Often we just did things as a family. The picture below shows my dad playing with two of my sisters and myself. It always seemed that the summers were longer and hotter when I was little.
Here's a picture from when I was really little (2nd from left) in a park. We probably had a picnic lunch. We were always doing this.
Stanley park was a great favourite. Here we are at lost lagoon feeding the ducks. (me on the left).
Then there was Lynn Canyon. We loved to hike in it, pretending we were soldiers, or explorers. Note that pine cones were always grenades. (me front row, right.)
But there was no treat like swimming in the summer. I think some summers I practically lived in my swim shorts. We'd go to McPherson pool for 15 cents admission, because it was close, or once I was 9 years old, we would sometimes go to Central Park pool, which was only 10 cents.
Sometimes we'd lay on the cement deck after swimming, and feel the hot, rough concrete under our soft tummies, baking them dry as the sun cooked our backs.
When I was really little, we'd go to Lobbly Park. It was just east of Nelson street, and one block in from Kingsway. The park is still there, and I recall Antoon (my oldest brother) was the playground attendent when he was 16 and 17, (I was 9 and 10). I remember climbing over the fence with a friend to explore an abandoned house in the next lane. We had to climb on a garbage can to get onto the high fence, we'd lay across it, the hot rough wood on our bare tummy, then slide down the other side.
One of our favourite swimming holes was Stanley Park's 2nd beach. Here's a picture of me with my friend Shawn goofing around near the playground. If you look close you can see the sand caked on our bare feet. Now this was living! (me on the left).
I'm sure that summer is just as fun for children today, as it was for me way back in the 1960s. But I suspect that we had a bit more freedom to roam, a few more places to roam without adults interfering, and it just seemed a bit safer to be a child then.