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June 2008

Dufferin Grove Park Newsletter


Volume 9, Nr.6, June 2008

Dufferin Grove Wading Pool

For an independent community email list service and discussion group, see dufferingrovefriends

Events in June

Day of Delight

June 14, 2 – 5 pm Clay and Paper Theatre presents the DAY OF DELIGHT From producer Krista Dalby: We are presenting 11 acts and over 100 artists in a mere 3 hours! It starts at 2 and there is a new act every 15 minutes, in a variety of locations around the park. Admission is pay-what-you-can – suggested donation $10
2:00 PM - Samba Kidz
2:15 PM - Love/All by Random Acts of Dance, performed by Julie Grant, Liisa Murray & Zita Nyarady; additional contributors: Laura Bolander & Ivana Matovina.
2:30 PM – Venus
, performed by Steven Bitaxi (dance, trumpet), Vanessa Kimmons (dance), Cara Spooner (dance), and Alison Young (dance, saxophone). Choreographer: Shirin Yousefi.
2:45 PM – How Alice and Mathilde Learn the True Meaning of Love by Project Undertow, performed by Ingrid Doucet, Pamela Ferguson and Anna Hardwick. 3:00 PM - Whirling Dervishes. Choreographer: Roula Said. Performed by Michelle Denis, Catherine McLeod, Zita Nyarady, Roula Said, Meaghan Shields, Chad Walasek, Jayne Walling.
3:15 PM – Community Chorus for Love
by Nicole Arends and Gilles Gagnon.
3:30 PM – Masks and Dolls by Urvieves Dance Collective, performed by Zeena Dotiwalla, Sabra Frankel, Paromita Kar.
3:45 PM – A→MAR→GO. Directed by Lúcia Ramos, Performed by Mário Lourenço and Luisa Lourenço, Production Assistant Rui Soares.
4:00 PM -
Invisible Girl & The Clown
. Dancers - Celine Marks, Gabrielle Charron-Merritt, D. Alex Meeks, Robert Kingsbury. Les Yeux Brass - Steven Bitaxi, Trumpet; Matthew MacLean, Trumpet; Elizabeth Fava, French Horn; Stephen Rutan, Trombone.
4:15 PM – The Nightwood by Back Burner Productions, based on the story by Robin Muller. Performed by: Adam Berry, Glyn Bowerman, Marla Brennan, Katrina Carey, Laura Collu, Guy Doucette, Simon Esler, Sochi Fried, Ying Han, Eric Hopkins, John Jacobs, Chris Rouse, Neema Sharma, Sarah Thorpe. Crew: Gabriel Esler, Melissa Joakim, Holly Lloyd, Phillip Woolam.
4:30 - Maracatu Nunca Antes - an afro-brasilian percussion and performance troupe led by Aline Morales.

Cooking Fire Theatre Festival

June 18-22, THE FIFTH ANNUAL COOKING FIRE THEATRE FESTIVAL. Nightly performances begin at 7:00 PM, dinner served from 6:00 PM Celebrating theatre, food and public space in Dufferin Grove Park. From organizer Sarah Cormier: “Each evening, hosts Les Trouvères will lead the audience from site to site throughout the park to see performances ranging from a pickle-puppet show to a manual on how to deal with very large disasters, by companies from Portugal, the USA and Toronto. Delicious organic meals will be served to the audience over cooking fires and from the park’s two wood-fired outdoor community bake ovens.” It’s pay-what-you-can for the performances, suggested donation for the evening $10.


Golgi Apparatus (Toronto) Ahoy! With only their wits and a rubber dingy, the three clown crusaders Fellini, Can Can and the Colonel set sail on another misadventure. Will they tread water or be hung out to dry? A rough and tumble nautical adventure for all ages. From the physical theatre company that brought you last year's Bigfoot.

Buddy Nutt (Pittsburgh) Pickleville Pickleville is a nonverbal musical puppet performance piece portraying the story of Sam the tragedy stricken reluctant dancing pickle man. A story of personal triumph, in which Sam is confronted with horrific loss and mourning but offered a glimmer of hope from an unlikely little dog made of gherkins. Pickleville is a dreamlike place in which the least unusual thing is that everything is made of pickles.

Scrapheap Theatre (Toronto) Hellooo… Scrapheap digs deep to bring you a calamitous, site-specific comedy. Ever wonder: When yelling down a well, does anybody hear you? And if they do, do they hear you well? Well, is anybody down there…there…there? Join this daring duo as they jump, stumble and careen their way through a subterranean land where everything is what it seems - until it isn't - and one plus one equals two and half…half…half.

Teatro Arado (Portugal) The Bird of Spring/O Passaro da Primavera performed June 18-21 only. A dazzling piece that combines performers, puppetry and live music to tell the story of a melancholy bird and his search for spring. Performed in English and Portuguese, this tale comes all the way from Portugal. Teatro Arado has toured this piece throughout Europe, and now comes to Canada for the first time with a story for every child that lives under the moon.

And a special performance at 5:00 PM on Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22 only:

Theaturtle (Toronto) Alphonse by Wajdi Mouawad, translated by Shelley Tepperman performed by Alon Nashman Alphonse, a boy with a huge imagination, has not come home and everyone's looking for him. In fact, Alphonse is walking along a country road inventing the extraordinary adventures of Pierre-Paul René, "a gentle boy with a one-note voice who is never surprised by anything." In the process we experience a powerful reflection on the joy and pain of being young and what is lost in crossing the threshold to adulthood. Festival info: 416-655-4841
See Cookingfire website.

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

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:

Neighbourhood History

June 21 all day at the BIG Festival. The park-based research group CELOS will have two neighbourhood history tables near the Lansdowne end of the Bloor Street closure, beside the Yasi’s Place food area. Displays will include Michael Monastyrskyj’s archival photos and old newspaper articles about the Dufferin Race Track (where the mall is now); Tim Groves’ research about the Seiberling Tire Plant and the National Knitting Mill where the women worked, along the CNR tracks between Bloor and Dupont; Adrienne Trent’s family photos and stories of the house her great-great-grandparents built on Havelock Street – she is sixth generation to live there. Also some smaller displays dealing with corner stores, the anti-pollution work in the 1980s of local activists like Virginia Novack, and old maps of this area collected by Scott Dobson. The focus of these history tables will be to show interesting displays but also but also to gather more stories – so if you’ve lived in the area for a while, pass by at the BIG festival neighbourhood history tables on June 21 and share what you know.

Wading Pool News

The Dufferin Grove guideline for wading pool opening is: the wading pool opens after school’s out for the summer UNLESS the temperature is 29 celsius or over for two days in a row before the end of school – then the pool will be open earlier. To find out for sure, call the park at 416 392-0913 – the staff will record a message for early openings.

The wading pool renovation plans will be posted on the nearby bulletin board. The renovations will begin right after Labour Day weekend. Also to be posted on the bulletin board: archival photos and old newspaper clippings of the ground-breaking for the original wading pool in 1954. It was called the “Abe Orpen Memorial Wading Pool,” in honour of the original owner of the Dufferin Park Race Track, whose family donated the money to build it. That track, located where the Dufferin Mall is now, drew people from all over Toronto Betting on horses was a big part of the local economy.

On hot days in summer, Dufferin Grove’s “Abe Orpen Wading Pool” sometimes gets too crowded. Two other nearby local wading pools will get help from Dufferin Grove staff this summer: MacGregor wading pool at Lansdowne near College, and Campbell Park wading pool near Lansdowne and Dupont. Both will be a lot of fun – check them out and avoid the crowds.

Food In The Park

Pizza Days

PIZZA DAYS: Sundays, 1 pm to 3 pm (weather permitting). Wednesdays 12-2pm (starting May 21) and Tuesdays 12-2pm (starting June 17). From recreation staff Amy Withers Eckert: “It works same way as last year -- Except that for the first time in more than 6 years we have raised the cost from $2 to $2.50 per pizza as the requested donation (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 (more than 9 people altogether) please call ahead to warn the staff 416-392-0913 or email”

Pizza times for School Groups/ Daycares/ Groups: Groups can book a time before or after the public pizza times (i.e. 11am or 2 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). It costs $60 for staffing, plus the regular $2.50 per pizza. If you can’t afford that, park staff will work out a trade with you. Contact staff at 416-392-0913 or

Birthday parties with pizza: You can book on Sundays before or after the public pizza times (i.e. birthday party bookings are at 12pm or 3 pm on Sundays). It costs $60 for staffing, plus the regular $2.50 per pizza. If you can’t afford that, park staff will work out a trade with you. To book: contact staff at 416-392-0913 or email

Bad Weather: From Amy: “In very bad weather Pizza Days are cancelled. Staff monitor the weather conditions on the day itself (we don't trust forecasts) so before you pack up the kids, call and listen to the outgoing message at 416 392 0913 or speak with staff.”

Friday Night Supper by the oven, 6 p.m

This is also a weekly fundraiser for park programs. All the surplus goes to adding more programming at the playground in the summer. A win-win! General information: Everyone welcome. No reservations are necessary. Park cooks use ingredients from the Thursday farmers’ market. Prices: By donation. Suggested donations (to cover cost of materials plus park program fundraising): soup $2, main dish $6 (choice of meat or vegetarian/vegan), salad $2, dessert $2 - $3 depending. Cooks this year (taking turns) are Mary Sylwester, Amy Withers, Anna Bekerman, Anna Galati and Yo Utano. Supper is served until 7.30 p.m.

Request For dry Wood for The Park Ovens

The park bakers need more wood, they don’t want to use skids anymore. Carpenters with wood scraps, consider trading your scraps for bread! Call 416 392-0913, or e-mail

How The Bakers Got Their Fridge

New Fridge At Dufferin Grove Park

At the end of May the park’s big commercial fridge finally died of old age. It belonged to one of the farmers, who only used it on Thursdays. The rest of the time it was used by the park cooks and especially by the bakers, who need a big fridge for storing their various sourdough starters and Italian-bread mixes during the two pre-market days.

Commercial fridges are terribly expensive. What to do? The bakers remembered that John Cannell – a volunteer at the bio-toilet site – has an HVAC business. They thought he might know something about where to get big fridges cheap. They tracked him down and John said that he happened to have a commercial fridge that he didn’t need. He brought it over from his office in Mississauga, and gave it to the park as a gift. It’s beautiful. A story that seemed too good to be true – but it was true anyway.

Community Sports In The Park

Community SOCCER and CRICKET times Recreation staff are programming the soccer field for community soccer and cricket from Saturday 2pm to Sunday night. Neighbourhood groups can book times (at no charge) with recreation staff by calling the rink house at 416 392-0913 or emailing Important note: all community games are open for drop-in as well. From recreation staff Mayssan Shuja: “There’s time left on Saturdays – on Sundays there’s women’s soccer in the morning, Brazilian soccer (lots of Brazilians in this neighbourhood!), cricket from 4 to 6, possibly a kids group as well.”

Open FRISBEE game, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 5.30-7.30 From Frisbee player Max Cameron: “My friends and I are usually playing frisbee on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons (5:30 - 7:30 ish)... it'd be cool to get more people out, please post this.”

Community BALL HOCKEY times Recreation staff have programmed community games on Monday, Thursday and Saturdays so far. Recreation staff Ginger Dean will also be setting up summer ball hockey tournaments for neighbourhood youth. There are still free ball hockey times available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 5-9pm available, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays. People can book game times with recreation staff by e-mailing or calling the rink house at 416 392-0913. All community games are open for drop-in players.

Ball hockey for women: The Women of Winter take the heat. Mondays 7pm beginning late June. From organizer Deirdre Norman: This league is for all women of all levels of experience. Some equipment will be required. The season starting in late June runs for 12 weeks and includes 9 regular and 3 play-off games. Games are either at 7:00 or 8:00 pm and teams are chosen by draw. For details and/or to register contact Deirdre Norman at

Park Gardens

Dufferin Grove cherries are getting ripe

Want to try your green thumb? Drop-in gardening hours for June are set for Saturdays at 2 pm, with recreation staff Anna Bekerman. There are three park food gardens, four perennial flower beds, and six native-species gardens, as well as the gardens around the cob courtyard. Also, Forestry planted over thirty new trees the year before last, and then added two “little forests” next to Dufferin Street. If it’s another dry summer, the trees will need watering – volunteer help is very welcome. To contact Anna:



For the summer, there are two campfire locations – centre path and south path. The centre path fire circle is in the middle of the park, and the south path fire circle is beside the cob courtyard. The park’s recreation staff book the cooking fire times. They also go through fire safety training and are available to help start/end your fire. You can reach them at 416-392-0913 or email

CELOS regularly maintains and provides grills, a cast-iron stand (if you want to cook more than marshmallows or hot dogs on a stick), pots and pans for campfire permits. Suggested donation of $10 for upkeep. Park staff will give you water, pails, and a shovel. You have to bring your own wood.

Children's Outdoor Arts Camps In The Park

1.Summer Arts for children: In collaboration with CELOS, artists Gillian Tremain and Jeannie Soley are once again offering a four day art camp for children between 8 and 12: July 1st to July 4th , 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. They write: “This 4-day camp will focus on printmaking and a collaborative weaving project. The children will learn how to design and cut a lino block, print it, make repeat patterns, and explore a variety of techniques and printing surfaces. The weaving will be a whimsical summer creation using natural materials such as grasses, twigs, leaves, nests and fresh flowers. We will hang our weaving in the park for everyone’s delight.” For more information, contact them at or

2. Summer Art Camp for Children: In collaboration with CELOS, back again is Erin Robertson and her Papier-mâché Camp at Dufferin Grove Park: This year’s theme is Magic in the Grove. Erin believes the Park is alive with magical creatures: treefolk, fairies, ogres, pixies and maybe even giants. Spend 5 days in the park searching for these timid beings and developing your own enchanted beast. Learn how to make a wire armature & cover it with papier-mâché. Then, you’ll get to paint and collage on it. On Friday, the whole group will display their artwork in an outdoor exhibit. Each morning & afternoon a couple of hours will be spent on art and during breaks you’ll go to the wading pool, playground or pizza oven. More information: Lyla Rye at


In the May newsletter I wrote an article that started like this:


Police recently informed a group of youth who were drinking beer in the park that they would be arrested for trespass if they were ever seen at the park again. Here’s a question for the community. Should such youth be permanently excluded?

The editorial went on to describe some of the work that recreation staff and park friends have done with youth in the park, over many years. It also mentioned the changes in some of the youth, and the ways they have helped out in turn. And finally, the editorial posed the question again:

Police assertions [that Dufferin Grove Park is a dangerous place] caused park friends to go through police occurrence reports obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. These reports appear to bear out park users’ perceptions of Dufferin Grove as a generally peaceful place. The great majority of the reports were apparently random stops for “loitering” or drinking beer (see the park web site for more details). So here’s the question: do people in this neighbourhood want to clean their park by banning such people? A question that needs public discussion.

Some of the youthful park users read this editorial, and were pretty mad. They explained to me that calling for public discussion about banning them sounds as though the park is kind of like a reality show, where park users might get together and vote the basketball players, or youth who litter, or who drink beer, “off the park” for good.

Of course they’re right, and my question was meant to be rhetorical. If police find park users drinking beer, they have the discretion to give them a ticket. If they find park users smoking marijuana, they can arrest them and charge them and take them through the courts. But neither police, nor park users in general, can exclude a group from public space for drinking or marijuana use. CELOS has written a letter about the original police encounter to Police Chief Bill Blair, asking him to clarify whether in his opinion police powers extend to banning park drinkers permanently. If the answer is “yes,” we’ll want to canvass park users who are also lawyers.

Jutta Mason

Neighbourhood events

MacGregor Park Planting Picnic, Friday June 6, 10:30-1:30.

From park baker Yo Utano: “This is in collaboration with the school beautification project of West Toronto Collegiate's adult ESL class. On June 6th, herbs, vegetables and flowers will be planted in the planters and the new garden beds. There will also be some snacks, music and garden chats. If you have anything to share (tools, plants, food, music, knowledge, friends...), bring them along and join this effort!” If you can't make it on the 6th but are interested in helping the garden, please contact Yo: 416 392-0913.

Annual PORTUGAL DAY Parade: Sunday June 8, 11 a.m.

This parade, with its theme of Portuguese history, is one of the most interesting parades in Toronto. It starts on Lansdowne just south of Bloor, goes past MacGregor Park, bends onto Dundas Street, and leads into two days of celebration at Trinity Bellwoods Park. There are huge horses, ships on wheels, floats depicting every aspect of past and present Portuguese life, regional costumes, folk dancers, Fado music. The Portuguese are international masters of float-making. See The Portugal Day Parade Gallery


From the organizers: The first-ever Bloor Street festival in this neighbourhood includes Toronto’s longest dinner party. A continuous row of tables will stretch all the way from Christie to Lansdowne. In the daytime, anyone who rents a table ($25) can set out their wares for sale (used, new, homemade, bargains, art) or put up a display (see the story on page 6 about the CELOS neighborhood history tables). Then at 6 pm, the tables convert to dinner tables – rent a table with your neighbours, bring food from home or buy some of the delicious street food from all the many Bloor Street restaurants participating. Meet new people, stroll on the street, listen to music, enjoy the solstice day. More information: or drop in at the BIG storefront at 957 Bloor West.

Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market Every Thursday 3 TO 7 PM

Market manager Anne Freeman sends out a weekly “market Notes” newsletter. Sample news from the June 5 notes: Ted Thorpe is back for the season, with his salad greens including arugula, for which Anne provides a recipe; Angelos writes that they’ve planted out 3000 heritage tomato plants and their Bronze Heritage turkeys have hatched some chicks; Jessie Sosnicki writes that their second planting of sweet corn is in and they’ve bought some baby pigs, because “with the 'melon & sweet corn' slop, how could we not raise some pigs?” To get on Anne’s market notes list, follow the instructions on the market page of the website.


Newsletter prepared by: Jutta Mason

Illustrations: Jane LowBeer

Published by: CELOS

Web site: Henrik Bechmann, Aseel Al Najim, Michael Monastyrskyj

Park phone: 416 392-0913

Park web site:


This month’s newsletter is sponsored by: Scooter Girl Toys

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