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posted April 12, 2005


From time to time, people ask: "how does one get involved with the friends of Dufferin Grove Park?" The fact is, the park friends are not an organization (no membership, no board, no annual meetings, no charitable status). That doesn’t mean the park’s friends don’t really exist, though. Year by year, there are more people who love the park and give their gifts to it (and to this neighborhood) in all sorts of ways.

Many of the gifts are secret - for example, nobody knows who brought all the toy trucks to the sand pit last summer, but this year they’ve shown up again, some of them with "property of Dufferin Grove Park" written on them in indelible marker. Nobody knows who planted the swamp willow down near the marsh garden, or who brought over the big ceramic turtle planter with herbs planted in it, for the rink house window sill.

Other times, the gifts people give to the park are widely known - from David Anderson’s Clay and Paper Theatre’s giant puppet performances and his grand annual Night of Dread Parade, to all the events and workshops listed in this newsletter, to Joe Adelaars' monthly newsletter posting, to Judy Simutis’ gifts of red-and-green Rice Crispy squares to the rink rats, for all holidays.

photo by Wallie Seto

More of the guests from the April Fools' Day "Active Park Friends" dinner.

At the end of the rink season, after the cybernetic e-storm around the human rights complaint at the rink had finally eased up, it seemed like a good time to count these blessings. The idea was to have a little post-season April Fools’ Friday Night Supper, for the particularly active friends of the park who are currently planning something for this spring and summer. At first we thought there would be a table of fifteen or twenty people who could tell each other about their plans. But when the park staff actually sat down and made a list, the numbers grew - and grew - and grew. Once the families or collaborators were added in, we had a list of 78 people. There were more, but we stopped calling people because more wouldn’t fit in the rink house. (If you didn’t get invited and you should have been, we’ll make it up to you.)

The park cooks rummaged in the freezer for the winter’s farmers’ market leftovers and produced a spectacular meal. The talk at the various tables was lively and people swapped their stories, although there was of course no unified conversation, with so many people. But it was a chance for the very active park friends to meet and admire one another. Who knew there were so many of us? But it shouldn’t have been a surprise, really - that’s why the park is so lively.

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