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Jutta Mason, Editor

Dufferin Grove Park News Website and Newsletter

Jutta Mason
Jane LowBeer


Web address:

Park phone:
416 392-0913

Street address:
875 Dufferin Street

Editor (Main)


This page is now Jutta Mason's blog

some paint would help
August 18, 2017

I've had a number of comments about the August newsletter -- mainly people saying they liked the fact that a new one has come out but that they only had time to skim it. People are very busy. If a reader only has a minute to look, this Dufferin Grove food income graph in the newsletter is thought-provoking:

In other words, the food at the park no longer pays for itself, if I'm reading the city's book-keeping right. It appears that the food sales don't even cover the materials, and there is nothing left to pay the cooks. So the city subsidizes the food for park users by paying the cooks' wages out of the city's operating budget -- which can't be viable.

Jane Jacobs said| "The more that cities can make of their own ordinary people’s capacities for economic and social invention and experiment, the more useful and valuable cities become – not only for their own people but also for their nations."

Dufferin Grove is a poster child of the messy (and costly) results when managers squash the capacities of their "ordinary people" - in this case resourceful locally-oriented program staff. The policy jumble trumps good sense.

I'm told that Mayor John Tory advised the Bentway (Under-Gardiner) Park sponsors NOT to let the park be run by Parks and Rec because that department is "broken." Nice that the Bentway was able to detour into a Conservancy instead, but sooner or later our city councillors, including Councillor Bailao, need to address the problems that our taxes are funding, head-on.

March 27, 2017

Out with the old, in with the new?

Oct.2, 2016 The governor-general's Caring Canadians Award is being changed to a medal... to be called the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers. Here's an excerpt from my story of getting the Caring Canadians Award in 2012:

....At the time the bureaucratic troubles that we had been experiencing for years at Dufferin Grove Park were intensifying. So I was not feeling even slightly like a Caring Canadian, more like an Exasperated Canadian. On the other hand, a teenage cousin of mine from Berlin was scheduled to arrive in March for a two-months’ stay, to practice her English. I had been racking my brains for ways to keep her busy, and a visit to the Governor General’s house in Ottawa seemed like a possible adventure. So I accepted with gratitude....

my cousin Sophia at Rideau Hall

...The hall was beautifully set up with many round tables laden with different kinds of delicious hors d’oeuvres, soups, sandwiches, salads, fruit, and little specialty pastries. At the centre of many tables there was a large flower arrangement. An enormous full-length portrait of a young Queen Victoria dominated the room. Waiters in black walked around with glasses of wine. People filled up their plates, and stood in little groups chatting and networking.

I met a nice woman I knew years ago in Toronto. She said she was doing does data entry now in a federal office in Ottawa. She had come to the ceremony because, the afternoon before, a memo had gone out to government staff, urgently inviting anyone with time to come to some ceremony that might otherwise be seriously under-attended. They needed bodies in the seats, and in return the staff would get to eat a fine lunch at Rideau Hall, and maybe have a chance to chat with other government workers from other departments. So that explained it: most of the audience were from central casting, smiling and clapping for the ceremony. Just as we Caring Canadians were, maybe.

I found my cousin Sophia, and she said she had been kindly put in charge of some of the older guests, who had asked her about Berlin and helped her practice her English....

Read the whole story

May 23, 2016, Victoria Day Monday, the Walmart staff picnic:

the new Walmart manager, at the right

Some people gathered around a barbecue, beside the new sitting area by the bake oven. It turned out they were staff from Walmart. Apparently Walmart has a new manager, and he -- for the first time ever -- decreed a staff BBQ for the long weekend. He was there, as were some of his managers, and some of the floor staff as well. One of them, who said he is a greeter, had never been in the park although he said he'd been working at Walmart for 15 years. Now that he saw how green and cool it was, he said, he intended to come over for lunch sometimes.

The sun was hot and it seemed like a good idea to bring out the blue umbrellas and unlock the washroom for them, since more people would be coming. There were no park staff to do this because Parks and Recreation decreed that most of their facilities would be closed and unstaffed on statutory holidays -- to save having to pay their lowest-paid staff time-and-a-half.

But the park was very full, including this unannounced picnic. Walmart is a very near neighbour to Dufferin Grove Park -- in fact, it's right across the street -- the urban mix.


May 24, 2016

new benches, for staring contests

Over the past few weeks, a lot of new cement pads were poured in Dufferin Grove. Someone has made a decision that benches should be bolted down. But just so people don't feel lonely, there are two bench sets that face one another, closely. Not a comfortable way to approach strangers, though.


Editorial, September 2015

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