Power to our park people who make green space better

Can you say lucky? Now say it again 24 more times, because that’s exactly how many parks and parkettes we have in our beautiful ward! And it’s our goal to empower our neighbours to form community stewardship groups for each and every park. Why not jump on the green-space bandwagon and lend a hand?

In early November we hosted our first-ever Park Summit at Malvern Collegiate Institute for a couple of our newly forming park groups. And what a treat to have the incomparable Dave Harvey, Toronto’s new ‘Park King’ and founder of Park People (www.parkpeople.ca), there to energize us. A lively discussion ensued about campfires, clay ovens, toboggan hills, skating rinks, trees, community gardens, playscapes and native botanicals. To date, here are the keen park groups in Ward 32:

Moncur Park
Lead: Dynamo Dawn Chapman.
Contact: dawn.hurley@virgin.net; of Moncur Park on Facebook.
Location: Coxwell, between Dundas and Gerrard.
Activities to date: designed park plan with city; hosted Movie Under the Stars Night last summer; undertook a small fundraising campaign.
Future plans: obtain not-for-profit status; find financial partners; spread the word; improve playscape; build an outdoor ice rink this winter.

Taxi Cab Alley
Lead: Go Getters Josh and Verena Besso of Upper Middle Gainsborough Residents’ Association (UMGRA).
Contact: catherd@primus.ca.
Location: Gainsborough, north of Eastwood. This little patch of land lies between the No Frills parking lot and a wide laneway, where taxis park.
Activities to date: in the process of determining who owns the land and if it can be transformed into a community parkette.
Future plans: plant trees, shrubs and flowers; add some benches; sit and smell the roses!
Josh is also a member of the infamous Ice Masters of Fairmount Park skating rink. This fabulous outdoor rink is 60 years young, and the park is oozing with camaraderie and community spirit, especially in the winter. Anyone else wishing to build an outdoor park ice rink should contact Josh.

William Hancox Park
We’re not even sure if this is the official name for the big empty field in the middle of the Ted Reeve subdivision! Parks staff is checking into this for us, and we’ll keep you posted.
Lead: Terrific Tony Corindia.
Contact: councillor_mcmahon@toronto.ca
Location: William Hancox, north of Gerrard.
Activities to date: organizing community meetings; spreading the word; requesting trees from Parks staff.
Future plans: finalize park name and work with Parks staff to create an eco-friendly landscape design with input from the whole community; build an outdoor ice rink.

Cassels Park
Cassels Park was unable to attend our Park Summit, but is keen to form a community group. Ideas of beautification, community gardens and playscape improvements have been tossed around. If you live in the immediate area of Cassels Park and are eager to help make it all a reality, please contact councillor_mcmahon@toronto.ca.

Love Crescent Parkette
Love Crescent Parkette visitors enjoyed a homemade outdoor skating rink last winter. But this year it’s the real McCoy, as Parks staff is installing an irrigation system. Look out, Dorothy Hamill!

East Lynn Park
One of our veteran groups is East Lynn Park. What a shining example of exactly what community stewardship can achieve with a generous helping of dedication, moxie and good old-fashioned team spirit.
Lead: Awesome Alison McMurray.
Contact: Danforth East Community Association (DECA); http://danfortheastcommunityassociation.com/.
Location: just south of the Danforth, between Coxwell and Woodbine.
Activities to date: Founded 14 years ago, this rock-solid group organized a $250,000 reno for the playscape; founded the park’s Farmers’ Market and DECA; organizes/hosts myriad annual events, such as the Danforth East Arts Fair, movie night and the much-loved Jack-o-Lantern Walk; makes an outdoor ice rink; and has a top-notch toboggan hill.
Future plans: more public benches; another walking path; on-site ‘hut’ to a washroom/mini kitchen.

Have a park or green space near your home?  Need help getting started?  We’re here and happy to help. And you can always count on our newly crowned Toronto Park King Dave Harvey to give you a great big dose of energy and enthusiasm.

If your group is feeling generous and would like to spread its park love and know-how, please don’t hesitate to take a newbie group under your wing and show ’em the ropes.  And what a great way to connect with neighbours, make new friends, and beautify and green your little corner of the planet.

If we’ve missed your park group, please let us know. Stay tuned for more information on future Park Summits, coming soon to a green space near you.


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