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Speakers Series

Speakers' Series

2009

The Monday Night Run/Walk Club

Beverley Coburn - Friday Night Supper Speaker’s Series, May 8, 2009


Kona Run Dig Me
Beach 2005

“Walking is man’s best medicine.”
This is a quote by HIPPOCRATES, a Greek Physician born 460 BC and the Father of Western Medicine.

The Monday Night Run/Walk Club meets every Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. for an easy-paced trek through our neighbourhood. Running is one of my passions - and walking is the oldest exercise prescribed by doctors – such as Hippocrates.

Technically, the difference between WALKING and RUNNING is that when you’re WALKING, you always have one foot on the ground and when you’re RUNNING at some point both feet are off the ground. JOGGING is slow RUNNING and SPRINTING is fast RUNNING. Humans are the only primates and mammals who have perfected the ability to WALK on two feet.

Click on poster to enlarge it.

CHANGES TO THE PLAYGROUND

On Friday May 15, from 6 to 8, City Councillor Adam Giambrone is the special guest at Friday Night Supper. The supper will be in an unusual location: at the playground. Adam will be available to take part in any and all conversations about upcoming playground changes. See the poster. For lots of background information about playgrounds, in Toronto and elsewhere, click here.

 

From the May 2009 Newsletter:

FRIDAY NIGHT SUPPER 6 - 7.30

Friday Night Supper never took an after-winter break this year – the park cooks were having too good of a time cooking. The supper is a City recreation program – good food from the farmers’ market, under the open sky whenever possible, in the company of neighbours.

The suppers have moved outside around the bake-oven for the summer. There is always soup, a vegetarian or vegan entrée, a meat entrée, a side dish, a salad, and dessert. There are always mini-pizzas, organic hot dogs, and park cookies, too, for those who are less adventuresome eaters. Most of the groceries are bought at the organic farmers’ market on Thursday, and most of the cooking is done in the two outdoor wood-fired bake-ovens. It’s very delicious food, and conforms largely to the 100-mile “locavore” boundary. There’s a suggested donation ($6 for the main dish, $2 for soup, $2.50 for dessert etc.), all of which goes back into the park, and to pay for the groceries. But if you can’t spare the cash, donate at some other time – nobody goes away hungry! (Of course, if you feel like donating more than the suggested amount, that’s fine too.)

Friday Night Supper after-dinner talks: postponed until fall

After trying the after-supper talks outside at the beginning of May, it’s pretty clear that it’s too noisy and too distracting. We’ll try again in the fall. These are the sessions that have been postponed until October:

Emergency readiness: Donna Cowan (president of the neighbourhood group DigIn) will introduce the discussion: how can we help each other in this neighbourhood if there’s another big blackout? A pandemic? (To help research this talk or contribute your knowledge, email mail@celos.ca.)

Composting, with Mike Nevin: the master composter at Foodshare and composting mentor to Dufferin Grove gardeners will describe how to turn food scraps and garden waste into beautiful soil, and how to deal with the critters who try to eat the compost.

Friday April 24 Speakers' series: people's law

Click on poster to enlarge it.

Belinda Cole has been studying the on-the-ground effects of laws on park campfires, picnics, farmers’ markets, shinny hockey players, playgrounds, and other public spaces for a long time. Can ordinary people get involved in making laws work for us, more often than every four years at election-time? Do the laws encourage us to speak, listen, and shape our surroundings? (They do in the Yukon – maybe we can learn from the Yukoners.) Belinda will show how easy it is to get “law literacy” and replace confusion with engaging conversations.

 

Speakers' Series April 17 2009

The CEntre for LOcal research into Public Space began, very slowly, at Dufferin Grove, in 2000. CELOS is concerned about the well-being of the “public commons.” The April 17 session will lay out how the group works, who does the research and how, and how CELOS relates to the city government (i.e. very closely, sometimes too close for comfort). Jutta Mason will ask the question: how long can CELOS last and still be fun?

 

DUFFERIN GROVE SPEAKERS’ SERIES, FRIDAYS 7 - 8 PM

Friday April 17: All you ever wanted to know about CELOS but were afraid to ask
Speaker: Jutta Mason
The CEntre for LOcal research into Public Space began, very slowly, at Dufferin Grove, in 2000. It incorporated as a non-profit in 2005, and it grew from being tiny to being small but busy. Activities range from publishing the park newsletter, to monitoring City spending, to making friends with other neighbourhood parks, to running three websites (dufferinpark.ca, cityrinks.ca, and celos.ca – of which celos.ca is a kind of “public filing cabinet” for whatever the CELOS researchers turn up...and more.

CELOS is concerned about the well-being of the “public commons.” The April 17 session will lay out how the group works, who does the research and how, and how CELOS relates to the city government (i.e. very closely, sometimes too close for comfort). Jutta will ask the question: how long can CELOS last and still be fun?

Friday April 24: The City of Toronto Act, two years later: who gets to have a say?
Speaker: Belinda Cole
The new City of Toronto Act is supposed to be reviewed this year, but ordinary people aren’t being asked how it’s working. Belinda has been studying the on-the-ground effects of laws on park campfires, picnics, farmers’ markets, shinny hockey players, playgrounds, and other public spaces for a long time. Can ordinary people get involved in making laws work for us, more often than every four years at election-time? Do the laws encourage us to speak, listen, and shape our surroundings? (They do in the Yukon – maybe we can learn from the Yukoners.) Belinda will show how easy it is to get “law literacy” and replace confusion with engaging conversations.

Speakers’ Series talks in May and June
Clay and Paper Theatre’s David Anderson: on bake ovens and music in Portugal; fitness trainer Beverley Coburn: on her Monday group walk/runs exploring the neighbourhood; DigIn chair Donna Cowan: on the Hydro Blackouts and what to do to get ready for the next time; “green” architect Rohan Walters: on new developments in Lane housing and backyard granny flats.

Not all the Speakers’ series are just talking – on March 20, Dave Gildiner and friends brought Nessie the Hydraulophone,” a water instrument which was played so beautifully by its inventor Steve Mann (a.k.a.”Cyborg Man”) and by many park children that it has to return to the playground to make more music in May. For Mike Sullivan’s Georgetown rail corridor talk on March 27 there was an electric train that kids could operate, in the entryway. There’s plenty of space in the Speakers’ Series to accommodate more show-and-tell as well as plain talk – suggestions very welcome!


Click on poster to enlarge it.

Speakers' Series: April 3rd, 2009, Georgetown Corridor Rail Expansion

Mike Sullivan, chair of the Weston Community Coalition, will be the speaker after this week's Friday Night Supper. He will tell what they have learned in in over five years of negotiation with three levels of government. The issue is the Georgetown rail corridor, which runs through this neighbourhood and many others. Will there be over 350 diesel trains a day within ten years? Read local e-list comments here.

 

Click on poster to enlarge it.

Speakers' Series: March 27, 6 to 8 pm. Friday Night Supper and "Nessie the Hydraulophone"

Dave Gildiner, who lives near the park, is part of a group that invented a new type of musical instrument that runs on water. It's called a "Nessie Hydraulophone." On Friday March 27, right after Friday Night Supper, "Nessie" will be setup in the rinkhouse for people to play. Dave's group wants to donate this instrument to the playground. Here's what they say about Nessie.

 

SPEAKERS’ SERIES RESUMES AT FRIDAY NIGHT SUPPER

March is the “brown month” in the park, also the mud month. But the rink clubhouse is dry and warm. The park cooks normally suspend the Friday Night Supper program in March and April, but this year they’re having too good of a time trying out new recipes. And there are important things to talk about (see below, and pages 5-6). Also, the economic slide is making cheap meals with neighbours at the park even more attractive than before. So the cooks are continuing with Friday night suppers.

Supper is on from 6 to 7.30, in the rink house. There is always soup, a vegan entrée, a meat entrée, a side dish, a salad, and dessert. Most of the groceries are bought at the organic farmers’ market on Thursday, and most of the cooking is done in the outdoor wood-fired bake-ovens. It’s very delicious food, and conforms largely to the 100-mile “locavore” boundary. There’s a suggested donation, all of which goes back into the park, and to pay for the groceries. But if you can’t spare the cash, donate at some other time – nobody goes away hungry! (Of course, if you feel like donating more than the suggested amount, that’s fine too.)

MARCH SPEAKERS’ SERIES TOPICS

- March 13: Cob, Chickens & Community
Georgie Donais brings her pictures and stories of Portland, Oregon’s annual gathering, the Village Building Convergence, showing how the city nurtures community innovation and connection between citizens. And backyard chickens.

- March 20: Crime in the Neighbourhood
Michael Monastyrskyj has been following up local arrests in court for over a year. This is his first report back, telling real-life neighbourhood stories ranging from illegal wine sales, to arson, to gun arrests.


Click on poster to enlarge it.

- March 27: Music of the hydraulaphone
Dave Gildiner is bringing this new instrument, developed at the University of Toronto, back to the park. It will be set up in the front room, close to a drain – it makes sounds with jets of water! Local musicians will be accompanying the other-wordly sound.

APRIL SPEAKERS’ SERIES:

Booked so far are: April 3, Mike Sullivan from the Weston Community Coalition, on the Georgetown Rail Corridor expansion; April 10 (Good Friday, no supper); April 17: Jutta Mason on Dufferin Grove Park as a community lab; April 24, Belinda Cole on the City of Toronto Act and how it affects local democracy. More topics TBA, suggestions welcome!

2008

Dufferin Grove's SPEAKERS’ SERIES #5:

Friday, September 5, 2008
San Francisco activist, and Critical Mass co-founder Chris Carlson will be speaking about his new book "Nowtopia - How Pirate Radio Programmers and Outlaw Cyclists and Vacant Lot Gardeners are Creating Community"

Time: 7.30 pm near the bake oven, or in the Rink House in case of rain. From organizer Andrew Munger: “Chris is a very engaging speaker and will be discussing issues of interest to our community.” From park friend and California ex-pat Matt Price: “Chris is an awesome force -- it's great to have him coming here, people should really be excited about him. He's also the force behind Processed World, for those of you who remember that, and a huge raft of other stuff in San Francisco.”

Chris Carlson - Dufferin Grove Speakers Series

Dufferin Grove's Speaker Series Continues on Friday, September 5, 2008

Park friend Andrew Munger is bringing San Francisco activist and Critical Mass co-founder Chris Carlson, to discuss his new book "Nowtopia - How Pirate Radio Programmers and Outlaw Cyclists and Vacant Lot Gardeners are Creating Community".

Andrew says "Chris is a very engaging speaker and will be discussing issues of interest to our community."

Copies of "Nowtopia" will be available for purchase.

7:30 PM near the bake oven, or in the Rink House in case of rain.

For more information about "Nowtopia" follow the link below.

http://www.akpress.org/2008/items/nowtopiaakpress

Chris’s blog


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Dufferin Grove Speakers’ Series #4: Friday August 22, 7.00 pm:

HOW TO BUILD PLAYGROUNDS WHERE KIDS LOVE TO PLAY. Location: near the pizza oven. Rain location: in the rink house.

In the summer of 2000, the Toronto school boards tore out 172 playgrounds.

Around the same time, provincially-funded daycares removed many of their best structures. And the City government began a $6 million “playground safety project” that resulted in the replacement of 49 park playgrounds and the removal of swings, climbers, and other play pieces in hundreds of other park playgrounds. Many parents objected, saying that the new plastic playgrounds and replacement pieces were dull and dumbed down.

All these changes were laid at the door of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), a manufacturers’ group that puts out voluntary “standards” for playground structures every few years. But the CSA denied that their standards had ever been meant to apply to existing structures – only to new equipment. (That restraint was ignored – see the CELOS website for more of the story.)

In the past few years, not much more has been removed. But now the next phase has begun. Dufferin Grove and some other city playgrounds have recently lost half their swings. And in the spring of 2009 the City plans to remove the whole wooden playground structure at Dufferin Grove, and replace it with a different structure.

Before the Parks planners bring the latest manufacturers’ catalogues out to the park, this fourth summer speakers’ series session will consider, in a broader way, what makes a playground exciting for kids. Invitations to contribute have gone out to:

  1. playground users who have photos and stories to share, of wonderful playgrounds they’ve encountered while travelling.
  2. A parent from the Kew Park playground, which was built by fundraising almost $300,000 (according to City staff Mike Schreiner, Parks and Recreation contributed $36,125, then-Councillor Tom Jacobek contributed $30,000, and Kaboom/Home Depot Play Structures, Central Fairbank Lumber, and Barrymore Furniture contributed $190,000 cash donations and $38,500 of in-kind services,).
  3. Parents who helped set up the Dufferin Grove sand play area, which cost $4000.
  4. A staff person from the Spiral Garden, an artist-run playground used by children who are Bloorview MacMillan Children’s Hospital patients, and also used by day camp kids from all over Toronto.

If you want to bring along photos/stories of good playgrounds that your kids love (including the present Dufferin Grove playground) please call the park at 416 392-0913 and leave your number, or e-mail mail@celos.ca. Kids too! Jutta will call you back.

Report on the Dufferin Grove Park Speakers’ Series #3 ''Granny Flats:

How to build them in Toronto, with designer Rohan Walters and home owner Alison Hall. This was held on July 2. The session was not well-attended, but a Star reporter saw the neighbourhood posters and did a full-page story the following week. Then CBC Vancouver picked it up and interviewed Rohan. It turns out that the mayor of North Vancouver lives in a granny flat, and CBC radio interviewed him too. He said the city planners there are more supportive of such flats than Toronto’s planners. Now CBC radio plans to broadcast the story nationally, and other stations have picked up the story too. Meantime, for those park users who couldn’t make it, some of Rohan and Alison’s presentation is mounted on the bulletin board at the back of the wading pool shed. It addresses how to change the city’s no to granny flats to yes'', for people in the neighbourhood who are getting old or whose parents are old, and who want an alternative to institutions.

Dufferin Grove Speaker’s Series #3: Wednesday July 2, 7.30 pm:


click on the image to enlarge it

Granny Flats: How to build them in Toronto, with architect Rohan Walters, home owner Alison Hall and city planner Elise Hug. Location: near the cob courtyard. Rain location: in the rink house.

The provincial government explicitly allows granny flats – small buildings at the back of a property where an elderly or challenged relative could live near enough for family assistance, but self-enclosed for independence. But the city’s planning department generally refuses permission. That was the case when Alison Hall commissioned a design for a granny flat where her garage is, on Delaware, so that her mother could live there and get help when she needs it. Local architect Rohan Walters designed a modest and attractive flat on the same footprint as the garage, but it was still a no go. This third “speakers’ series” conversation will address how to change the city’s no to yes, for people in the neighbourhood who are getting old or whose parents are old, and who want an alternative to institutions. There will be a display of blueprints and existing flats. The presentation will be about 20 minutes; the rest is conversation. See www.readingt.readingcities.com

In August (date still undetermined), the Speakers Series conversation #4 will be about how the “pattern language” of architect and master builder Christopher Alexander works for parks. More information: www.dufferinpark.ca.


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DUFFERIN GROVE PARK SPEAKER SERIES, Friday May 23rd 2008

Presents
Neighbourhood History
Dufferin Race Track and other local Stories
Long-time residents Michael Monastyrskyj and Adrienne Trent have collected local photos and stories from 1900 - 1960.

For more information: 416 392 0913


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