It’s like living in a park
NEIGHBOURHOOD: VICTORIA PARK
THEME: PLACE AND IDENTITY
Talking about belonging, greenery, parks, sense of home, nature, family
My childhood and teenage years
were very much connected to the nature,
soil, the grass. Even the colour green is
very much connected to my land and our national flag.
— Tanveer Ahmed
Tanveer Ahmed was born in Dhaka city, Bangladesh, where he lived most of his life. His motivation for migrating to Canada was to provide a more stable life for his family and a better education for his two kids. Upon arriving in Canada, he was introduced to the Victoria Park neighbourhood by a close friend who was helping them settle in the country.
Tanveer had strong first impressions of the Victoria Park neighbourhood. He vividly recalls walking the streets of Victoria park, mesmerized by the greenery, parks, and gardens. The Victoria Park neighbourhood had a charm to it, reminding him of his Dhaka city, where he grew up . He felt like he was living inside a park.
Tanveer’s appreciation for nature is deeply rooted in his upbringing and early life in Bangladesh. He reflects on the people, places, and experiences that have shaped him:
Bangladesh Tanveer was inspired by his mother’s leaf collection.
“My mother began her leaf collection when she was a student of grade 6. And growing up I would watch her collection grow. I watched in astonishment as she lay out the dried plants, herbs, leaves, and flowers, pressing them into her album. She collected leaves of melons, berries, oranges, to flowers like the cosmos,fern leaves, rice and lentil plants and seeds. . Then she would document where it came from, what season it was, and where she found it. It sparked an interest in me to pay close attention to nature and inspired me to add to that collection when she passed it down to me. I added a maple leaf upon my arrival to Canada. Looking back at this album is like looking back at pieces of my home country…
…A memory that stands out to me in connection to nature was a painting that I made when I was twelve years old. My mother painted landscapes, which inspired me to paint as well. One day the teacher asked the class to paint using watercolours, so I chose to paint my village. Like my mother, I had a keen eye for detail and wanted to capture fall in Bangladesh. Nabiganj was my village, twenty kilometres south of Dhaka city. It was surrounded by greenery. I painted the river, our traditional homes, grass, and white flowers called Kash flowers. Whenever you spotted a Kash flower you knew Fall was approaching. The greenery during spring was always charming. I remember the weather was never too hot or too cold, not much rain. There was always a gentle breeze. The rivers were full to the brim…
…For me, a sense of home has always been connected to nature. Living in the Victoria Park neighbourhood, all I have to do is open the door to my balcony to see that greenery. That’s my Victoria park. There’s something about the green fields, even the tree bark. There’s a beauty in it.”