Victoria Park goes digital.
As festival season bears down on London, thousands will flock to Victoria Park for fun times in the sun. But before you go, I’d recommend a visit to a lesser-known side of Victoria Park – its unofficial website.
Wait, an unofficial website?
That’s right – the park and its (apparently rare) black squirrels have carved out their own little corner of digital space. However, it’s not affiliated with the City of London or any lottery (more on that later). What purpose does this website serve, you may ask? It may seem like quite the mystery, but we’ve come up with a few theories. So buckle up and plug in your Ethernet cables, because we’re going deep into the depths of the internet.
Theory 1: Your one-stop-site for all things squirrel-related
One of the first things you’ll notice about the site is that it takes every opportunity to show a picture and share the wonders of the black squirrel. Victoria Park is well-known for it’s friendly squirrels, and this site doesn’t let you forget it. The delightful website header’s guardian squirrels Lucky and Sugar-toes are ever-vigilant, protecting you from whatever may haunt you during your digital stay.
There’s an entire category on this website dedicated to Squirrel Stuff, featuring topics such as the squirrel gang epidemic and a list of reasons why being a Victoria Park squirrel makes you superior to the other rodents. The number one reason will blow you away.
There’s also some genuinely neat information about the black squirrels and the story of how they made their way to London. Another page gives an idea for a black squirrel festival for any organization that shares their vision and passion.
All things squirrel related? Check. Purpose served. But what about…
Theory 2: A sure-fire way to win the next lottery
Upon clicking around the webpage, you’ll come across many different advertisements for lucky black squirrel pins, as well as research proving that they work. There are even testimonies from people who have supposedly won it big with these charms.
This isn’t just one website – no, there’s a whole network of websites with similar design styles all promoting the lottery or lucky coins in some bizarre way. This website has proven that the mammal-luck market is made up of more than just rabbit’s feet.
But at least you won’t lose everything from trusting a lucky squirrel coin. Disclaimers on the squirrel coin store site state that they provide no mystical power. The “power is in the belief you put into them, gamble only what you can afford to lose.” Very reassuring.
A sure-fire lottery win through squirrel pins? Yep. But what about…
Theory 3: A relic of the early 2000s internet aesthetic
I consider the early 2000’s to be a hay-day of sorts for the world wide web. The trends are just so incredibly hilarious compared to the sophisticated HMTL5 and CSS that we enjoy today. There’s something about the layout of this website that reminds me of someone trying to rewind a DVD. They mean well but they’re not entirely with the times.
The tacky headers, compressed JPEGS, and odd font colours may have been breaking new ground at the time, but now they just seem archaic.
An altar to internet relics? Definitely. But what about…
Theory 4: A vessel for the single greatest London music video of all time
Poking around the website will reveal that Victoria Park has their own song: “The Black Squirrels of London Ontario.” A quick peek in the “Why this site” section will reveal an entire video to accompany it.
As a side note, the music is quite catchy. I’ve caught myself humming along to my favourite lyrics, “Vicky in Victoria Park / Vicky, London’s black squirrel / Log her in on your computer / Victoria dash park dot com.” That’s right, the song lyrics are the website URL.
The greatest music video of all time? Obviously. But what about…
Theory 5: A history lesson about Victoria Park
If you’ve visited Victoria Park, you’ve probably realized that there’s a lot of history inside it. It used to be a British garrison back in the early 1800’s. Articles on the site explore the monuments and tidbits of London history.
Once you’ve studied up, there’s some oddly specific quizzes about the cannons, the Cenotaph, and even the squirrels themselves. The trivia is quite challenging – even after reading all the history links I still came up with the confusing score of “IN NEED OF A LUCKY SQUIRREL PIN.” I’ve since found all the trivia rankings and while I don’t endorse the system, it’s quite amusing.
To be fair, a lot of the information is interesting and well-researched. It just loses some of its credibility when it’s right next to an ad trying to sell you on the magical lottery-winning powers of the black squirrel.
Go explore for yourself!
So if you find yourself inside on a rainy day, poke around the site for yourself and digitally scope out the park before the festivals take over. Maybe you’ll find an opportune moment to slip in that odd fact about black squirrels? Whatever you do, don’t hold us responsible for any impulse purchases of lucky pins.
If you’ve had your fill of black squirrel facts and optimistic lottery predictions, you can find upcoming Victoria Park festival listings here and don’t forget about other summer staples like Sunfest and Home County!
Feature photo by Thomas Sayers