Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

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





Activity highlights 1992 - 2012

for CELOS/ friends of the park/ City of Toronto at Dufferin Grove Park


City: partnered with Dufferin Mall to raise money for Dufferin Grove playground. Mall advertised $3 child care while shopping, done by rec staff on site; also rec staff were posted to collect $2 from each car coming into Mall. Mall then donated $25,000 to the park.

City closed Dufferin Rink for that season, scheduled to rebuild it.

Friends: City called meeting re the $25,000, nobody came. Mall manager asked Jutta to find out what people wanted to do with $25,000. Jutta called people for two days, wrote their comments on a list. City and first three “friends of the park” jointly organized public meeting at the library in fall, to discuss list.

Total grants: $25,000


City: Put in the adventure sandpit, opening ceremony with Toronto Mayor June Rowlands, live on City TV, example of “public-private partnership.” City said there was no money for a green storage shed. Dufferin Rink was rebuilt, and re-opened in late December. City parks supervisor (Carol Cormier) gave flats of flowers for parents’ garden.

Friends: library meeting approved the basketball court, adventure sandpit, $5000 artist funding for the “Big Back Yard” program.

Friends got $1100 more from the Mall, for a storage shed for program materials. Collaborated with City to do summer programs. Summer campfires started, with City support. First flowerbed put in by parents at playground.

Total grants: $1100

Artist contracts: $5000


City: Councillor and Recreation Director cut the ribbon at the joint City-friends rink reopening ceremony. City spent $4000 to install circus tightrope for circus school. City rink staff refused to collaborate with friends on Sunday family day events. Management moved jurisdiction from Holy Family C.R.C. to Bob Abate C.R.C. to improve cooperation.

City gave Italian seniors a key to play cards in rinkhouse – unstaffed.

Friends: Organized official reopening ceremony for rink at end of rink season.

Park friends and had follow-up public meeting at library (with P&R manager Glen Sharp), discussed park changes and plans. Mall agreed to donate another $5000 for artist staff, plus $4000 to do Sunday park concerts.

Toronto Community Foundation gave $3000 “Safe City Award” to friends of the park.

Sunday family rink events and winter campfires started.

Total grants $12,000

Artist contracts: $5000


City: gave the park friends a $4,500 "Breaking the Cycle of Violence" grant. City gave grant of $500 to make video of the “Big Back Yard” program. Parks staff brought 20 locker-room benches from Alex Duff pool demolition, to use at the park. Opening ceremony with Mayor Barbara Hall for community bake-oven. City sent building inspector for a site visit to consult about removal of partial internal cinderblock wall at rink house, which obstructed staff vision. Said removal would not compromise building structure, but would cost $6000. City framed new edge of shortened interior wall, added interior office window to improve staff visibility. City invited Clay and Paper Theatre to use empty field house rooms for puppet-making, to deal with long-term vandalism problem there.

Friends: got $10,000 Trillium Foundation grant to build bake oven and increase community programming, also $9,000 Ontario Social Development Council grant for Child Nutrition Project (bake oven), also Maytree Foundation grants, "English in the Park" $4,700, and $700 oven completion grant. Also $3000 from Dufferin Mall, for Big Back Yard program staffing, and $2,000 for equipment and supplies grant:\\ $2,000. Dufferin Mall, Music in the park, $3000 (expanded music performances into Christie Pits also).

Got permission to put in seven small flowerbeds, plus two window-boxes at field house. Worked with Latino gang members from Christie Pits to make the gardens, build the oven.

Removed (at no cost) interior half-wall.

Total grants: $37,400

Food costs: $1,617
Youth honoraria: $253.55
Artist contracts: $3000
Supplies and maintenance: $2,144


City: put in four eye-level windows in rink house change-room area ($8000). City of Toronto Food Access Program grant ($6925), to install a two-section community café kitchen in office and slop-room.

City sent building inspector to consult about removal of interior wall separating two changerooms. He confirmed that second cinderblock wall was not load-bearing but said removal would cost $10,000.

After park friends removed wall for free, City sent in carpenters to finish the edges.

City staff from Regent Park (Lucky Boothe) visited to mediate with youth behavior toward staff. City gave $6000 “emergency grant” to address poor youth behaviour.

Friends: started school visits to the oven. Worked with City and neighbourhood Trades volunteers to install a new two-room kitchen with some additional plumbing and wiring. Final $2900 from Ontario Social Development Council (Child Nutrition Project) was used to use bake-oven for school class visits.

School classes planted new flowerbeds with $4525 Friends of the Environment grant and first food garden near the oven.

Started “odd jobs for youth” program.

Theatre: Clay and Paper, Crankee Consort.

Senior men began gardening at park.

Park friends took apart (at no cost) cinderblock interior wall between two changerooms.

Friends tried to interest Fourteen Division police in enforcing bylaws: unsuccessful.

Total grants: $25,350

Food costs: $1,321
Youth odd jobs honoraria: $5,796
Artist contracts: $5000
Supplies and maintenance:$1,769


City: Hired Intelligarde Security Company to help enforce rink rules.

City installed a new “Dufferin Grove Clubhouse” sign at front of rink building, with a bake-oven logo.

Mayor Barbara Hall came to celebrate the woodstove and completed rink changes. Total cost of rink clubhouse changes: $19,200. [Compare Sorauren Fieldhouse renovation: $360,000.]

Casual rec staff Lily Weston became first Dufferin Grove coordinator.

City of Toronto General and Recreational Grants: $6,000.

City of Toronto “Breaking the Cycle of Violence” program: $8,000

Friends: got a $3500 grant from the Maytree Foundation to install a woodstove in the rink house.

Started a parent-child drop-in at rink clubhouse after rinks closed, with $2000 grant from midwife.

Lieutenant Governor Hilary Weston came to present “unsung heroes” awards to five neighbourhood activists. Theatre: Crankee Consort, Clay and Paper, 3Elements Theatre (Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night).

Total number of grants that year: 15.

Total grants: $64,750

Food costs: $158
Youth odd jobs: $15,965
Artist contracts: $4000
Supplies and maintenance: $5,712


City: City of Toronto Recreation Grant: $6000, Breaking the Cycle of Violence Grant: $3000, Drug Abuse Prevention grant: $2000 (first turned down because “not enough youth involved in planning”),

City of Toronto food cart prototype grant $2450.

Parks crew collaborated with park friend Gene Threndyle to put in marsh fountain.

Friends: G.H.Wood Foundation, $6000, Anonymous grant through the Phoenix Foundation (John Sewell): $10,000, Canada Trust "Friends of the Environment Foundation": $3,600, Crankee Consort Theatre Assistance Contract, $8000, Ministry of the Solicitor General “Community-police partnership” grant: $22,000 (December). Built food cart. Marsh Fountain put in (Gene Threndyle and Parks crew), with $10,000 grant from Toronto Arts Council.

Started food fundraising, on the basis of base cost plus donations

Total grants: $64,390
Funds raised through food at the park: $2,698

Youth odd jobs: $18,203
Artist and youth program contracts: $18,203
Supplies and maintenance: $5,469


City: Recreation Grant: $4000.

Dufferin Rink was closed until December 17 because rink house floor sank. (Rumoured to have cost the City around $70,000 to repair)

Friends: Film corp. $2500, Maytree Foundation: $1600, Crankee Consort Antigone Fund: $8000, G.H. Wood: $2500. Ont. Gov't student wage subsidy: $6876 allowed more work with youth. Theatre: Antigone and Hiphopera. Trial snack bars at Alex Duff, Christie Rink, Wallace Rink. (Insufficient supervisory staff to do it right.)

Total grants: $25,456
Funds raised through food at the park: $5,113

Youth odd jobs and contracts: $33,365
Supplies and maintenance: $3,715


City: Sharp decrease in City recreation or youth grants.

Don Boyle says that the former City of Toronto’s Parks and Recreation budget is a mess but he hopes to have it straightened out soon: “give me six months.”

Playground rain-shelter built by City ($16,000 capital cost).

CELOS/Park friends: Little oven built at Dufferin in May. Newsletter began (printed by City), and CELOS began as a bookshelf. Dufferin Grove food money used to build small bake-oven at Christie in October. First Night of Dread community parade (funded by the Bronfman Foundation). Park friends decide to stop writing funding applications, try to earn it with snack bars, healthy food.

Total grants: $23,226
Funds raised through food at the park: $10,304

Total youth odd jobs: $8,803
Supplies and maintenance: $3,216


City: General manager (Claire Tucker Reid) says there’s no between-season staffing budget for DGP. Lily (coordinator) leaves – big goodbye party at park.

Rink season shortened by three weeks citywide to save money – after big resistance, one rink in each ward opens at the beginning of December.

CELOS/park friends: “Fate of the Park” public meeting, website started by Emily Visser. Councillor Mario Silva defends DGP coordinator position, budget restored but Lily Weston doesn’t return. Park gets Jane Jacobs Prize and “Great Community Award” in NYC (PPS conference), alongside Parks awards to Chicago (accepted by their Mayor), Central Park NYC and Portland. CELOS asks for Dufferin Grove Park to be declared a “lab,” but Claire Tucker Reid says no.

CELOS begins trying to determine the cost of running the park – first with cooperation from management, then silence.

Total grants: $3250
Funds raised through food at the park and Riverdale farmers’ market bread sales: $6418.10

Youth honoraria: $5,973
Supplies and maintenance: $5,152


City: City announces six park fairs for September to earn extra revenue, including for DGP, expects to put in midway, product testing, expecting 10,000 people. Project of a former Parks and Rec staff who left the city and started “Charisma Advertising”.

City cancels them after outcry and bad press. City also cancels printing support of Dufferin Grove newsletter.

Don Boyle comes to meet park users – large turnout.

Recreation staffing budget set at $61,000 City wages. [Note: less than a year’s wages of one park supervisor.]

CELOS/park friends: Community outcry about “Charisma Advertising” park fairs, reported in newsletter and the media.

CELOS publishes a financial report including detailed cost estimates of how much it costs to run the park (City and CELOS). Friday Night Supper and Farmers’ market begin.

Total grants: $1,916
Funds raised through food at the park: $9,615

Youth honoraria: $8,636
Supplies and maintenance: $4,843


City of Toronto: $20,000 Food and Hunger Action grant to make a second small kitchen closer to the bake ovens, in the unused zamboni garage alcove.

Parks and Trees Foundation gives $2000 to improve dufferinpark.ca website.

Health and Safety inspectors visit the rink in December and say they might shut it down because of the kitchen next to the zamboni garage. Outcry is in all three newspapers. Mayor and general manager say it won’t happen.

City carpenters build new storage shelves for safer storage; rink stays open.

CELOS/park friends: Rink hotline starts in January. Community-use kitchen installed in alcove of Zamboni garage. Additional funding from GH Woods Foundation: $8000.

$700 donated by rink user, to allow the rink to stay open after 9 pm, for youth skaters, and $10,000 from the Metcalf Foundation, to research the story of Toronto parks. Follow-up on the Parks and Recreation budget questions runs into a wall, so CELOS submits freedom of information requests. Visitors from other parks come to Dufferin grove to swap stories.

Funds raised through food at the park: $34,980
Total grants: $53,899

Contracts and honoraria for baking, playground, performances, summer camp: $29,894
Supplies and maintenance (not including groceries): $7,083


City: Big heat wave in late June, but harmonization policy prevents staff from opening the wading pool before July 1. Public protest changes decision.

Public Health inspector says that the food cart at the wading pool needs four sinks with hot and cold running water.

PFR comes in $8 million over budget. General manager Claire Tucker Reid retires and is replaced by Brenda Librecz, from Economic Development.

CELOS/friends: Shortfall in city wages: $4100, donations for overrun: $4127. Volunteers keep rink open after 9 pm. (Skaters donate $700 to cover budget overrun.)

Theatre, youth programs, summer programs, newcomer programs, garden club, dusk dances, music, campfires, playground programs. Parks users say park is too busy.

Funds raised through food at the park: $63,361
Total grants: $8452

Special program contracts: $66,312
Supplies and maintenance (not including groceries): $8,472


City: City trades put in wiring and plumbing for the public health sinks.

CELOS loses freedom of information appeal re playgrounds on the grounds that if the City didn’t keep records of playground repair spending, they are not obliged to create such a record.

CELOS asks Brenda Librecz to declare Dufferin Grove Park a lab that’s exempt from the citywide staff restructuring. Brenda Librecz visits the park and the cob courtyard with Kathy Wiele, but says no to lab. New City bylaw officers come to the park to give farmers tickets for parking on the grass at the market.

CELOS: incorporates as a non-profit. Cob-courtyard-building all summer – for the public health sinks.

CELOS submits rink report to Parks Committee.

First (and so far only) Dufferin Grove “Little folk festival.”

Funds raised through food at the park: $77,212
Total grants: $2276

Special program contracts: $62,651
Supplies and maintenance: $4,180 (not including groceries)


City: CELOS rink report is removed from committee agenda. June – park visits from new recreation manager Kelvin Seouw, new parks manager Sandy Straw.

Toronto Arts Council grant to build a composting toilet with a cob (sculptural) surround.

New organizational structure means park has 12 supervisors responsible for various things.

Zamboni path graded and covered with asphalt, then removed and redone better.

Parks puts up barrier and then remove two-step stair to rink.

December: campfires cancelled.

CELOS: February: public meeting about rinks – change to board of management?

From newsletter: “Now the goal of CELOS is to find the best way for park staff to administer park food funds in the long run.”

Started bio-toilet, then ordered to stop. Parks hired an architect but held meetings without inviting bio-toilet builder.

CELOS sends PFR management a copy of their Trillium application to help other parks do campfires and other social activities.

Park friends make a two-step stair to rink entryway.

Funds raised through food at the park: $149,615
Total grants: $12,900.

Program contracts (operations and research, web, gardens, etc.): $80,035
Program-related supplies, incl. groceries: $79,880


City: Campfires gradually restored.

Parks hires engineer for bio-toilet but sharply limits direct contact with bio-toilet builder. Building permit is issued but is not suitable for community-built bio-toilet structure.

Announcement that Dufferin Grove wading pool will be rebuilt at a cost of approximately $250,000.

Parks installs a two step stair as rink access.

Announcement from Shirley Hoy that drastic budget cuts are necessary, including Monday community centre closures and rink opening postponement by one whole month.

Mastercard donates $160,000 and City says that will allow them to open all 49 rinks on time.

CELOS: begins legal research re steps, campfires, farmers’ markets, building codes. CELOS publishing: Outdoor rinks booklet, Campfire handbook, Farmers’ market booklet. School classes come to build cob benches. $50,000 Trillium grant is approved for CELOS to “take the show on the road.”

CELOS continues researching rinks and preparing rink report cards. Also CELOS gets more serious about researching rink costs.

Funds raised through food at the park: $194,999
Total grants: $63,700

Program contracts (operations and research, web, gardens, etc.): $141,461
Program-related supplies, incl. groceries: $96,484


City: January: PFR introduces “Everybody Gets to Play “™ to discuss permit fee increases and new programming. February: city announces shortened hours at outdoor rinks for Family Day. “Everybody Gets to Play” is sent back to PFR staff by Council, to rework.

Police Superintendent Ruth White says that Parks Supervisor Peter Leiss has visited her and told her that there are financial irregularities at Dufferin Grove Park.

Councillor’s office arranges for curb cuts for zamboni and bikes at north end of park

Parks calls market meeting and hands out policy; put on hold with help from Foodshare director Debbie Field. June 27: Brenda Librecz resigns and is replaced by Brenda Patterson. Councillor Joe Mihevc is replaced by Councillor Janet Davis as head of the Recreation Committee.

July: field house repainted, roof re-shingled, plumbing fixed

October-November: most of new work done on wading pool

CELOS: Sexual assault in the park leads to the Court Project visits, with Michael Monastyrskyj as the lead.

Start of the Dufferin Grove Speakers/ series. Commercial fridge donated to Dufferin Grove kitchen by cobber John Cannell.

July: CELOS send image of field house toilets to councillor.

Funds raised through food at the park: $240,925
Total grants: $5000.

Program contracts (operations and research, web, gardens, etc.): $141,461.21
Program-related supplies, incl. groceries: $119,442
Computer/internet: $2,282


City: asks its recreation staff to stop handling money, then modifies the request to ask for cash-handling documentation and proposals

CELOS: submits a report to the recreation manager, on cash handling. Grants: from the farmers' market: $500 (to build some benches); from an environmental group called TREC: $2230.08 (for educational building projects on public lands, with school kids); a federal grant to hire summer students: $5657 (they also helped with community projects at Thorncliffe and MacGregor); from OTF for our database project: $24,000.

Funds raised through food and skates at the park: $190,713
Total grants: $32,387.

Program contracts: (operations and research, web, gardens, etc.): $139,271
Program-related supplies, incl. groceries: $89,933
Computer/internet: $1,508




Funds raised through food and skates at the park: $226,370
Total grants: $37,500.

Program contracts (operations and research, web, gardens, etc.): $159,282
Program-related supplies, incl. groceries: $103,902
Computer/internet: $1,805




Funds raised through food and skates donations at the park: $202,944
Grants and gifts: $37,500 (OTF) and $23,616 (individual).

Program contracts: $71,900 (direct operations) and $83,263 (research, web, gardens, etc.)
Program-related supplies, incl. groceries: $103,907
Computer/internet: $1,738




Funds raised through food and skates donations at the park: $137,084
Grants and gifts: $25,000 (OTF) and $18,382 (individual)

Program contracts: $39,736 (direct operating) and $54,240 (research, web, gardens, etc.)
Program-related supplies (incl.groceries): $74,603
Computer/internet: $1229

Content last modified on November 05, 2017, at 09:25 PM EST