Seth Ratzlaff

Is The Boathouse Undemocratic?

Victoria Park could be an oasis of public space in a city that, by and large, doesn’t have much of it. Yet, it presents an unusual contradiction, one that may not seem so nefarious at first glance—it is, after all, just a restaurant. But, considering its profit-interested mandate, and its capacity to create class distinctions, I propose sober thinking about the whole enterprise. What is good public space? What makes a park special? Because of its location, when we gaze upon The Boathouse, we encounter more than just another restaurant. Rather, we encounter yet another opportunity for consumption, demanding our time and money, offering a forbidden fruit in the park. All it takes is a little cash, then, to have a special seat with the pretty view. Need another drink?