Archive for April, 2012

Urban scene stressing you out man? Rake some sand!

Nothing to do with Dieppe Park, just a curious little vignette from Queen and Ronnsie.  They even left a little rake, leaning against the bicycle ring, for others to use.  That’s Zen.

LOCATION: Queen and Roncesvalles
PHOTO BY: Jessica Drummond
FIELD NOTES: It takes a special kind of person to transform an unfinished chunk of sidewalk into a zen garden. Even more special: leaving a rake for others to use. It just goes to show that with a little imagination anything can be turned into art. And what better place for this than by a busy city intersection?

Once a week, Vandalist features some of the most interesting street art and graffiti from around Toronto. Find something great? Email


Dieppe Park going to the dogs

I sat in my car this morning, on the south side of Cosburn Avenue, right beside the baseball diamond, and watched as five people took their dogs into the baseball diamond for an “off leash” run. Two of these owners/walkers didn’t pick up after their dogs. The signs posted on the gates of the diamond couldn’t be more clear, “No Dogs Allowed,” yet the diamond is still used as an off leash area. Continue reading

The Etiquette of Altering a Park

Seattles’s Counterbalance Park lit up at night. Matthew Rutledge on Flickr

Are there lessons for Toronto parks to be learned from the experience of Seattle’s Counterbalance Park?  Special interest groups can wield great influence in what gets put into, or not put into, parks.  Need we be reminded of the old saw, “he who pays the fiddler calls the tune?”  This article explores the etiquette of altering a park – Ed.

_______________________ Continue reading

A million trees? Only if we can keep them around


A Million Trees? Only If We Can Keep Them Around

Toronto | 04/18/2012 8:00am | 0
Leda Marritz | Next American City

Trees are a huge asset to their communities, yet we frequently fail to plant them in viable conditions where they can grow to maturity. Credit: Edward Marritz


In February, the U.S. Forest Service published a report indicating that cities around the country are losing around 4 million trees per year. Of the 20 cities included in the study, 17 showed significant losses of canopy cover, and 16 showed significant increases in impervious hardscape (or paved surfaces that don’t absorb water). At the same time, cities like Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City and Philadelphia continue to announce “Million Tree” planting initiatives as part of citywide green infrastructure efforts. Continue reading

Orchard Event – Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard

Orchard Event – Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard.

Growing food in parks is gaining traction.  You might want to check out the Ben Nobleman Orchard website and see if this event is for you.

Urban Highway Removal Around the World

Urban Highway Removal: To Your Health

Portland | 04/10/2012 10:08amBen Welle | The City Fix

Tom McCall Waterfront Park, created after the removal of a highway in Portland. Joel Mann on Flickr

This piece originally appeared on The City Fix.

The famed U.S. intellectual Lewis Mumford once said, “Forget the damned motor car and build the cities for lovers and friends.” A recently released report on freeway removal from by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and EMBARQ (producer The City Fix) seems to be getting a bit closer to that ideal, providing case studies on cities that have successfully removed freeways tearing their cities asunder or separating waterfronts from the enjoyment of residents. Continue reading

Let’s Make A Deal!

Free event April 25th.

Exploring Section 37 of Planning Act

Working With Developers For Community Benefits

Here’s a familiar story: A developer wants to replace a building on your street with something big — so big that it will require changes to the City’s official plans for the land.

The neighbours are nervous about it: Do we have some say in what happens? Could we get new sidewalks around the new building? What about a daycare — could we ask for that? Could local people work on the construction team? Are the low-income people who live in the current building going to be able to afford units in the new building? Continue reading