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Winter ovens 2022 2023

winter oven
Nov.22, 2022, from Recreation director Howie Dayton

Sounds like some good learnings on use of the oven. We are open to exploring some opportunities during the upcoming rink season.

Nov.28, 2022, from recreation supervisor Anthony DeLaurentis

lets connect tomorrow regarding the supper so we can coordinate thoughts and actions around this

NOTE: no follow-up

Nov.30, 2022, to recreation supervisor Anthony DeLaurentis

So three cooks met at the park yesterday (not me) and afterwards they let me know their ideas. Two did a lot of community suppers at the park over the years (one was the staff who started the suppers in 2003) until they went on to other jobs. But none of them ever tried doing a community supper with people sitting outdoors during the winter! An adventure, very fitting for a winter country. And it would definitely create some excitement in the neighborhood.

I said to you that we only need one staff to help, but you are right -- two would be even better -- one to start the first fire on Wednesday Dec.7, and then again to do two smaller eco-friendly booster fires on Friday Dec.9 from 11 a.m. until 2 and again 5 until 8 or 9. And help cook. Then whoever is assigned to be the second staff can work alongside and learn how to do the routines....

The menu will be very simple, all easily able to be cooked in the oven by very experienced oven cooks. The food shopping will be from our side, no cost to the city. There are plans for a coleslaw. That salad plus dough for pita and other breads would be prepped at the Children's Storefront's certified kitchen at Bloor and Shaw. Another partnership. I believe the DG plastic dishes, cutlery, pans, napkins etc. are all at MacGregor?

Everybody's time is tight, but since this event is only 11 days away, could you and I and your CRP meet to just go over the main outlines next Monday or Tuesday? Maybe at MacGregor, to check out the supplies at the same time?

I forgot to mention the campfire for Dec.9. For many years there has been an approved campfire site near the oven, but now it's on the other side of the construction fence. However, there's a fine location just about three meters from the oven. So can you confirm that we can use this as the rec-staffed campfire site?

The plan is for kids to toast hot dogs if they like. Plus staff will be making warm cider, plus -- most important -- the campfire is needed for light and warmth.

Note that the usual campfire site was sometimes permitted out in the past but was also often used for rec programming.

NOTE #1: no response by Dec.5, 2022.
NOTE #2: The job description of rec staff CRPs includes: "Consults and collaborates with community based groups."

Dec.7, 2022, from Parks manager Peter White

Our focus continues to be opening the rinks as soon as possible. At a site meeting this morning, we worked on our plans for maintaining the ice and providing an area for patrons. We will install seating and matting at the north end of the rink for skate changing. While the field house washrooms will be open for the winter, we will provide portable toilets near the skate change area for convenience.

We do not feel it necessary to host a three-way meeting as I believe the key reason access is not possible to the south is due to ongoing construction. The contractor is providing the maximum possible area for us to use this winter.

As for fire pit access, we do not see a suitable location that would benefit skaters near the changing area. We do support the use of existing fire pits outside the construction zone.

Dec.8, 2022, from Jutta to the dufferingrovefriends listserv

Despite some city Recreation management support, a first try at an outdoor wintertime Friday Night Supper has been cancelled. The city's frequent default response of "NO" meant that no public announcement was put out before the final boxes were ticked off, but people had started to hear about a possible supper for this Friday, and have been checking in. Sorry, here it is, official: no go for this week.

The details: three former long-time park bakers were involved in the plan to light up the big oven for the first time since March 2020 -- baking beans and sausages and mini-pizzas and bread and cinnamon buns -- yum. Since the clubhouse kitchen is not there, food prep would be done at the Children's Storefront kitchen, and some of the bakers-in-training from the indigenous NaMeRes were all set to help run the campfire for warmth and light and maybe bannock on a stick.

But no winter supper can happen without permission to gather around the campfire, which would have to be located 15 feet from its traditional site, to stay outside of the construction fence but close to the big oven and the Dan's Table picnic area. Permission was refused.

Dec.11, 2022, from Jutta to campfire/oven supporters

I'm hoping you will send an email to these two management people at Parks and Rec: (manager of Toronto and East York Parks) (director of City of Toronto Recreation) ...asking them --

Please support the relocation of the Dufferin Grove Park northwest campfire site, to about 15 feet south of its former site, near the rink but outside of the construction fence, and near the bigger bake oven. This will make it possible to have some community campfires there this winter, and to use the bake oven at the same time.

The back story: it seems like Recreation management has opened up to supporting some oven events, but Parks management is unwilling to let us make some campfires beside the oven (which we need for for light and warmth, and maybe cooking some hot dogs and bannock on a stick). This seems to be not a safety issue but a "go away, we're busy" issue.

Saying "yes" to that campfire relocation takes them no extra time. But for park friends, winter is here and there's fun and friendship to be had, around food and a warm fire. We need to show Parks management that about 25 people are willing to bother them about this. You're on my list. Can you help by sending these two people an email?

If you let me know that you've sent the email, I won't phone you to check. Fair?

Campfire support letters

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Dec.12, 2022, responses from Parks manager Peter White

Thank you for your email. Parks is working on placing a temporary fire pit south of the construction site near the large bake oven. We appreciate that this is an important community amenity.

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