Roncesvalles Renewed included reps from the BIA and three local Residents Associations, other local residents with particular interests or expertise in urban planning and renewal, business owners, local institutions and political representatives. We saw this reconstruction as an opportunity to try a new model for how communities collaborate with the City on major infrastructure projects of this kind.
Beginning in June 2009, Roncesvalles Avenue underwent a major reconstruction. The sewers were rebuilt, followed by the water mains, streetcar tracks and sidewalks. It meant digging, dust and detours for about two years. It also presented a number of opportunities, not least of which was to create a thriving canopy of trees along Roncesvalles.
The group’s key priority had been to ensure that the reconstruction included the conditions necessary for trees to flourish. Until recently before the reconstruction, the requirements for constructing roadways and sidewalks were at odds with successful tree growth. Fortunately new construction methods and materials made it possible to do both.
Along with a healthy tree canopy, we also worked to create better sidewalks, beautiful public spaces, and a ‘buy local’ campaign to help our businesses survive this major reconstruction of Roncesvalles.
After the street was officially reopened to streetcars on July 23 2011, a few volunteers from Roncesvalles Renewed turned their attention from planning and community outreach, to preserving and enhancing the collective investment in our shared public space.
Nine months later the volunteer group that had coalesced was rebranded RoncyWorks by top notch designer Tony Enns who was from the neighbourhood. It was evident that the spirit of community engagement, which had driven the efforts of Roncesvalles Renewed, would be manifest in a series of a new volunteer initiatives along Roncesvalles Avenue.
As we work towards completing the evolution of RoncyWorks into its own bonafide entity, we gratefully acknowledge the vision and intent of those who gave their time and energy to Roncesvalles Renewed and its related community initiatives.
RONCESVALLES RENEWED DESIGN & OUTREACH MEMBERS