Ten, Nine , Eight….Royal City Space Program.


Model rocket launch in Grimston Park
Model rocket launch in Grimston Park

Over the last weekend, our family took advantage of the beautiful weather and the crowd gathered for our son’s birthday and we launched off a couple of model rockets from the Grimston Park field. We had a BLAST, (Yuk Yuk)! We do this ever so often. Once, last April, as soon as we had everything set up, it started to snow and the rocket launched into a growing blizzard of white.


The launches have been nothing fancy, a little kit rocket that we painted red and blue and stuff with an entry level ‘A’ engine. It makes a satisfying ‘whooosh’ as the little craft flies upwards. By the time the kids, neighbours and park goers track the rocket a few hundred feet high; there is a ‘POP!’ and the orange streamers come out and the thing floats back to the field.

Or at least that is the plan. This weekend we built a slightly larger and heavier rocket; still painted red and blue, still an off the shelf starter kit and still with a entry level engine: this time a ‘B’. That was the difference. For your information, my fellow residents, the Grimston Park field is far less appropriate for the ‘B’ engine than it is for the ‘A’ engine. After one rocket came down on sleepy Nanaimo St, a second on the 7-11 bike trail under the Skytrain line (recovered) and a third lost in the houses round about Hamilton and 19th, we concluded that for future B engine launches, we will use the NWSS field or the South Field of Queens Park.

I am not the first New Westminsterite that has looked elsewhere for a place to ‘blast off. Today, New Westminster native and Canadian Astronaut rocketed into space on a Russian craft from Kazakhstan yesterday, no doubt with more room than just the Grimston Park Field.

Bob Thirsk was a resident in family medicine in Montreal before he responded to an advertisement carried by all of the major Canadian newspapers in 1983. A member ofthe Canadian Space Agency Program since that time, Thirsk has been a payload specialist on a launch in 1998 and has participated in many other missions in training or ground command roles. The launch in the Souyuz craft yesterday marks the first time a Canadian has been launched into space on a Russian vehicle.

I will definitely have some stories to tell the boys when I get home tonight. Rockets! Space! Canadians! New Westminster! I love how it all comes together. We will keep launching rockets in Grimston, Queens or wherever because, there is no limit to what a New Westminsterite can do!

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