home Year crowds. “You never get to see every­body all at once like this.”

Be­sides rekin­dling old friend­ships and see­ing fam­ily she’s missed for years, Park said there is some­thing dif­fer­ent about the ex­cite­ment in town this time. Fam­i­lies have been do­ing their own thing in ad­di­tion to the com­mu­nity events.

Park her­self has taken time to visit with se­niors, some­thing she nor­mally might not do dur­ing a visit home. She was even head­ing out to a dart tour­na­ment Mon­day evening.

“I have no clue about darts, but I’m go­ing,” she said with a laugh.

Park was home last sum­mer and got to ex­pe­ri­ence the mad­ness of the now-fa­mous Chase the Ace fundraiser, which gen­er­ated hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars for the town to pre­pare for Come Home Year.

“This has re­ally given the town a boost and not just for now,” she said. “The stuff they have been able to do for the com­mu­nity that will con­tinue to be used, like the stage and the play­ground, is amaz­ing.”

The Come Home Year cel­e­bra­tion con­tin­ues in McIvers un­til the clos­ing cer­e­monies this week­end.

GARY KEAN/ THE WEST­ERN STAR

Kay Park, who now lives in Eng­land, is vis­it­ing her birth­place of McIvers for Come Home Year.

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