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The Dufferin Grove Park Experiment: History

By Jutta Mason

See also: why I wrote this history


1991: the park was mostly grass and a lot of fine old trees
 

In the fall of 1991, I found a flyer in my mailbox, from City Councillor Tony O’Donahue. It announced a meeting at St.Mary’s High School, about problems at Dufferin Grove Park. The police would be there, to hear from the neighbourhood and talk about solutions.

I didn’t know what problems the meeting poster referred to. I’d been going to the park every day for five years to walk our dog, and our three children played at the playground. My main problem with the park was that it was not very interesting for the kids. There was a fairly new wooden playground that offered some fun for younger children, and a wading pool in the summer, but not much for older kids to do. The park was mostly grass and a lot of fine old trees, and two small flower beds. The baseball diamond had a pretty friendly scene, but it was mostly adult leagues playing softball. The bocci court near the rink never seemed had anyone on it. And in winter, the compressor-cooled skating rink had the same little group of teenagers playing shinny and swearing at each other every night, on both of its rink pads. Boring, but not a problem that was likely to result in a meeting with police. It seemed like a lot of people in the neighbourhood used the park mainly as a shortcut over to the Dufferin Mall. But what were the problems alluded to in the poster?

So I went to the meeting to find out.

read more

chapter three

chapter four

chapter five


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