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posted November 11, 2006


The park maintenance staff steer in the direction of smooth lawns and good order. The park children steer in the direction of play and construction. The adults in the park also play, with frisbees or hockey sticks or guitars or giant puppets. The park recreation staff introduce people, help them make friendly connections, try to minimize the obstacles that might frustrate the newcomers, work to keep up a standard of civility among so many different people. All these activities together make up Dufferin Grove Park. Often the park staff are asked by people from other parts of the city – can’t you tell us how we can make the park near where we live nicer?

Good question. Certainly, if people are happier with their own neighbourhood parks, it will reduce the crowds at Dufferin Rink and Dufferin Grove playground, which would be a good thing.

Dufferin Grove Park has only part-time, “casual” recreation staff. Many of them do other things as well, or are students – of dance, of anthropology, of environmental science. Some of them have found a little time to begin making friends at other parks, responding to requests for help. With the help of the park “cookie-money,” they’ve begun to work with friends of MacGregor Park, Susan Tibaldi Park, Trinity-Bellwoods, Lawrence Heights Community Housing, Withrow Park, and the community garden at the City Adult Learning Centre. The webmaster, Henrik Bechmann, is helping many of these park friends to set up their own web sites, using his wiki adaptations from the Dufferin Park web site. Soon these new web sites will be unhooked from the “neighbourhood” section, and settle into their own domain, “,” branching off from there.

All these parks are very different from one another, and making friends with them is an adventure. To have a look at the beginning web sub-sites, go to and click on “neighbourhood.”

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