Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

See also Site Map

Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





What is a park conservancy?

Cambridge Dictionary conservancy definition: An organization whose aim is to protect natural areas or interesting and important places, and the animals and plants living in them.

The American Trust for Public Lands definition:

Typically, conservancies are created to fund large capital projects such as repairs to a building, monument, fountain, pathway system, major lawn, forest, or lake. Many evolve to oversee the actual construction and even to provide additional management and programming for the park. A few move up all the way to handling park administration—from maintaining parkland to coordinating concessions to providing security.


2014 Prospect Park NYC

The leader of Prospect Park Alliance (also called a conservancy) is both the alliance’s president and the park’s official administrator for the parks department. Oversees a staff of 125 employees. The alliance raises about $4 million annually and brings in $4 million from concessions in the park.

2015: Central Park NYC
2017: Edwards Gardens Master Plan

1.The City of Toronto will continue to own Edwards Gardens.

2. The geographical scope of TBG’s responsibilities should be gradually expanded from its current 1.6 hectares to encompass the entirety of Edwards Gardens (14 hectares) and its Gardens, forests, lawns, and facilities, as and when the various phases of the Master Plan are implemented.

3. At the same time, TBG’s managerial duties should be expanded to include future maintenance, management and development of Gardens, forests, lawns, and facilities within these geographical areas.

4. The current investment that the City of Toronto allocates annually towards the management, maintenance and operation of Edwards Gardens through the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division should continue. Funding levels will be reviewed regularly.

5. As TBG gradually takes on more of the responsibility for operations and management of the Gardens, these funds will be transferred from the City to TBG to be applied accordingly.

• A Board of Directors will continue to have oversight over TBG as per the requirements of their Letters Patent and bylaws. This board should continue to function as a governance board, providing strategic direction, policy development, operational oversight, and fiscal responsibility.

Prospect Park and Central Park were the first of the new kind of conservancy – conserving famous parks designed by Olmstead. In Toronto, the Edwards Gardens Master Plan aims to convert that park into a world-class botanical and ecological showplace. But what about vital little plans -- can they make a reappearance as partnerships -- conservancies -- too? In the case of Dufferin Grove Park, can a little plan recover what was swamped out over the past six years by the Parks and Recreation bureaucracy? Can a Dufferin Grove Park Conservancy conserve a locally cherished community commons?

2018: Possible Dufferin Grove Park Conservancy

Park stories here: www.dufferinpark.ca

From the Parks and Rec general manager's speech at the 2018 Park People Summit:

"Toronto is leading the country on collaborative governance models that bring government and communities together to improve, operate and enhance parks and public realm, and each one of those partnerships and models is unique – we don’t have a one-conservancy-fits-all model, we’re actively working with each partner to create solutions that fit and that maximize our shared potential."

2005: Dufferin Grove friends supper, rink clubhouse

Back to: Vital little plan

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Content last modified on October 12, 2018, at 10:31 AM EST