October 2011

This year’s Party in the Park in June was a great success with over 300 in attendance. Thanks to all who volunteered to make it a wonderful day, including the talented members of The Sometimes Quintet; Fr David Harrison and his congregation at St. Mary Madgdalene; PARA; the police and fire departments and all who donated to both the raffle and bake sale. The party costs close to $800/year in permits, insurance, lifeguard fees and food. The majority of funds raised during this event cover costs and ensure seed funding for next year—so a special thank you to everyone who supported the event through their purchases on the day!

Our long-term fundraising goal is to replace the large play structure. However, we continue to improve the park with smaller initiatives as donations (and support from the City) allow. This year, the City replaced one rocking toy and installed a third. We also received a new picnic table and bench. The community’s resident super-gardener, Marjorie Shu, also planted raspberry bushes along the west fence. Shrubs and perennials were planted in the northeast corner, thanks to a generous donation from Susan Low-Beer. We have recently lost two trees, so are working with the City on replacements. Finally the park was excavated in October and fresh sand has been brought in.

Donations toward park improvement are always gratefully received. Tax receipts can be issued on all donations over $20.


KPMG report

Please share this email other friends of our parks.

Proposals to make serious cuts that will damage our parks are coming to the city’s Parks Committee next week and we need you to speak up for parks!

Today, KPMG released their recommendations for cuts to parks and they include closing farms and zoos, eliminating urban agriculture and horticulture services and reducing grass cutting, litter pick-up and snow removal. Cuts to recreation were released yesterday and they focus on reducing city rec programs assuming that they will be replaced by programs from community groups and the private sector. I’ve attached a detailed analysis of the reports. Stories from the Globe and Star are here: http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1024733–close-small-zoos-and-riverdale-farm-consultant-suggests?bn=1 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/future-of-riverdale-farm-at-risk-as-toronto-city-hall-continues-its-search-for-savings/article2097127/

It is essential that anyone who cares about our parks speak out against these short-sighted cuts. The report will be discussed at Parks and Environment Committee next Thursday July 21 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall. Please consider making a 5 minute deputation or writing in with your comments. All you need to do is to go to http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.PE6.1 and click on either “Request to Speak” to make a deputation or “Submit comments” to send in your concerns.

This is just the opening salvo in what will be 8 months that will bring the biggest changes to our parks since amalgamation – service reviews, budget cuts, new union contact negotiations, new 5-year Parks Plan.

Toronto Park People was created to bring together park advocates from across Toronto and build a strong unified voice for our parks. We will need the energy and help of everyone in Toronto who cares about our parks to make a difference in the upcoming budget fight and protect our parks. We all know how important parks are to our communities and how fragile a good park can be. We can’t let decision makers at City Hall take our parks for granted.

Park People is launching a major effort to defend our parks. We are posting research and breaking news on the new Parks Budget Watch on our website – http://www.parkpeople.ca and our ever expanding facebook http://www.facebook.com/TorontoParkPeople page. You’ll find detailed analysis of the proposed cuts and an overview of the process.

But we can only succeed if we get everyone engaged. We need you to talk to your councillor, write to the Mayor and ensure a strong turnout for defenders of parks at pubic meetings. And we will also need your financial support to sustain this effort. Your tax-deductible contribution at http://www.parkpeople.ca/donate/ will go directly to supporting our work and defending our parks.

Thanks so much for supporting our parks.


Dave Harvey
Executive Director
Toronto Park People
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 404
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 3A8


Thanks to everyone for coming out to clean up the park- with a particular thanks to Doug, Beata and Gary, who worked hard and even pushed kids on the swings.

The park looks much better now. We bagged about ten bags of leaves and found lots and lots of garbage- mostly cigarette butts, ziploc bags that held drugs (we debated whether it was pot or acid), very sharp shards of plastic from broken toys, and a used condom (which is evidence of responsibility in one way, at least).

Heather had the great idea to unbury the sandbox and it makes a huge difference. So thanks to Heather and Emmerich for all the digging.

Thanks to Starbucks for donating coffee and to Rachael for arranging it.


It’s time for our annual Party in the Park. Please join us on Sunday June 12 from 2-5. Details will follow.

To Donate

To donate to the Healey Willan Park Improvement Project:

The Toronto Central Lions have offered to issue tax receipts for any donations to the Park fund over $20. Cheques should be made payable to:

Toronto Central Lions

Please contact jennifer.deyell@gmail.com to arrange pick up or drop-off for any donations.



Our newly-painted wading pool and great new picnic table have definitely made our other park furniture look shabby. We are happy that the Graffiti Transformation Program, run out of St. Christopher’s House, has agreed to paint the six benches and old picnic table (at no cost). This program runs in July and August. The youth who participate will be consulting with the community at the design phase. I’ll keep you posted. Very exciting.


Party in the Park, June 6 2010

It was a great day.

Thanks so much to all who volunteered their time selling tickets, delivering flyers, baking (we have some shockingly creative bakers in this neighbourhood), sourcing donations, face painting, lending us tents and a barbeque. I was especially impressed by Min Yi and Jonah at the bake sale table!

A very, very special thanks to Chrissy from Gaucho Gourmet (just west of the Royal Theatre on College) who, not only donated her delicious all-natural chorizo sausages, but BBQed them too. Thanks to her assistant George (and happy anniversary!).

Also, to the Teri Parker trio and the students of the Annex Academy of Music. Thanks so much.

And there’s nothing like a fire truck- thanks to Emily and Jorge and to Toronto Fire Department for letting the kids crawl all over their truck.

Donations from Mirvish Productions, Weston Bakery, Costco, Heinz, Red Pegasus, The Knit Cafe, The Paper Place, Kid Brother Clothing, The Bike Joint, and Hersh & Marni Perlis are very gratefully acknowledged.

Thanks also to the  Palmerston Area Residents’ Association (PARA)  who generously helped by paying permit and promotion costs.

Thanks again,

Jennifer, Rachael and Kate