Coming a long way
Woman born in McIvers is a regular visitor, though she hasn’t lived there since childhood
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.
Kay Park, who now lives in England, is visiting her birthplace of McIvers for Come Home Year.