Archive for the ‘State of the Park’ Category

Building Climate Change Resilient Parks

Tree Damage at Withrow Park

Withdraw (above) and Dieppe Park both sustained heavy damage to trees during and after the ice storm two years ago.

In the face of rapid, man-made climate change, Toronto’s parks are facing some major challenges.  This is especially true around soil erosion, soil compaction, changing bio-diversity and most importantly, tree canopies.

As many of you know, I’m a student of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) and I’ve just finished a little course sponsored by the World Bank Group.  You might be interested in one of my video artifacts – dealing specifically with Toronto Parks.  It speaks directly to the challenges and ways to overcome those challenges as we drift towards the year 2050.  I hope you’re inspired – at least a little ~ Ed.

A Ryerson Student on Climate Change

Bud burst is dependent on changes in weather

Bud burst is dependent on changes in weather

As some of you know, I’m a student of environmental science with a very special interest in anthropogenic global warming (or AGW)  and how urban parks can be made more resilient in the face of a changing climate.

Last week, as part of an assignment, I interviewed a Ryerson student about climate changes and asked her four questions.  Below are her responses that I thought I’d share with you.  The take-away is that this student sees very few changes in attitudes or behaviors of people or companies as they relates to climate change.  Continue reading

Artificial Turf Coming to Dieppe Park?

IMG_0005 v2~ By Ed Horner.     May 5, 2015

Dieppe Park walks a fine line between being a community park  (used mainly by local residents) and being a sports park (used heavily by organized soccer and baseball teams from in and around the GTA, that pay to use the facility).  For the 26 years that I’ve lived within walking distance of Dieppe, the park has handled this tension fairly well.  Having lived on Greenwood with my backyard right on the park, I can say that with some confidence.*

Last night, I was at a public consultation meeting hosted by Councillor Mary Fragedakis in the Council Chambers of the East York Civic Centre at 850 Coxwell Ave.  The purpose of this meeting was to;

  • Present the draft design concept for the redevelopment of the soccer field at Dieppe Park
  • Receive comment/input from the public on the proposed design
  • Discuss next steps

Continue reading

Ice Rink Construction Continues

Taken a few days ago, you can clearly see the shape of the pleasure rink with it’s rounded triangular surface with an island in the middle.  On the east side of the fieldhouse, you can now see progress on the portico as the steel beams go up.

A few shots of construction work in park

Watch an excavator work on the concrete slabs of the old rink as it finishes up in the north west corner of the park.  Don’t forget to visit us on Facebook.

Ice Rink Construction Begins

Concept A

Concept A

It’s been a long time coming, but construction of new Artificial Ice Rink (A.I.R) is underway.  Click here for some background and here for a list of suggested improvements and comments from FODP.

The rink, which is is presently in place, was built some 40 years ago and has come to the end of it’s life cycle.  The new rink – slightly re-aligned and expanded – will be ready for skating this winter.  The fieldhouse, also some forty years old, will receive a major facelift and all new mechanicals to service the ice surface and make it more comfortable and user friendly for the many skaters who use the facility every winter.  (See photos below)  Councillor for Ward 29 – Mary Fragedakis – has been working very hard with the Parks people and project manager to get this project underway … thanks Mary! Continue reading

Dogs may run free in all city parks


Regardless of which side of the argument you’re on, I urge you to send a clear message to Councilor Mary Fragedakis letting her know your feeling about having dogs run free in Dieppe Park from 9pm to 9am.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a dog owner himself, has asked the parks and environment committee to study introducing off-leash hours at all parks.  Regardless of how you feel about this, I urge you to send a clear message to Councilor Mary Fragedakis letting her know your thoughts.

Continue reading

Cracking Down on Yoga in the Park

This Week in Atlantic Cities.

In parks and open spaces in cities across the U.S. each morning, it’s easy to fine people stretching and reaching and posing in the blissful serenity of outdoor yoga. But as serene as it may seem, that downward-facing dog pose could be illegal.

Yoga or “boot camp” or any other paid fitness class taking place in a public park is a criminal activity, according to D.C. Council member Tommy Wells. He argues that these classes are making money from participants and are therefore a violation of a city law prohibiting private companies from conducting commercial activity at parks. Continue reading

Daily Adopt-A-Tree Journal

Adopt-A-Tree Journal

Ed Horner

I’m an early riser and taking 45 minutes a day to look after a couple of newly planted trees in our park, two or three times a week,  is no burden in any way.  Typically I’ll fill my two 5 gallon water jugs, put them in the back of the car, take my Garden Claw and small garden spade, work gloves and a garbage bag and drive around the corner to Dieppe.  I turn the mulch, re-form it back into a donought shape, pull any weeds, and pour in the five gallons of water.  Ten minutes tops.  I then walk around the immediate area and pick up any trash people have left behind and deposit the bag in the litter containers provided by the City.  From leaving the house, filling the water jugs, doing the work and back home for a second coffee, 30 minutes – maybe 45 if I do 3 trees.  Below is a daily journal, updated as often as I think about it.  – Ed Continue reading

Illegal Dumping

Cleanliness of city parks is a direct responsibility of the City.  It’s a tough job in a big city and the the sanitation department can use your help.

Selfish, thoughtless citizens and organizations throw tons of garbage, illegally, into parks, ravines and green spaces every day – into areas where dogs run, children play and adults go for a bit of peace and quiet – severely detracting from public enjoyment of the park.  It’s a health and safety hazard.  The Friends of Dieppe Park believe it’s a basic right to be free of the effects of illegal dumping.

When illegal dumping occurs and is reported by calling the non-emergency number 311, the City is obligated to respond.  It’s been my experience that the response time is usually “reasonable.”  Friends of Dieppe Park believe that citizens have a civic duty to phone in a complaint or observation of illegal dumping for the health and safety of all citizens.

When that call is made – yes, you can call without giving your name – the City is now aware of the problem and is obligated to take action.  Moreover, the incident is tracked and becomes part of an ongoing record of problem areas and resources can be better channeled to deal with ongoing illegal dumping.

After a call to 311, you can also call the office of your local councilor and make them aware of the situation for their own records and possible future action.  If you don’t know the name and number of your councilor, you can ask during your 311 call.

When you call about illegal dumping, it’s very helpful if you can describe or list the type of material dumped.  For example, if it’s a refrigerator, stove or car, that would require different pickup equipment and personnel than say a few bags of household rubbish.  Often, the operator will give you a confirmation or case number that you can use to track and follow up on the report.  Be persistent and call back if no action is taken within a reasonable time.

If you observe an act of illegal dumping FODP suggests that you:

  •  Ensure your own safety, and those you are responsible for, first and foremost
  • Note time, date and place
  • Observe the vehicle
  • Do not make your presence known
  • Do not touch the material dumped
  • Report the vehicle, not the individual
  • Record license plate number, vehicle description
  • Call the non-emergency number 311

You can also report overflowing public garbage cans, which can be just as much as a health hazard, using the 311 number.

As a matter of public safety, you may also want to report standing water in parks and green areas.  This is important from April to August as this is prime mosquito breeding time and concerns about West Nile Virus, while often overblown, are not without basis.  The Toronto Public Health (TPH) and Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) have developed a joint West Nile Virus response protocol and are obliged to act.

For a complete listing of services offered through the 311 number, go to the City of Toronto Website.

Contacting 311

  • Phone within Toronto city limits: 311
  • Phone outside city limits: 416-392-CITY (2489)
    (can be used within Toronto if you can’t reach 311)
  • TTY customers: 416-338-0TTY (0889)
  • Fax: 416-338-0685
  • E-mail:

 – Article courtesy of Ed Horner, Feb 2012 – FODP