Great communities are built around parks and green spaces; they provide natural spots for people to gather together.
Festivals and large events bring a lot of excitement to a park, but it's the smaller, local events that build community - skating parties, hot chocolate nights, spring planting days, birthday parties, pot-lucks, community picnics.
Yet, it's surprisingly difficult to organize small events in Toronto's outdoor spaces and gain the city's approval - something that became very clear to us and other park groups this season when trying to organize our Pumpkin Parades.
In talking with other "Friends Of" groups and Park People, we learned that the policies around similar gatherings are unclear enough that even the most seasoned City Councillors have difficulty navigating them. Were permits needed? Insurance? Did City Staff need to be present? Would Solid Waste handle clean-up, or would private arrangements need to be made? Was permission even needed from the City, or could groups just go ahead on their own?
Like many other wards, we in Ward 17 are fortunate to have a City Councillor who is very supportive of community-building events. But we have to wonder - what can be done to reduce the number of hurdles that stand in the way of bringing people together in our parks?
Park People and Parks Forestry & Recreation Staff are hosting a meeting on this topic later thus week. We encourage all parks groups and interested citizens to attend!
Where: Frankland Community Centre, 816 Logan Avenue