This Toronto based project focuses on overcoming inner city nature deficits through the creation and expansion of child and youth centered green spaces in downtown Toronto. The project will engage vulnerable communities, especially newcomer Canadians, in creating and endorsing naturalized play areas and natural habitats.
Project Updates (in their own words):
March 2013 – On February 23, 17 newcomer girls, part of Girls Taking Green Roots (a program at Culturelink) all with a closed connection to Parkdale (living/school) gathered to expand their neighborhood knowledge, gain community engagement skills, dream about a more inclusive green and children/youth friendly Parkdale, and built the foundation for a strong community participation on the West Lodge Park Rejuvenation Project.
A big Thank You to our amazing facilitators Laura Severinac from Greenpeace & Aryne Sheppard from the David Suzuki Foundation for leading the training. The group was also able to learn from project collaborators Nancy McGee from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority about Natural Habitats, Carolina & Lucy G’ala from Cleanearthdesign & Project E about Natural Playgrounds, Rachel Roth from Greenest City about Community Gardens & Celina Ainsworth from the Herbal Clinic & Dispensary about Medicinal Gardens on that day and during the following weeks.
I would also like to thank Ilana Divantman, Parkdale Artist for sharing her Sorauren Field House mural grant with the group (scheduled to be painted in July 2013) and Gord Perks (local councillor) for coming out on a Saturday to meet the girls & show gratitude towards the group’s efforts to make Parkdale a better, fun and healthier place to live in!
The young women led the initial West Lodge Park community consultation along with City Parks staff and Gord Perks on March 5, 2013. With secure voices, an informative presentation about the Park options and a team of interpreters, artists and young leaders, Girls Taking Green Roots participants shined in a room with over 60 Parkdale residents in attendance. Different generations supported all the ideas presented by the group, directing the project towards a Children/Youth Magical Oasis in the middle of Parkdale surrounded by Orchards, Natural Habitats/Playgrounds, Skateboard area and outdoor classrooms for music, sports and gardening lovers!
To read Inside Toronto’s editorial piece on the project, click here.