TORONTO has thousands of squirrels, but I doubt “worthiness” has ever crossed their minds. Our black squirrels are interested in much more than acorns. They chew on wires, sharpen their teeth on window frames, perform acrobatics, inspect garbage cans, tease cats, destroy gardens, and generally make themselves at home.
Sculptor Mary Anne Barkhouse has immortalized four of them in bronze. In JOEL WEEKS PARK, behind Queen Street East at Carroll Street in Riverside, four worshipful rodents surround a giant nut.
Who was JOEL WEEKS, and why was a city park named after him? He was an 8-year-old charismatic youngster who drowned in a Riverside sewer pipe in 1982. Formerly this area was known as Don Mount, a public housing project, with few places for children to play. During a game of hide-and-seek, Joel crawled through a 9-inch opening into a sanitary sewer, and that’s where firefighters found him four hours later. This park was named in his memory.