Dundas West | Roncesvalles Peace Garden

Roncy’s Northern Gateway

Peace Garden (noun)
A public botanical garden created to commemorate the end of conflict, OR a public space dedicated to pay homage towards the commitment of peace, or rather, freedom from the disturbance, thereby promoting quiet and tranquility. A welcoming retreat.drpg-view-01-8

The DRPG was conceived to honour the 1812 Battle of York, when Canadians of both Immigrant and Aboriginal status, fought side by side to fend off American invaders.

Because the intersection of Dundas West was once part of an indigenous trail that is, today celebrated as part of a Bicentennial Peace Garden Trail Network (combining Canadian History with promotion of Toronto’s First Nation’s heritage) – Founding Project Managers had set out to create a venture that could include many community groups as well as, benefit the area, aesthetically by serving as a Welcoming Northern Gateway to the Roncesvalles Village.

With the support of City Councillor Gord Perks, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations, the RVBIA, Horticultural Societies of Parkdale & Toronto, RMRA, Sunnyside Historical Society, Toronto Public Space Initiative, Romero House, Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Secondary School, and RoncyWorks, the ambitious undertaking is now a beautiful representation of many groups working together, peacefully – I might add.

Designed by Mary Tremain of PLANT Architect inc, the Peace Garden will now provide a space for enjoyment, contemplation, and community gathering, it also celebrates 200 years of friendship and peace for the City of Toronto and in particular, to the residents of the Roncesvalles area.

Seating areas consist of curved wooden benches that are thoughtfully integrated within the tapered concrete planter walls that surround and protect the garden beds.

static1.squarespace

construction of the curved benches

Plants and trees reflect a range of contemporary and heritage varieties local to the High Park area. Decorative, engraved granite paving tiles set among passive solar blocks, comprise the walkways, known as the Peace Path. Lighting has been incorporated to improve visibility and highlight the circular interior space.

An interpretive sign provided by DRPG community partners; the Roncesvalles Village BIA, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, will be installed at the southwest corner. This sign will be unveiled on Saturday June 11th at the garden’s opening ceremonies.

GRAND OPENING: SATURDAY JUNE 11th, 2016 – JOIN US!
During Roncy Rocks
11 am Opening Ceremony: Intersection: Dundas Street West at Roncesvalles Avenue

12:00 – 5:00 at the Indigenous Music Stage: Ritchie Avenue at Roncesvalles Ave

WHAT TO EXPECT: At the Opening Ceremony:

  • The Ceremony will be co-officiated with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and the Friends of Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden, to formally open the Peace Garden.
  • An Indigenous Elder gives a blessing.
  • Mary Tremain, of PLANT Architect, will be thanked for her beautiful landscape design. The City of Toronto will be thanked for capital funding and management of construction.
  • A heritage plaque revealing the indigenous origin of this portion of Dundas Street, and its rise to prominence during the War of 1812 will be unveiled by its co-sponsors, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and the Roncesvalles Village BIA.
  • The first community arts project between a First Nation and a Toronto community group will be unveiled — the “Peace Path” of engraved pavers winding through the Garden will be unveiled.
  • The city’s first indigenous artwork painted onto a street infrastructure box will be presented to the public by the artist.  An image from an 1812 Fort York artefact, for Luminato’s “Trove” exhibit, installed on an outside wall at the site will be revealed.
  • The Garden will be designated for the Moccasin Identifier project to mark its historical significance. At the Indigenous Music Stage:
  • 12 noon: Georgina Toulouse of Sagamok First Nation sings a welcoming song in Ojibway language. Chief Stacy LaForme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, who is himself a poet, welcomes everyone and opens the first stage of indigenous music to be performed on local streets, roads or trails in over 200 years
  • 12:30 PM Métis Fiddler Quartet: siblings Alyssa, Conlin, Nicholas and Danton on viola, guitar, violin and song merge classical strings and spirited Métis music.
  • 1:45 PM Marc Meriläinen (Nadjiwan): The untamed beauty of Marc’s northern Manitoba home infuses smoking hot rock, with the heartbeat of a community
  • 2:30 PM Métis music workshop
  • 3:00 PM Manitou Mkwa: Inspirational singers and hand drumming family group from the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. Raised in the tradition of performing at Pow Wows, the group is devoted to raising awareness and support for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and their families.
  • 4:00 PM Cheri Maracle: hypnotic vocals with contemporary four-piece jazz ensemble pulses with Cheri’s Mohawk heritage style.
  • 5:00 PM Donna’s Boy: Glenn Gould expresses his Mi’kmaq roots with a deep, full voice and six piece Blues/Rock band of horns, harmonica, guitar, fiddle. They’ll pump up the tempo. Spark
Advertisements

WWF’s 10 Year Earth Hour Milestone on Roncy

Earth Hour flyer shows time and location of start and finish on Roncesvalles.

Save the Date

Ten years ago, WWF initiated Earth Hour. It’s a symbolic time held worldwide to  encourage the global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world. For one hour on one evening  in the month of March, we are all to turn off our lights and reduce our power draw, opting for candlelight instead.

In December of 2015, Paris hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP 21 in which, 196 representing countries or territorial parties agreed on a global commitment to reducing the effects of climate change. This agreement is intended to become law.

This past January, City Councillors Gord Perks & Sarah Doucette (representing Parkdale – High Park) held a “think tank” to get residents to weigh in on how they thought, we could work towards combating climate change. It was a packed house. I was there.

Supporting Earth Hour is one of my passions. In 2013 WWF Canada identified me as an Earth Hour Team Captain and I’ve been running with that moniker ever since. My name is Karyn Klaire Koski and my family has lived in Roncesvalles Village for 22 years.

Since 2010, I with other RoncyWorks members – and with the support of the BIA, have encouraged groups of Earth Hour Supporters to walk along Roncesvalles Avenue, in solidarity to represent our community’s voice. There are no protests. It’s just an ever increasing number of friends, families and neighbours, who walk together from the top to the bottom of “Roncy” holding lanterns or candles in jars, in the spirit of the occasion. Along the kilometre and a half stretch we pass candlelit restaurants, bistros and bars who signal their participation by turning off or dimming their lights.

Every year we try to do something a little different in the way of acoustic music, singing, art installations or give aways; and we invite the group to simply enjoy the experience. Many folks continue the celebration afterwards in one of the many participating “powered-down” businesses.

1511788_10203532852021053_1506618848_o1957931_10203532878861724_1028695753_o1978367_10203532872821573_1264809552_o

1780995_10203532887741946_114619193_o (1)1956911_10203532892342061_1509900743_o

As more and more people recognize ways to combat climate change, the easier it will be to educate, guide and combine our efforts effectively, when Nationwide guidelines will be put in place. Please join us.

DSC_2755sm_large

Saturday March 19th (8:15 pm – 9:30 pm)
* Gather at 8:15 pm at the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
(near Starbucks at 2201 Dundas West at Roncesvalles), where hot beverages will be offered.

* Walk starts promptly at 8:30 p.m.

* Participants walk along the commercial side of Roncesvalles, 1.8 km.

* Walk concludes at the Roncesvalles Footbridge, near Beaty Boulevard Parkette
(King/Queen/Queensway intersection)

* All disperse by the end of the Globally recognized Hour. Walk takes about 30 min.

Cancelled in the event of heavy rain
Roncy Earth Hour Walk website

Facebook Event

Roncy Walks


Roncy Walks for Earth Hour

The Symbolic Gesture

A symbolic gesture

Every Earth Hour, the kilometre and half of Roncesvalles Avenue is travelled upon, by environment conscious supporters. This year the symbolic gesture campaigning crowd, gathered at  the (future site of) the Dundas  Roncesvalles Peace Garden where Earth Hour 2015 Walk Marshals; Andrea DOnofrio and Sarah Malleau had arranged for acoustic performer, Markur to entertain attendees. IMG_6515

Keith Denning from the RVBIA handed out mason jar lanterns, for those who didn’t arrive with any. I stayed busy working with media and welcoming friends.

If I were to continue on accolades, the whole of RoncyWorks and all that it does, wouldn’t exist without key facilitator Veronica Feihl, who thoughtfully organized the first cleanup of the plant beds and tree beds, the morning of the annual Earth Hour Walk.

IMG_6548

Symbolic Walk starts Live on CP24

Coinciding with a live TV hit, the revellers with lit candles and lanterns, began the Walk along Roncesvalles’s commercial side, pausing briefly to salute patrons in the many dimly lit cafes, bistros and bars. Many businesses participate in the power-down hour.

IMG_6595

Walkers acknowledge “power-down” patrons of restaurants & bars along the way

KK#PN

Karyn & NDP MP Peggy Nash

The more people that attend the Roncesvalles Annual Earth Hour candlelight walk, the more evident it is to educators, commercial planners and governing parties that our neighbourhood cares and wants strategies that will safeguard the world from issues like climate change.

I’ve been Roncy’s Earth Hour Co-ordinator since 2010, so how pleased was I to chat with NDP MP Peggy Nash as we strolled the length of the celebratory walk. Locally running Liberal Candidate Arif Virani also attended, but I didn’t get a chance to say hello.

IMG_6522

RoncyWorks Members; Veronica, Sarah, Andrea, Karyn

As soon as we arrived at Grafton Park, we posed for our annual group picture as the Walk Marshals queried the crowd on Earth Hour Trivia. Correct answers were rewarded with amazing giveaways that the RoncyWorks Earth Hour Marshals had canvassed for.

Wonderful packages were supplied by these local businesses:

  • SOHO Art & Custom Framing
  • The Herbal Clinic & Dispensary
  • Revue Cinema
  • Michael Johnston Music Studio
  • Chocolateria
  • The Cookery
  • Fresh Collective

Thanks to all the media outlets that covered the event.

EXCERPT from Inside Toronto Parkdale Villager interview by: Hilary Caton

For Koski, having people show up this Saturday, March 28 is a testament to successful non-violent community communication.

“There is no fist pumping or screaming demands to recognize and do something about climate change,” she said.

There are just a whole bunch of people, that get together every year to walk down a kilometre and half of Toronto real estate, holding lit candles symbolically representing that we aren’t using conventional man-made power for just one little hour. And we’re doing so because maybe one day, there just won’t be any.”

Roncy Rocks; Multi Media ~ Art/Music Festival

Roncy Rocks was originally conceived, out of a need to stimulate Roncesvalles foot traffic. This was when the street underwent its much needed, urban face lift. Today, it has happily tumbled into being a highly recognized, FREE,  day- long event that showcases  a multitude of local Artists through their musical talents, voices, abstract arts, visual arts and media arts like; film, television and photography.

“I knew if  we created a venue with art on the street, then people would come” contends initiator and Chair  Liz Szynkowski. “Art is truly the ‘Soul of Humanity’ and our community boasts a large concentration of artistic talent, in all genres!”

Roncesvalles is one of Toronto’s neighbourhoods that naturally attracts art -awakened professionals because it is culturally diverse and arts supportive. This dynamic annual event is not only an excellent platform to celebrate the multitude of spectacular, local talents, but is also a very enjoyable tourism stimulator and community spirit builder.

Continue reading

Roncy’s Century Old Tree nominated for Heritage Designation

Resilience

For almost a century, Roncesvalles’s  Silver Maple, located midway up the corridor  slightly NE of High Park Blvd, has stood as a living testament. It has overseen evolving urban growth and settlement. It stood idly by and flourished throughout the decades of change. Historic changes that have modified our sleepy village east of the great High Park.

This tree surveyed modest community beginnings, when waves of Polish immigrants sought refuge in 1914, 1920-1939 and again in 1941. It heard tales of World Wars and the Great Depression.  It was young then and had a nearby companion, sadly lost in this last, past decade. But no one mourned as we do with many of our resident elders,  elders whom we respect and honor, for the lives they have lived.

And lived it had, despite concrete sidewalks and heavy pedestrian traffic, it has faithfully  served as the lungs of our neighbourhood,  neutralizing the carbon emissions escaping the parade of motorized vehicles that have drove past it everyday, throughout the decades.

It is quite unique, for it is believed to be one of Toronto’s oldest trees in a commercial district, how did it manage to survive?  If each beautiful gnarled wart could tell a story, I’m sure there will be narratives of seasons passing, families strolling and businesses coming and going and many an anecdote of lives… well, lived.

It is time to respect our elder, our stately Sliver Maple who “we” and City Officials safequarded during the reconstruction of our street.  This tree has been recently nominated, via video submission, to the Heritage Trees Ontario Program and I am proud to have spearheaded that endeavour.

 

 

As a volunteered environmental advocate, I personally hope to celebrate with you, when our moniker of Resilience can be commemorated for being the Grand Dame, that she is!

Read Inside Toronto article about designation