Did you know that Ward 32 is home to 25 of Toronto’s beautiful parks and parkettes? Even better, many of our local parks are vibrant community hubs run by volunteer park groups committed to improving our public spaces.
Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon strongly believes in the need for community engagement to make the most of our parks and is actively promoting the creation of “Friends of…” groups for every park in Ward 32.
Park groups help to identify needed capital and improvements, and create the kind of lively programming that make our parks popular places to visit. In some cases, such groups already exist, and have initiatives such as farmers’ markets, campfire events, arts in the park, and much more.
Click on the links below to learn more about our Friends of Parks groups and your neighbouring parks:
Park People is an organization dedicated to supporting these groups, and their website contains tips and resources for forming your own park group, as well as information about park groups throughout the city. Visit their website at http://www.parkpeople.ca/
Councillor McMahon also hosts park socials twice a year where park groups mix and mingle to talk about parks. Neighbours also get to share their ideas and concerns. An important issue affecting the tree canopy throughout the city is the problem of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle decimating the city’s ash trees. For more information, visit the City of Toronto website at http://www.toronto.ca/trees/eab.htm
If you want to get involved with a group for your neighbourhood park, or become a tree captain to help with the Emerald Ash Borer issue, get in touch with the Councillor’s office at (416) 392 -1376.
East Lynn Park is located at the corner of East Lynn and Danforth Avenue. It is well-known for its Farmers’ Market and fall local arts fair. The Farmers’ Market is certified as a “MyMarket“, which guarantees all produce is grown and sold by Ontario farmers. Special park features include a wading pool painted with turtles by the local community, a gorgeous tree canopy, spectacular playground, popular toboggan hill and skating rink – something to enjoy all year round! Movie Night Under the Stars is held in August each year.
Contact: Alison McMurray
Fairmount Park is home to two baseball diamonds, a soccer field, tennis courts and a toboggan hill. The park also features a playground and wading pool. The park’s renowned “Ice Masters” group of volunteers flood and maintain the outdoor rinks each winter, an institution for over 60 years and a wonderful example to skating enthusiasts around the city. The Ice Masters also host a superb Winterfest each year with local bands, games, skating, and even a wood stove with hot chocolate! Movie Night Under the Stars occurs annually in the summer. Fairmount Park is bordered by Beaton Avenue, Wrenson Road, and Gerrard Street East, next to Bowmore Public School and Fairmount Community Centre.
Contact: Josh Weisz
Located at the intersection of Coxwell and Eastern Avenue, Woodbine Park features relaxing wide-open spaces and an inviting boardwalk along its large man-made pond, complete with a fountain. There are gorgeous views across Woodbine Beach and Lake Ontario. In February of 2012, representatives from Toronto Park People, Trinity-Bellwoods Park, and the City of Toronto Waterfront Parks held the first community vision meeting to plan for continued improvements and beautification of Woodbine Park. The Friends of Woodbine Park group has planted daffodils extensively and helped water numerous trees in the park. Many city wide festivals are enjoyed in this sprawling park!
Contact: Martina Rowley
Jonathon Ashbridge Park is a popular meeting place for local residents. The Leslieville Farmers’ Market has put this gem of a park on the map! From June to October, you can find most of your neighbours enjoying music, camaraderie, and Ontario produce Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The wading pool, playground and tennis courts are also a big hit! Movie Night under the Stars is a popular event. The park has lots of open spaces and big trees that provide great shade for those hot summer days.
Moncur Park, between Coxwell Avenue, Gainsborough Road, and north of Robbins Avenue, boasts a very lush canopy of trees. It is a fantastic location for picnics where kids can frolic in the grassy open field. When winter comes, residents enjoy the toboggan hills. The park has hosted various events including Movies Under the Stars. The energetic Friends of Moncur Park group has hosted an incredible planting project and a Paint the Park Party to help build community and revitalize the park. A new playground and mural will be part of the 2013 Parks Capital Projects!
Contact: Dawn Chapman
A new design for the “No Name” Park in the Ted Reeve community is currently under review. The park is off William Hancox Avenue, north of Gerrard and east of Main. In July of 2012, Councillor McMahon, along with city landscape architect Netami Stuart, held a public meeting to discuss the conceptual plans for the park’s future. Watch this space for more information. The fledgling Friends of No Name Park has been involved in dreaming up plans for the park throughout the whole process. A Naming Contest for the park is underway!
Norwood Park is located beside Norwood Road and south of Gerrard Street between Woodbine and Main. Tennis courts, old growth trees, playground, funky oval wading pool, long winding pathways, doggy park, and a historical clubhouse fully equipped with public washrooms can be found in this park! Movie Night Under the Stars was a big hit as a kick-off event for the newly formed Friends of Norwood Park group in the summer of 2012. Park improvements slated for 2013 include resurfacing around the clubhouse, a new shaded sandbox structure for the playground, benches, trees, and improvements to the dog park. The parks group is looking into creating an artistic carving out of a dead tree and showcasing a Norwood theatrical summer event component soon.
Contact: Jason Balgopal & Trish Feistner
At Stephenson Avenue near Main Street, Stephenson Park features a wading pool, children’s playground, a baseball diamond, winter skating rink, and beautiful rolling field. In the summer of 2012, local resident and artist Tak Bui had the idea of beautifying the wading pool by painting Canadian whales along the edges. He is currently working with city staff to create a plaque with a legend of the whales to be mounted on the shed as an educational marker for curious park users. Movie Night Under the Stars was appreciated by all participants who hope to make it an annual event. Landscape architect Netami Stewart has met with the Friends of Stephenson Park group to brainstorm beautification ideas for 2014. Plans are now being created and will be brought back to the community in 2013 for feedback and support.
Contact: Tak Bui
Located at Gerrard Street between Coxwell Avenue and Woodbine Avenue, the Lower Williamson Ravine is a green corridor that has beautiful sights of the rare Oak Savanna and Cooper Hawk Nesting. The ravine is home to many rare trees and bird species. On May 5, 2012, Jane Farrow held a Jane’s Walk to showcase “the wonders of the Williamson Ravine.” The purpose of the walk was to acknowledge the importance of signage and maps to connect a safe community. Friends of Williamson Ravine have organized and cleanups. If you have never ventured here, stroll by and enjoy the botanical sanctuary that exists right in the middle of our ward!
Contact: Karen Franzen
FRIENDS OF ORCHARD PARK
Friends of Orchard Park are the Campfire Wizards of Ward 32! This lively group has been hosting community campfires on a monthly basis for the past couple of years. Steaming hot chocolate is served up and enjoyed by neighbours. This wonderful park is located on the south side of Dundas west of Coxwell. It has a funky and colourful splash pad where squeals of joy can be heard loud and clear on hot summer days. There is also a terrific playground and area for dogs enjoyed by many park users.
Contact: Camilla Sutton & Sally Bliss
This vibrant and enthusiastic group has hit the ground running with many projects and events this past year. There is a new outdoor reading room in Kew Gardens behind the library, a chilly fall candlelight stand up paddle board event, a pumpkin parade, a pumpkin pie baking contest and a fire pit located beside the Kew Gardens skating rink! Activating and animating public spaces is their mantra.
A recent poll found term limits for city council and the mayor are popular with Torontonians.
The poll, conducted by Forum Research, found 61 per cent of participants supported a term limit for mayors. Support for implementing councillor terms was 58 per cent. The poll surveyed 876 Toronto residents.
During the last City Council meeting, Councillor McMahon introduced a motion to impose a three-term limit (a total of 12 years) for councillors to encourage a healthy turnover. She will continue to explore limiting the length of time municipal politicians can serve to promote new ideas and fresh faces in our democracy.
Education and awareness of animals in our city is key to preventing coyote attacks. There are many ravines and areas in Ward 32 which can serve as a habitat for wild animals. February is the coyote mating season and it is imperative that we all take extra precautions whenever possible to keep our neighbourhoods safe.
Councillor McMahon encourages everyone to learn more about the wild animals that live in our city and how to live peacefully with them. She is continuing to work with Animal Services on increasing education on coyotes and is currently door knocking in the areas directly affected to raise awareness.
Tips for avoiding human-coyote conflict:
Toronto Animal Services are unable to remove a coyote, or any animal, from their natural habitat under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Councillor McMahon will continue to support policies that balance the safety of Toronto residents with those of wild animals in our city.
For more info on what to do if you encounter a coyote, visit http://www.toronto.ca/animal_services/coyote.htm
Winter storms are a reality for Torontonians. We know that winter storms will happen, snow banks will pile up, and we will have to adapt to the weather. Councillor McMahon is following up with Transportation Services to relay all of your snow complaints and comments to ensure that our snow clearing services are continually improved.
As soon as snowfall begins, Transportation Services sends out salt trucks to the expressways, major roads and roads with dangerous hills or curves first. This is done to ensure that emergency vehicles can travel safely across the city. After this, the trucks move onto local roads.
Plows are sent to expressways when snowfall reaches more than two centimetres. For heavier snowfall, plows will move onto main roads during the storm to alleviate unsafe driving conditions.
Plows will avoid blocking sidewalks, crosswalks or piling snow onto parked cars whenever possible. However, sometimes it physically has to occur due to narrow roads. The city will clear windrows (the piles of snow at the road side after a plough has passed) only where it is physically able to do so. In Ward 32, there are very few places where this can occur due to our narrow streets.
Latest updates from the Toronto City Council meeting of February 20 and 21, 2013:
Term limits for members of Council
A motion calling on Council to request a report addressing the subject of term limits for City councillors and mayors was not discussed by Council. Instead, the motion was referred to Executive Committee for consideration.
Plan for economic growth and jobs
Council endorsed a new economic growth plan that focuses on increasing employment and commercial property tax revenues. The plan, Collaborating for Competitiveness – A Strategic Plan to Accelerate Economic Growth and Job Creation in Toronto, sets targets for improving the quality of jobs in Toronto and commits to harmonizing the policies/activities of the City and its agencies to help create a more attractive climate for business and investment. Council adopted several amendments for actions related to the economic strategy.
Council endorsed the strategic approach contained in the Toronto Newcomer Strategy and directed that it be closely integrated with the City of Toronto’s economic development plan. The strategy focuses on advancing newcomer health and labour market outcomes, and supporting newcomer access to municipal supports and their civic/community engagement. The approach involves collaboration with City divisions, other orders of government and the community-based sector.