Nfld. & Labrador

Daughter's memorial to father turns private land into shortcut for walkers

Shannon O'Dea Dawson could have built a fence to keep people off her property but instead, she created a public space.

Rather than fence it in, a St. John's woman invites the public to enjoy Fay's Way

This St. John's pathway is a memorial to Fabian O'Dea who many knew as "Fay." He died in February 2017. His daughter, Shannon O'Dea Dawson looks after it. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Shannon O'Dea Dawson could have built a fence to keep people off her property in St. John's but instead, she created a public space — a memorial for her father — that she's inviting everyone to enjoy.

Her father, Fabian O'Dea, died in February 2017. Many knew him as Fay, so the garden and pathway O'Dea Dawson built on the family's property is known as Fay's Way.

Shannon O'Dea Dawson hopes garden she maintains in her father's memory will continue to flourish. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

O'Dea Dawson says her father was an avid, skilled gardener.

"This is just a little path dedicated to something he loved and was very good at. It's private land but it's a natural shortcut so I just wanted to welcome people," she said.

The path runs from Allandale Road to Bonaventure Avenue, near Elizabeth Avenue and provides an obvious shortcut to and from Memorial University. The O'Dea family owns all the buildings that surround it.

Fay's Way runs from Allandale Road to Bonaventure Avenue, near Elizabeth Avenue in St. John's. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

"I just want to welcome people. Often people don't know if they can cross land and they are so welcome to," she said.

"It's in remembrance of my dad who really loved to chat with people and tell a lot of stories and every time I come here to weed and plant, and care for it, everybody stops and says hello."

O'Dea Dawson is glad to see people using the shortcut but she is surprised by the attention it is getting in the media. It recently made the front page of the popular website Reddit.

"It was just a simple little idea. I didn't know it was going to get any attention,"​ she said.

O'Dea Dawson hopes the pathway's popularity will grow and she expects Fay's Way will become even more beautiful as she adds more plants and they spread and mature.


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