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May 2007

posted May 4, 2007, updated May 12, 2007

Friends of Dufferin Grove Park Newsletter


Volume 8 Number 4 and 5, May 2007

Jane Jacobs Community Walk

“Jane’s walk”

Saturday May 5 noon to 2 p.m.

image from

Last year Mayor Miller declared May 4 to be Jane Jacobs Day in Toronto (that was her birthday). The next day (May 5) is the first occasion of what Jane’s friends hope will be an annual day of neighbourhood walks to mark her love of cities and of the many ordinary people who make them lively.

In this neighbourhood, the walk is called “Jane’s campfire walk.” It starts at noon at Susan Tibaldi Parkette (just north of Bloor, on the subway lands behind Duffy’s Tavern, between Brock and Margaretta). Park campfire staff Anna Bekerman and Amy Withers will be cooking fritters made with wild greens and farmers’ market eggs over the campfire there (they'll start cooking from about 11.15, for people who get there early). Artist/activist Dyan Marie will talk about how the area is changing. The walk will go along a rather edgy section of Bloor to the new railpath park, and from there to the heritage buildings in the Stirling Ave. industrial area that will soon house a very large new movie studio. The second campfire will be waiting at MacGregor Park, with more tasty food. Artist-in-residence Kristen Fahrig will talk about (and show) what she’s doing there with kids. Then the walk will follow Dundas (with its wonderful mix of old and new, oddly-angled buildings) over to Gladstone. Brockton triangle resident Emily Visser has some fascinating stories to tell about that stretch of the oldest street in this neighbourhood. Then, walking north on Gladstone, Kim Malcomson will be at St.Anne’s Church (see website to tell a little about it.

From there the walk ends at Dufferin Grove, at the third campfire, near the earthen (cob) courtyard there, with Anna and Amy cooking the final course, and toasting forks for people who want to cook hot dogs or toast marshmallows, themselves. This walk has multiple options for shortcuts, or dawdling and catching up (for parents with little kids). For people with good walking shoes, there will also be a chance for a detour with park staff Corey Chivers to get a close look at the grand graffiti show on the multiple piers underneath the Dundas streetcar bridge.

There are lots of other “Jane’s walks” in the city that day too: see For more details on the “Jane’s campfire walk” route, see our Neighbourhood News article, including a route map by Corey.


Third annual “No one is illegal” Community Fair

Saturday May 5, 2.30 to 6 p.m.

Location: the Garrison Creek hollow just south of the marsh fountain by Dufferin Street.

Organized by the “No one is Illegal” club of Toronto.


Live music, food, art and kids’ activities. This event is part of an international movement (originating in Europe and now world-wide) in support of status for migrant workers. Despite the difficult theme, most recently affecting Portuguese workers in Toronto, the music stage is always lively and humorous, and the mood is one of celebration and outdoor fun. For more information:

"Fairtraders and Friends" celebrate the tenth anniversary of certified Fair-trade in Canada

May 5, 3 - 7 p.m.

Location: near the bake ovens and also around the cob campfire.

From organizer Ayal:

"Fairtraders and Friends is a collective of fair-trade activists, independent businesses and social justice advocates who work in the city of Toronto advocating for justice in food, housing, and human rights.

“Fair-trade is the movement which aims to create a better and more just world by paying farmers and workers a better price for their products. In Canada, Fair-trade is celebrated nationally during the first two weeks in May (from the 1st to the 15th). At Dufferin Grove we’ll have an outdoor celebration which will include tasty food, live music and lots of information.”


Norwegian Constitution Day parade and picnic

Saturday May 12th: 12 noon to 3 p.m.

Location: centre of the park, near the playground.

Hosted by park neighbours Arne Nes and Robin Crombie.

Big flag

Arne says that about 200 Norwegians living in Toronto celebrate Norway’s biggest holiday, Norwegian Constitution Day, every May. Last year was the first day this event was held in Dufferin Grove Park, and this year the Norwegians are back again. The schedule: NOON: Welcome. 12:30 PM: Parade, 30-45 minutes parade on the neighbourhood streets including a small stretch on Bloor St. 1:30 PM: 17. Mai tale/speech. 1:45 PM: National Anthem. 2:00 PM: Sarah Longwins performs. 2:30 PM: Games for the Kids. 3:00 PM: Raffle.

From Arne Nes: “There will be Waffles, Ice cream, Hot-Dogs, 17. mai sløyfer T-Shirts etc. Non-Norwegians are welcome!”

Bruce Whitaker’s Second annual “The Grove’s Clothes” clothing swap at the park

Saturday May 12 (drop-off)and Sunday May 13 (exchange day).


Bruce writes:

“Clean your closet of those clothes that are perfectly fine but never get worn, and do your part for the environment through swap rather than purchase. Find some really groovy clothes and meet your neighbors. The swap rules are just like last year. 10 items (washed and on hangers) will get you 10 tickets in return. You can bring more but you will get a maximum of 10 tickets. You can bring less and will get tickets equal to the number of items.”

Park staff Eroca Nicols headed the sorting crew last year, and will do it again this year, filling the rink house with a beautiful display.



The Stop: Photo by David Zapparol

The Stop Community Food Centre: celebration of spring and open house

Saturday May 5 12 noon to 3 p.m.

From Kathryn Scharf:

“Hi Dufferin Grove neighbours, The Stop, where I work, is having a celebration….it’s at 1884 Davenport (Davenport & Landsdowne). There'll be food, music, food demos (Yasi's and New Moon Kitchen) and gardening and bake oven workshops. There'll be kids activities directed at the creation of a spring pageant!”



'Brockton Triangle' Neighbourhood Yard Sale

Saturday May 12th 10a.m. to 2p.m. (rain date, Sunday May 13th)

From Gretel Meyer Odell:

“Residents of the streets south of Dundas and north of the railroad tracks, between Lansdowne and Brock have been busy getting to know each other and generating exceptional community spirit over the past year. This little neighbourhood has been affectionately dubbed, "The Brockton Triangle" by neighbours who have been gathering at potlucks, chalk mural parties, activity planning meetings and other fun events. Mark Saturday, May 12th, 10am to 2pm, on your calendar for the Brockton Triangle's first Annual Neighbourhood-Wide YARD SALE! Residents all over the Triangle will be selling treats, treasures, art, crafts and more. Please come visit this exceptionally friendly and spirited neighbourhood and take a stroll on the following streets...Delaney Cres., Wyndham St., Norfolk St., Shirley St., Mechanic Ave., Hickson St., Northern Place, and Brock & St. Clarens Ave. between Dundas and the railroad tracks. There is a rain date of Sunday, May 13th. For more information go to or email:

FoodShare Open House

THURSDAY MAY 31, 2007, 7-9pm 90 Croatia Street, Room 102.

FoodShare has moved into the former Brockton/Ursula Franklin High School building. From director Debbie Field: “Join us for a tour as we share our plans for planting vegetable gardens and building a beautiful a greenhouse on Brock.” For more information contact Debbie Field,, 416 363-6441 ext. 228, See map for location.

FoodShare is known for its community-based approach to promoting healthy local food, helping schools start breakfast, lunch and snack student nutrition programs and school community gardens. The inventor of the Good Food Box and Good Food Markets, which help people buy healthy, local and organic food, FoodShare organizes community gardening, composting and urban agriculture projects across the City.



Pizza days will start up again on Sunday May 13th weather permitting. Between 1-3pm you can make your own pizza in our wood fired bread ovens. Tuesday pizza days will resume on May 15 from 12-2pm. The Wednesday pizza days won’t start again until the 27th of June.

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 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.


resumes Friday May 18, 2007 (weather permitting), by the oven

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.


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


As usual, there are some art activities for kids offered at Dufferin Grove Park, run in partnership with local artists. To register now, here’s a preview:

Summer Theatre in the Park, with Kate Cayley,

Thursdays from July 12 to Aug. 30:

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.)

Kids’ Paper Mache Camp, ages 8 – 12, with artist Erin Robertson

July 16 – 20. 9a.m. to 5 p.m.

This is an all-day camp, costing $150.00 for the week. (There will be room for one bursary where a kid can join for free.) This amount also covers all art materials and one snack a day provided. Contact Lyla at: 416 536 6381.

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.

Theme: Wild in the City

Daily Schedule:

  • 9 - 12am - art projects
  • 10:30am - snack break
  • 12 - lunch & free play
  • 1:30 - 4pm - art projects
  • 3pm - snack break
  • 4 pm - free play
  • 5pm - parent pick up

Erin Robertson: Erin is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art, and Guelph University, studied at Atelier Gilbert Diabold, Paris, France, York University with incorporated Independent study in Tanzania E.A. Erin has been an instructor at the Ottawa school of Art since 1994 where she teaches all age groups including diploma drawing, portraiture, sculpture and painting. She has facilitated several workshops for Ottawa Carleton School Board, the Ottawa School of Dance, and the Museum of Civilization.

See the brochure.

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.


The park has a lot of part-time staff but no full time permanent recreation staff. The part-time staff all do other things as well, outside of their work at Dufferin Grove. One of the things they’ve been wanting to do is respond to the many requests from elsewhere in the city, asking: How can our park work better for our neighbourhood? Last November, the little research centre that originated in the park (CELOS, pronounced see-loss, CEntre for LOcal research into public Space) submitted a proposal called “Taking the show on the road” to the Trillium Foundation. In April, they found out it was accepted. So now the CELOS workers have begun going to other parks when any neighbourhood group asks for help – for setting up a campfire, or adding more fun to a playground, or attracting artists to enliven their park, or – sadly – for coming to grips with the new centralized Parks rules that have slowed innovation to a crawl.

One element of the grant is writing little booklets about what works in Dufferin Grove Park – the rink, the playground, the gardens, the farmers’ market, the campfires, the picnics and community soccer, the sandpit, and so on. Some of those booklets are published, some are underway. They’ll be available around the park this summer.

Park News


Councillor Adam Giambrone is hosting his annual Dufferin Grove Summer BBQ again this year. Saturday June 16 10-2 pm. There are tables available (free) for your lawn sale items. Please contact Marjolein in Councillor Giambrone's office at 416-392-7012 or


Benches – the park benches are badly in need of paint, and the only way they’ll get painted is if park users help out – watch for posters and newsletter announcements.

Cob repair

Cob courtyard – trial and error are the best teachers. The cob plaster held up better through the second winter and there was no more vandalism. But it seems that the sections that have shingles on top do much better than the middle section that hasn’t got them. So artist Heidrun Gabel-Koepff is going to be adding shingles to that middle section and replastering a bit. Park friend Gene Threndyle has put in a little cedar garden fence where the kids were climbing up too much (instead of payment, the park bakers are trading the fence for dough for Gene’s bake oven at Artscape). And Silvie Varone is building a more solid serving table for the summer cob snack bar, in her carpentry shop.

For general information about the cob courtyard, see our Cob Courtyard pages.


From Havelock Street resident Robert Stewart:

"...a big part of why we bought in the neighborhood is its accessibility in terms of public transportation and proximity to the downtown by bicycle (we sold our car 3 years ago, and commute and take our son to school, as well as doing all our errands, by bike and by TTC). We do our shopping for groceries at Dufferin Mall (often towing a small bike trailer for our son), and get there by biking west from Havelock along Dufferin Park Avenue (north side of Dufferin Grove Park), then down the little path beside the clubhouse and down the little dead-end street to Dufferin.... The problem is that there are a lot of pedestrians using the stretch of sidewalk along the dead-end street, as well as bikes trying to go along the same route."

Robert Stewart is giving voice to a concern shared by lots of people. Anyone using that sidewalk knows how tight that bottleneck is, where the broader asphalt path suddenly turns into a narrow shared sidewalk/highway-for-bikes. Councillor Adam Giambrone's office has agreed to contact Transportation to arrange a sidewalk cut that will make it easier for the bikes to get off the sidewalk much sooner. Pedestrians, cyclists, whoever has felt that the narrow sidewalk needs an early exit to let the bikes back out on the road -- call the Councillor's office: 416 392-7012.


Bio-Toilet Project

Last September, the City Parks management hired architect Martin Liefhebber to evaluate the plans for the community-built bio-toilet shelter. Because the shelter is less than 100 square feet, park friends believed that it would be exempt from needing a building permit. That’s what the building code says for small structures. But it turned out that the code gets more complicated when a toilet is involved. In this case the structure houses a National Parks-style bio-toilet model, composting waste instead of being hooked up to the sewer grid. The shelter is built of cob (clay, sand, straw and water, mixed with bare feet) by ordinary people including kids. That’s right outside the standard rule book, so it produces a regulatory headache.

The City asked the architect to help get building code approval for this structure, which is based on elements built and approved elsewhere in Canada, but not common in Toronto. They made good progress, working with the building inspectors, but there was one big problem from the point of view of the park cob builders – the conversations, planning, and drawing up of blueprints was done without any involvement of Georgie Donais after the initial consult. The City Parks management didn’t invite her into the discussions nor was she even told when there were meetings. When she was shown the finished plans in April, she saw that some small but important building issues had not been addressed.

Georgie has now been brought into the conversation. The working parts of the composting toilet have been accepted by Toronto Buildings, and the City has hired engineer Kharyn Chau to go over the plans for the cob housing from an engineering standpoint. Buildings like this, some of them many hundreds of years old, exist all over Britain, Europe and the Middle East. If they can be made to fit the code in Ontario, Toronto will be one of the first cities in North America to have stamped, approved plans for such an environmentally-friendly amenity – in the forefront again!

School field trips for cobbing in the park,

Wednesday May 23 to June 20.

From park staff Sarah Cormier:

“This is a one-of-a-kind, hands-on field trip where students take part in an earthen building workshop and lend a hand in the construction of the park’s cob bio-toilet. The foundation for the bio-toilet was completed last summer, and now it’s time to add the surrounding cob structure. Cob is a building material made by mixing clay, sand, and straw by foot, and forming it by hand into walls. This is a chance for students to contribute to the creation of a unique, permanent addition to the park. It is also a rare opportunity to add a fun practical component to discussions about the environment and recycling. Working with cob is a way to recycle, re-using waste materials like concrete and clay to create beautiful, useful structures.

“This is an ideal outing for grades one to eight, a remarkable chance to have fun, learn a lot, and help with a community building project. Cost is $5 per student, which includes cob workshop and pizza materials. The program is 1 ½ - 2 hours, and there are three slots available each day beginning at 10:30am, 12:00pm, and 12:30pm. Come get muddy and learn something new!” E-mail or call Amy Withers at 416 392-0913.


Park staff Jenny Cook and Anna Bekerman are both working with garden volunteers this year. You can call them at the park: 416 392-0913, or email Everyone is welcome to join (Saturdays or Sundays). The park trees can use some friends too: many of them need mulching, and if it’s a dry summer as predicted, the younger trees will need watering as well. The City doesn’t have the staff to care for the trees, but park friends can step up.


Since the most recent restructuring of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, difficulties have been mounting up for park programs. It may be necessary to invite the Parks director and the Recreation director to a public meeting at the end of June to hear what citizens want for this park. The aim of the public meeting would be to find a way to restore the trust and active collaboration (between citizens and Parks management).

For now, though, there are a few signs of light on the horizon.

Campfires: For 13 years, community campfire permits added liveliness and night-time safety to the park. Permission was suspended last winter, because of the lack of a central protocol, then reinstated as a “pilot program.” On May 8, after much back-and-forth negotiation, it seems like the staffing requirements and the red tape that were still challenging the campfire program, are almost resolved. So campfires are part of the park again, making it friendly and safe at night. Now, if the washrooms can just be open...

Farmers’ market: Parks management began writing a protocol last fall. There was no consultation with market managers or market users, and so a new protocol was developed that would affect Dufferin Grove market (and other neighbourhood markets) very negatively. Market manager Anne Freeman has been working together with Dufferin Grove recreation staff, other neighbourhood markets, and Foodshare to address these problems. Councillor Joe Mihevc helped set up meetings for later this month with Parks management – at last. Market users’ input can help.

Wading pool opening in early heat waves: It now seems hopeful that Dufferin Grove and a few other shaded City wading pools can open as “cooling centres” if heat waves come early. Makes more sense than cranking up the air conditioning...

Community/Parks partnership: Parks director Paul Ronan has suggested that clearer rules of collaboration can be worked out between City staff and park users, so that the Auditor General and the City’s Liability staff would be on board with the issues that arise in a park like this. Good idea! More on this in the June newsletter.



The market is moving outside more and more as the weather warms up. When the leaves get big enough to shade the market tables, most of the market can spread out again along the path. In the meantime, access to the vendors inside the rink house is through the front doors and garage door only – repair work on the rink pipes means that the rink-side doors will not be accessible until the end of May.


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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