Tag Archives: public space

Toronto strike impact

How is the strike affecting you?
By Kris Scheuer
It’s day six of the strike and garbage is piling up in the streets, city waste transfer stations and 19 temporary dumps located near parks such as Christie Pits and beaches like Sunnyside.
Parents are having to find alternative arrangements as all city-run daycare is shut down.
City-run camps and recreation programs and community centres are a not open. And there’s no water testing at Toronto’s 11-designated beaches.
Check out the city’s website to see a full list of services affected by this labour disruption. Then tell me what service has impacted you the most since the strike began June 22?
As well, for articles on how this situation is playing out in TO’s communities please check out online coverage at the paper I work for the Town Crier.

Free Toronto summer music festivals

International headline artists hit Toronto for Irie, Island Soul, Caribana
Last weekend in July a hot one for must see summer music fests

By Kris Scheuer

It’s June 21, the first day of summer. I don’t want to hurry it along, but I have to tell you about Irie Music Festival a free Reggae and Calypso, Soca fest in Toronto that I have attended since it began eight years ago. It is a very positive vibe and includes headliners that are internationally known. And did I mention it’s Free, people. You won’t regret checking it out (and I in no way make a cent by promoting these events).
I just went to Irie’s website and there’s a great line up for July 30-Aug 3 at Queen’s Park.
There’s Byron Lee’s Dragonaires playing Aug 1 in tribute to their leader who passed on. I have a few CDs from this group and have seen them live a number of times. Very fun and sure to make you dance.
Also highly recommended is Gramps Morgan from the famous group Morgan Heritage, which I have also seen live twice and have almost all their CDs. The music is very danceable but also extremely socially conscious reggae music. You won’t regret going to see them on Aug 2.
And last but certainly not least is Fab 5. They are a Jamaican reggae group that’s been rocking since 1970. But don’t be fooled, they can do everything from old school reggae to music that’s currently on the radio with supreme ease. I saw them for the very first time last summer and have been hoping they would come back again and they are on Aug 3. I have a CD of theirs where they groove on 32 different songs in one continuous live jam and it pumps me up every time.
Highly recommended.
The same busy weekend is the Island Soul festival down at Harbourfront and one of my favs is back this year. He’s a singer I have seen a few times – the famous calypsonian The Mighty Sparrow playing Fri/July 30 scheduled for 9:30 pm. There is a covered stage and bench style seating and standing room for a few hundred. It gets really packed down there so you will want to get there early but don’t expect him to necessarily go on stage on time, but other acts will warm up the stage. Again no cost for the outdoor concert.
Of course, if that’s not enough there’s also the 42nd annual Caribana Parade on Sat Aug 1 down on the Lakeshore. I first attended this event 20 years ago as a young 18 year old when it went up University Ave. In fact, except for a few reggae artists I grew up listening to such as Bob Marley, that first Caribana for me in 1988 was my real introduction to the music from the Caribbean and was especially my first taste of Calypso and Soca, which includes both fun, party tunes and socially conscious songs.
Whether or not this particular music interest you, as much as it does me, my main point is summer festivals really make the city come alive. Enjoy.


Urban orchard bares fruit

Susan at Ben Nobleman Park. Photo courtesy of Susan Poizner.

Susan at Ben Nobleman Park. Photo courtesy of Susan Poizner.

By Kris Scheuer

Susan Poizner has a vision of students picking fruit off a tree in a park rather than grabbing a sugary treat on their way home.
The founder of Growing For Green has a dream of creating the city’s first urban community orchard.
Poizner lives near Ben Nobleman Park across from Eglinton West subway station and has her sights set on planting more than three-dozen fruit trees there.
“I stumbled on a small community orchard in Vancouver,” she said. “So now every time I walk by Ben Nobleman Park, I dream of kids coming home from school and instead of picking up a (chocolate) bar, they pick an apple from a tree and munch on it on their way home.”

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Gardening on the edge

Guerilla gardening (I’m fairly certain) has nothing to do with teaching gorillas to weed and tend to plots of land.
Rather, it’s a way to add cheer to a dull city lot by leaving behind planted flowers. The Toronto Public Space Committee has its own volunteer guerilla gardening group and has dubbed the activity “graffiti with nature”.
The time commitment is small: just a few hours to dig and plant a site.
The guerillas also create and toss “seed bombs” — on public sites like train tracks and bridges — designed to allow the seeds take root and have flowers sprout.
In case you accuse me of leading you down the garden path, you should know guerilla gardening is illegal: participants don’t own the land or seek permission to plant on city property.
But it’s highly unlikely you’ll get arrested or fined for digging in the dirt and leaving behind tulips or daisies, the city says.
“We are aware of their activities,” Elyse Parker of the city’s transportation services tells me. “We encourage people to make Toronto more beautiful.” Continue reading