- Date: Saturday, May 1, 2010
- Start Time: 11:00 am
- Est. Duration: 2 hours
This rather ordinary-looking mid-sized neighborhood park, a block south of the Dufferin subway station, is bounded by a high school, a shopping mall, a heavy-traffic arterial road, and a mix of pre-WW1 houses. Despite the ordinariness, the park is unusually lively, and this walk will show how and why.
Park friends will be stationed in various parts of the park—at the bake ovens (baking), the marsh fountain (with gardening), the cob courtyard (working on the cob wall), the adventure playground (junior builders), the park clubhouse (with early-days accounts), the outdoor rink (playing ball-hockey and skateboarding), the campfire circles (cooking over the fire), the puppetry fieldhouse (building puppets), and in many of the other places where things happen at the park.
City policy documents will be posted at some stations, showing which elements of these fun activities are currently against the city rules (or not). The policy postings add a bit of suspense to the tour. Will Toronto parks succumb to death-by-policy or will that power gradually be diluted by people’s unbowed resolve to befriend their public spaces?
There will be food at the ovens and the outdoor kitchen, maybe some music and other impromptu hijinks, stories, lots of opportunities for play (balls and hockey sticks and shovels to borrow)—and always the possibility of conversation with park friends, about what makes a park neighbourly.
This Jane’s Walk tour will run as a wandering self-guided tour that you can do at your own pace by visiting the various ‘stations’ in the park. You can begin at the Dufferin Grove Park clubhouse at 875 Dufferin Street, one block south of Bloor Street. Come to the front doors and park friend Jutta Mason will get you started. You can explore the various stations in any pattern or pace you want.
As well, from noon to 2 there will be pizza-making at the ovens, and from 5 to 7 (for stragglers) there will be a campfire with good food. The park friends are going to use this occasion as an old-timer reunion as well!
This walk is especially suitable for three kinds of people: (1) children, (2) hands-on, how-to, DIY people and (3) people who want to talk about community engagement in public spaces. To get a map of the ‘stations’ go to dufferinpark.ca