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June 2007

posted June 2, 2007, updated June 12, 2007

Friends of Dufferin Grove Park Newsletter


Volume 8 Number 6, June 2007

At Dufferin Grove Park:


Special Friday Night Supper "Fundraising Friday Night Supper for local theater group "Ahuri Theater"

Tonight Friday June 29th: 6-7:30:

It will be a culture shock at this Friday's supper! Ahuri Theatre, a local theatre group, has invited actors from Japan and Sweden to perform in Toronto and prepare traditional meals from their countries. Travel the culinary world in the comfort of Dufferin Grove Park!

The Menu:

Soup: Fresh Tomatoe Basil Soup served cold Meat Dish: Swedish Delight (Swedish Meat Balls, Potatoes and green salad) Vegan: Japanese Feast (Japanese Maki, green sesame salad and japanese style pickles) Desert: Grilled Country Apples

A little bit of backgroud -

Ahuri Theatre was formed out of the initiative of local theatre artists to connect and explore theatrical traditions with cultures from around the world. With four different languages represented, Ahuri Theatre has created their first full length production entitled Yabu No Naka: Distruthted which played to rave reviews in Montreal. Toronto audiences will have the opportunity to catch this production at the Toronto Fringe Festival from July 5-15. What started locally has now expanded internationally, and Ahuri Theatre has been invited to perform in Japan in April 2008.

Yabu No Naka:Distruthted Presented at the Toronto Fringe Festival Venue #26, Polish Combatants Association Garage 206 Beverley st. Tickets : 10$

Schedule : July 5-15th - Every day - 9 pm

AND... Don't miss our physical theatre workshops in Toronto:

Fresh Air Fair "Journeys into Climate Change"

Sunday June 3, 11am to 3pm:

This event is a regional fair booked into Dufferin Grove Park by Parks supervisor Peter Leiss, through the City of Toronto Permits section. From organizer Melissa Greiner of Clean Air Partnership:

For the past two years, the Fresh Air Fair focused on environmentally friendly products and organizations. This year, we are adding a focus: climate change. All Non- governmental Organizations, retail, and sponsor booths will showcase information, products, and/or services related to climate change.

Each booth will utilize signage to illustrate the link between their work and the climate change. Retailers will be onsite to allow participants to turn their increased awareness into action through the purchase of energy conservation products.

We will create a journey through different aspects of climate change by using a "footprints" path to guide the audience through the event grounds. To help give the "journey" a realistic feel, each visitor will receive a passport to travel with from booth to booth. Participants will collect stamps and sign their names to a pledge. The booths will draw attention to the connections between our everyday actions, climate change, and on-going air quality issues. Appearing on the City’s Showmobile:

  • Earth Rangers: How climate change is effecting the earth and its animals. Meet and greet animals – tangible realities of climate change. (two 22-minute shows)
  • Clean Air Foundation: Interactive computer display/car heaven/Electric Car/hybrid boat. - Toronto Public Health: 20/20 program/how to lower your home and car energy use by 20%.
  • Sierra Club Toronto Group: Sierra Club’s Climate Change work.
  • Environment Canada: How to lower energy use
  • Zero Footprint: Computer that computes wasted energy.
  • Green Tourism: Traveling by train? Contest.
  • Enbridge: Saving Energy within your home.
  • Red Spirit Drummers: “Taking care of the earth” drumming and dancing.
  • Ontario Science Centre: Scientific experiments on climate change.

The Fresh Air Fair engages children, youth, and families through displays, exhibits and live entertainment and “how to” information and an opportunity to purchase relevant products. LEAF: tree tour and perennials for sale. Community Bicycle Network, Autoshare.

New Content: Specific new aspects of this year’s fair include – New green venue (Dufferin Grove Park). Exhibit booths – all booths are required to be interactive and focus on climate change. Merchandise exhibits – consumers will not only learn about but also purchase new energy-efficient products

Sponsors: Toronto Atmospheric Fund/ Enbridge Gas Distribution/ Shell Environmental Fund/ Dufferin retailers/ Laidlaw Foundation.”

See website.

Stilt-walking workshops with Clay and Paper Theatre.

Friday June 1, 7-9 pm and Wed. June 6, 7-9 pm

Location: Meet at the Field House in Dufferin Grove Park.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can learn to walk high above the crowd. Price is pay-what-you-can, with a suggested donation of $5. We may relocate to another area of the park - so if you are late and can't find us, call Krista at 416-316-4461.

Natural Health Practitioners in the Grove:

Thursday June 14 from 3:00 till 7:00 pm

From Anne Shaddick:

“Natural Health Practitioners from a variety of modalities will be gathered in the Grove on, to offer the community a sampling of the work that they do. If you have been curious, but have yet to try out some of these approaches, here is your chance to receive the offerings of those in your community trained to give you something you can truly benefit from. Rain date June 21st. We look forward to seeing you!”


Saturday June 16, 10-2 pm

Councillor Adam Giambrone is having his annual summer BBQ and lawn sale. From the Councillor´s office:

Book your free table now to avoid disappointment. There will be displays from the Police, Fire, EMS, Public Health, and fun activities for the whole family. Free hot dogs while supplies last. Come and have a great time in Davenport's outdoor community centre Dufferin Grove Park--For more information contact or 416-329-7012.

Environment Day is coming!

Saturday June 16 10 -2 PM Dufferin Mall Parking lot.

Come get your recycling boxes, free compost, and other City of Toronto environment strategies. For more information please contact: or 416-329-7012

Cooking Fire Theatre Festival.

Wednesday June 20 to Sunday June 24, 7 to 9.30 pm.

From director Kate Cayley:

For the fourth year in a row, Dufferin Grove Park will host Cooking Fire Theatre Festival. Each night, dinner will be served at 6:00, with pay-what-you-can performances running from 7:00 to 9:30. This year, the festival will show work by Les Trouveres (the marvelous stilt walking hosts of last year’s festival, with friends and pet poodle), The Golgi Apparatus with Bigfoot (featuring park staff Sandy Gribbin, Christina Serra and Dan Watson), The Spee Society with Lear’s Shadow (King Lear as seen by the Fool, in fifteen minutes), Independent Auntie with their new kid’s show Robber’s Daughters, and American puppet company Rain Machine with How to Tie a Knot. For a full schedule, look up or call 416-538-6084.

A crowd is enraptured with one of the Cooking Fire plays, June 21, 2007
(Thanks to Wallie Seto for the photo)

5th Annual Day of De Light

Saturday June 23, 2-5 pm

A celebration of love, courtship and desire! Day of De Light. Join Clay and Paper Theatre at Dufferin Grove Park for an artful afternoon of theatre, dance, music, and all things de-lightful! Pay-What-You-Can, suggested $10.


Trinity Bellwoods Park Day

Sunday June 3: 10 a.m. to 2 pm.

Trinity Bellwoods Park has the same problem as Dufferin Grove and many other parks – ailing park benches and picnic tables. A coat of paint won’t fix existing wood rot but it will postpone further deterioration, and look nicer. Jane Wells from the CARE kids’ program has offered to coordinate painting the benches with the kids on June 3rd. From coordinator Anna Hill:

“We are asking [Parks supervisor] Peter Leiss for paint to paint the benches. We're hoping for some fun colors like yellow, red, aqua etc. We're also planning to paint our wading pool.”

Dovercourt Park Tree Festival

Saturday June 16 . 12.00 - 5.00 pm

From organizers Gabrielle Langlois and Andrea Dawber:

There will be local tree tours, wading pool preview (if it’s hot), face painting, environment activities for children. Also: there will be certified arborists for consultations, a heritage tree talk by the Ontario Urban Forest Council, and an exhibit of public space redesigns. LEAF will have perennials & shrubs for sale. Live music, Afro-Caribbean dancers, campfire, BBQ, and Dufferin Grove food cart , CTW robots and games for kids. Art contributions from St. Anthony's and Dovercourt schools. Co-produced by: GreenHere, Ontario Urban Forest Council, Toronto Parks and Recreation. Participants Ontario Urban Forest Council, Trees Davenport, City of Toronto Urban Forestry, LEAF, FoodShare, BIA Dovercourt Village,Toronto Environmental Alliance.



Tuesdays noon to 2 pm, Sundays 1 pm to 3 pm (weather permitting - call the park for updates on days of inclement weather - 416-392-0913).

You can make your own pizza in our wood fired bread ovens. The rules are the same as last year -- $2 per pizza (you get a lump of dough, some tomato sauce, and cheese, and you can pick toppings from the park gardens when they’re growing there). If you plan to bring a big group please call ahead to warn the staff 416-392-0913 or email Birthday parties: you can book them on Sundays before or after the public pizza times (i.e. birthday parties are at noon or 3 pm). It costs $45 for staffing, plus the regular $2 per pizza. If you can’t afford that, park staff will work out a trade with you. Note: from time to time, a newcomer discovers the pizza ovens, and really wants to try it. If that happens during a birthday party, please include them so they have a chance. They’ll know the right time for public pizza time the next time.


Fridays, 6-7:30pm

By the oven, made with fresh ingredients from the farmers´ market. This is also a weekly fundraiser for park programs. All the surplus from the $6 entrée cost goes to enriching programming at the playground in the summer. A win-win! Cooks this year (taking turns) are Mary Sylwester, Amy Withers, Anna Bekerman, and Yo Utano. Supper is served from 6 to 7.30 p.m, no reservations needed. There will be two lineups and a separate kids’ station like last year, so hopefully no frustration.

A blustery Friday night supper. Friday June 8 Toronto experienced a pretty intense storm and the park saw quite a few branches fall – there was a particularly large branch in the playground that recreation staff and park users dragged to one side to clear access to the sandpit. Despite the rain and dust-hurling winds, Friday night supper wasn’t cancelled, and quite a few people braved the storm to enjoy Chicken Divan and Chickpea Curry Pot Pie inside the rinkhouse, while they traded stories about surviving the adventurous trip to dinner.

Please note that Friday Night Supper usually does not get called off until about 5pm, so call around then - we update the phone message in inclement weather - 416-392-0913

Photo by Laura Berman


These times are often taken by groups, but are open for drop-ins as well, no fee.

  • Mondays 5-10pm (roller ball hockey on the rink).
  • Tuesdays 5-10pm (ball hockey on the rink)
  • Wednesdays 5-10pm (cricket on the rink).
  • Thursdays 5-10pm (ball hockey on the rink).
  • Saturdays 2-5pm (ball hockey on the rink).
  • Saturdays 5-10pm (ball hockey, cricket or soccer on the rink or soccer field).
  • Sunday 10am-noon (women’s soccer, soccer field)

Call the park for more information: 416 392-0913 or email


a Night of Dread Bonfire at Dufferin Park
Normally campfires have to be small

Since the campfires resumed, there’s been a big enthusiasm for them, with many people wanting to book a campfire for celebrations of one kind or another (or just celebrating the return of the light and the warmth of spring). But it’s important to be mindful of park neighbours and other park users. The south campfire area near the cob courtyard is very near to houses. It’s an excellent location for campfires where families are involved, so that the kids can play in the sandpit or the playground, and their parents can still see them. But it’s a bad location for music-making or loud enthusiastic campfire discussions.

The centre campfire area is generally better for adults, but still not good for hand drums. Percussive music-making needs to be down in the Garrison Creek hollow, where the hillside gives some protection against park noise.

Park on-site staff will be booking groups with kids into the south campfire area, and the others into the centre. Note also that all campfires are done at 11 pm. If park users see campfires later than that, those people probably didn’t arrange it with staff. That’s not okay – call 416 896-8942 or 416 709-0573, and somebody will be over there on the double.


beginning Saturday, June 23

Dufferin Dance is back! Eroca will be teaching dance in the park, beginning Saturday, June 23. The schedule has changed, so be sure to mark your calendars. Also, please note that this year we are encouraging people to pay what they can for classes, with a suggested donation of $5-$8 per class. But as always, money will not prevent anyone from participating. The age groups are:

  • Saturdays: Ages 5 and under, 1-1:30pm; Ages 6-8->1:45-2:30pm
  • Sundays: Ages 9-12, 1-1:45pm; All Ages Dance & Instrument Jam->2-2:45pm

If anyone has instruments they would like to donate to the program, or any questions about the classes, contact Eroca at

Also, from Eroca:

We will kick off the summer´s Community Dances featuring DJ Ted Carlisle on Friday, June 29. Be there for Friday Night Supper and stay and shake it up.


Usually on Saturday afternoons after 4 pm

The park gardens are in full swing, with almost all of the seedlings sprouted last February in the rinkhouse now sinking their roots in the vegetable gardens by the park ovens. The garden party crew meet once a week to maintain the vegetable and flower gardens around the park. New volunteers are always welcome, with or without gardening experience. The gardeners can usually be found on Saturday afternoons after 4 pm, though sometimes the schedule changes. Send an email to or leave a message for Jenny or Anna B at 416-392-0913 to get weekly updates on the gardening schedule.


On very hot days in June, and open for the summer on June 28

The wading pool will be open on very hot days in June, and will open for the summer on June 28. Until then, call the park to check if the staff have opened the pool.

The sandpit by the playground has a water hose that is very popular with older kids,. Staff keep an eye on the water flow, but if you ever notice that the hose is running and there are no children playing, please turn off the water.


Summer Theatre in the Park, with Kate Cayley

Thursdays from July 12 to Aug. 30:

Ages 6-9 every Thursday 2:00-3:00, and ages 10-13 every Thursday 3:00-4:00.

Drama classes will be held outdoors (weather permitting) every Thursday until the end of the summer. The children will make small plays, learn new stories, write poems and scenes, and play in a friendly, inspiring and enjoyable way. A younger group will focus on creative play, improvisation and storytelling, while an older group will experiment with making scenes, devising plots and writing original stories from poems and bits of history. Both classes will integrate movement, traditional storytelling, improvisation, silly games, writing and exploring the world of the park. Kate Cayley, who will lead the classes, has four years experience teaching drama and creative writing to children, as well as working professionally as a theatre director and writer, and as artistic director of Dufferin Grove Park’s Cooking Fire Theatre Festival.

Ages 6-9 every Thursday 2:00-3:00, and ages 10-13 every Thursday 3:00-4:00. Cost is $85 suggested donation per child for 8 classes (sliding scale available, particularly for families wishing to register more than one child.) Space is limited! For more information or to register please email Kate: or call 416-538-6084 (e-mail preferred.)

Kid’s Papier-mâché Camp , ages 8-12, with artist Erin Robertson

July 16 – 20, 9am – 5 pm.

From Lyla Rye:

“Spend 5 days in the park developing your own papier-mâché sculpture on the theme of: Wild in the City. You will learn how to make a wire armature and cover it with papier-mâché. You then get to paint and collage on it. On Friday, the whole group will display their artwork in a large diorama. Each morning and afternoon a couple of hours will be spent on art and during breaks you’ll go to the wading pool, playground or the pizza oven.”

This all-day camp costs $150.00 for the week (there is one bursary where a kid can join for free). This amount covers all materials and one snack a day provided. Contact Lyla at or call her at 416-536-6381.

Kids’ Art Camp in the park with Jeannie Soley and Gillian Tremain.

July 17 - 20 (from 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. each day for four days)

Shibori for Girls : The art of Japanese tie-dye. This 4-day workshop is aimed primarily at girls, as the main project will be a wrap-around summer skirt, using a traditional tie-dye technique known as shibori. Nimble fingers are a definite requirement, as well as good concentration; the initial part of the project involves tying many tiny knots! The girls will also have the opportunity to try various ways of embellishing their skirts even further : embroidery threads, beads and over-painting techniques. There will be a secondary activity interspersed with the main project, as a way to give the kids time to absorb what they've learned. There will be room for one bursary.

From Gillian:

This camp will suit girls ages 9 and up. We'll take a maximum of 10 kids. Cost yet to be determined. To register, please email Gillian at or Jeannie at or call 416-532-0773.

"Ring Around the Moon" Circle Games for the Entire Family.

Thursdays in July (July 5, 12, 19, 26) starting at 6:30 p.m.

Join Theo Heras in a weekly program of traditional circle games. All are welcome.

Theo Heras has spent many years honing her craft of working with and entertaining children. Best-known as the children's librarian at the Lillian H. Smith Branch of the Toronto Public Library, Theo runs a very popular and highly successful baby program there. In 2005 and 2006, Theo performed at the Franklin Children's Garden on Centre Island and is returning there in 2007. Theo is the author/singer of the book/cd called What Will We Do with the Baby-o?



Tuesday June 26, 7.00 pm (pizza at the ovens from 6 – 7.30 pm)

Things have been a little rough for the park since the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division restructured last year. Management’s effort to mark out clear boundaries between the functions of the Parks staff and the functions of the Recreation staff seems to have exacerbated the silo effect. Campfires, washrooms, the farmers’ market, park bench repair, bake oven use, rink house access, curb cuts for bikes – everything seems to be problematic! It takes a lot of extra time to work out the problems raised by the new structure. To get an idea of how many negotiations are needed to straighten out every new blockage, take a look at the park web site’s problems and solutions section – click on “campfires partly restored.” Or try “field house washroom maintenance,” or “illegal ashes.” In the spirit of having as much public documentation as possible, every salient e-mail and phone call is recorded there. When reading the threads, few people make it to the end. It’s tiring!

Park friends are not the only ones getting tired of the ambiguities. City Parks director Paul Ronan recently sent this e-mail:

“We have been directed by [general manager] Brenda [Librecz] to work out a park use agreement for Dufferin Grove. Parks staff recreation staff and the Councillor and [park friends] will be fully involved in developing this agreement. I look forward to reaching a positive healthy relationship where roles and responsibilities are clearly understood and followed.”

Brenda Librecz

This is a very good idea. It won’t be easy, though. Many of the same activities that are loved and cherished by park users are seen as problems by Parks management. The director is worried about what the City lawyers and the Auditor General might think if they become aware of this park. And he has good reason to worry – another period of major insurance-anxiety is upon us, and our politicians are passing laws that have unintended negative consequences on public space. Some of the laws have penalties for public servants if they don’t make people comply.

The Centre for Local Research into Public Space (CELOS, pronounced “see-loss”) has been looking into the liability issues. The research so far is fascinating. CELOS is ready to help take up the general manager’s directive, to start formal discussions about how this park can best be cared for by the City.

Hopefully the discussions here will help out at other parks as well. Park friends who come here from other neighbourhoods have often sighed that they’d like their local park to be more lively and more of a neighbourhood meeting place. How to build warm, fruitful collaboration between City Parks staff and park users – that question is relevant to other city parks too.

Councillor Adam Giambrone and his assistant Chris Gallop have worked hard to broker agreements and address the public space problems as they come up. Now it’s time to broaden the discussion to include upper management and draw in as many park users as possible. On Tuesday June 26, there will be pizza and pre-meeting information displays at the bake oven from 6 to 7 pm.) Watch the web site thread for more information: click on “park use meetings” in the problems and solutions section.


On Monday June 11, Sandy Straw (Parks Manager for the city's South District) and other city officials directed Dufferin recreation staff that they can no longer refer park users to the website,, on the rink house answering machine. The message now suggests that park users "check the web" for more information. Here's hoping that park friends will know where to browse, and can spread the word to newcomers about Dufferin Grove Park's community-based programs.


Oregon earthen builder and sculptor Kiko Denzer writes "The best way to "preserve" art is to create it, and re-create it, again and again." (Kiko's wonderful books are in the park's little research reference library -- if you want to have a look, ask the park staff.) The world over, earthen walls get seasonal repair and "sprucing up," each time becoming a little different. This year, Daniel Cayley first replaced a few missing cedar shingles. Then Heidrun Gabel-Koepff, a park friend and sculptor originally from Bremen, Germany, has been working on shingling the middle section.

Two weeks ago park staff discovered that someone had poured some kind of sticky grease down the cob sinks, which clogged all four sinks for a few days. Rec staff consulted Georgie, Sylvie and Simon (community cob builders) and tried a variety of home-made remedies (coca cola, vinegar, baking soda, salt…) none of which worked. So staff called city plumber Tom Feeney who sent Eugene and Ray who used a power snake to unclog the drains. A big thank you!

A week later, staff found the sinks were clogged once again, but this time with sand and leaves. With the purchase of some new tools of their own, the drains have been cleared. Staff ask park users to please use the sandpit hose for cleaning sandy hands to keep our cob sinks in good repair. Expert sign painter Jessica Moore is back in town from Montreal, just in time to make some signs to remind us of this request.


From Deirdre Norman, co-ordinator of the annual Women of Winter Shinny Hockey Tournament:

“We want your Canadian Tire money!! Every cent of the money collected goes towards funding skating programmes at Dufferin and Wallace-Emerson Rinks. Last year The Women of Winter raised nearly $80.00 which was donated to the skate fund for Dufferin youth shinny. This year The Women of Winter will try to raise enough money to buy a zamboni tent shelter for Wallace Rink. Dufferin Grove Park staff hold a special box for donated Canadian Tire Money – bring it to them and they’ll get it to us.”

For more information:



From market manager Anne Freeman:

“Market friend Steve Leckie organizes Toronto's vegetarian directory (online at, and this week he checked in to see if our information was accurate. I was quite tickled to find that on September 1, 2006, he counted the produce available at Dufferin and came up with 92 varieties! If you have trouble sleeping, why count sheep when you can dream of so many fruits and veggies!”

We're enjoying the expanded space now that the market is fully outdoors and along the path for the summer season. This year, more than ever, we're meeting new customers eager to find out how to eat local. So far, along with meats and cheese and bread and fish, the season is bringing us many wonderful greens, rhubarb, asparagus, mushrooms and herbs, and each week now there will be a bigger variety of the early crops coming in.

It's going to be an interesting summer, as more markets open around the city. If you're over in the east end at Withrow Park or dropping in at The Brickworks on a Saturday, or way down south at Trinity-Bellwoods on Tuesday afternoons, you'll meet up with some familiar folks. Nice to imagine a future when people all over Toronto can walk or cycle to their neighbourhood farmers' market. Because of all this interest, the city parks department is working on a protocol for markets in parks. For now, while more discussion takes place and the details get worked out, it's "business as usual" for us. Check or the bulletin boards in the rinkhouse for information and discussion about the farmers’ market.


Newsletter prepared by: Jutta Mason

Illustrations: Jane LowBeer

Web Site: Henrik Bechmann

Website Technical Editor: Corey Chivers

Park photographer: Wallie Seto

Park phone: 416 392-0913

Web address:


Park on-site part-time staff: Anna Bekerman, Ted Carlisle, Corey Chivers, Jenny Cook, Anna Galati, Sandy Gribbin, Eroca Nicols, Mayssan Shuja, Mary Sylwester, Amy Withers, Lea Ambros, Sarah Cormier, Erinne Henry, Mario Lourenco, Zio Hersch

Park emergencies: 416 709-0573 or 416 896-8942 (24 hours)

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