Coinciding with nationally recognized Earth Day, on April 22, 2017, several members of RoncyWorks arrived to clean planter beds, sweep up litter and remove aging signage along the length of Roncesvalles Avenue. This effort was part of the annual RoncyWorks spring cleanup and the City’s Clean Toronto Together campaign.
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.
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.
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
* 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
Although the boulder-in-river-stone design element featured in several Roncesvalles Avenue street gardens may look like Xeriscape or Zen design, they are actually strategic coping solutions for dog urine. Roncy has Pee Rocks.
As dogs walk (hopefully on leash) with their owners, they constantly source out other dogs’ territorial markings and plan on masking those scents with their own. It’s what they do.
With an accumulation of doggy leaks, clever RoncyWorks volunteered gardeners, came up with an attractive solution that would help safeguard the shrubs and perennials. Now dogs gravitate to the Pee Rocks.
I like it so much, I’m going to apply the design on flanking sides of my own front walkway.
Now, if only we could stop dogs and people from trampling the plants, that would be awesome. The most harm happens when dogs are tethered to the trees in some of the gardens. A stop to that could save a lot plants, volunteer effort and money spent replacing plants.
It took a village to raise that baby!
With a team of many BIA members, TTC delegates, advocating residents, and City of Toronto officials, the long, arduous task of co – creating the Roncesvalles streetscape was a group effort. The process was based on consultation, collaboration and transparency.
Several members of RoncyWorks were involved in the process and are pleased to report that Roncy’s development history is intact, safe and on the cutting edge of experimental projects. For example the Greening of Roncy by local volunteers and the success of the Cigarette Litter Prevention Campaign is inspiring other neighbourhoods.
Creating an accessible street that people would enjoy for generations was the group mandate. And, if the TTC has to make some adjustments to get that perfect, well that’s OK with me.
The group had to scale their vision to budget and other limitations, while pursuing the common interests of all businesses, residents, motorists, cyclists, transit users and pedestrians of all ages — some with strollers, walkers or wheelchairs.
Roncy Works… because we all work together.
TTC work anticipated for 2016
To accommodate the accessible ramps for the new streetcars that will be traveling along the 504 route, some minor adjustments will need to be made to TTC designed bump outs along Roncesvalles.
Correction: Back when the TTC bump outs were being installed there were still some unknowns. In fact, the ramp design for the bump outs was not finalized until 2013. [
The original plans of 2011 were modified and finalized in 2013, before TTC had settled on the purchasing of the expected, new streetcars.]
According to TTC Executive Director of Corporate Communications, Brad Ross, “not the entire bump out will be adjusted, just a 4 square metre area of each bump out. The work is slated for 2016 and will be done during non-peak times.”
There will be the odd lane restriction, but the road will not be closed, the track will not be ripped out along Roncy, motorists, pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use the road, bike lanes and sidewalks.
When asked, Councillor Gord Perks commented that it is his understanding “the TTC will concentrate their efforts on Spadina, Bathurst and Dundas accessibility issues first. “Roncevalles will only experience minimal disruption during non peak hours and work will be done quickly in days, not months.”
In terms of timing, the TTC is aiming to co-ordinate this work with the City of Toronto and coincide construction with the already scheduled intersection rebuild at Queen-King-Roncesvalles-Queensway. Streetcars will be out of service as a result of the intersection work, but will be replaced by scheduled buses.
“Rest assured, the TTC is sensitive to further disruption to the community and will do all it can to mitigate disruption,” says Ross. “There will be lots of signage and advance notice to the community and businesses”.