Green Plan

The Grange Green Plan was approved by Toronto and East York Community Council in July 2018 and is fully consistent with the Parks and Public Realm Strategy in TOcore.

Now that the City Wards have been redistributed, the GCA will engage with Councillor Layton in Ward 11 for implementation of those elements north of Dundas St in the GCA catchment.

The purpose of the Grange GreenPlan is to improve public green space, enhance private greening efforts, and contribute to the City’s environmental and climate change agenda, thus improving both human and ecosystem health within the Grange community. 

The key Grange Green Plan priorities are to:

  • Increase and sustain green space
  • Establish green space connectivity
  • Increase tree canopy size and health
  • Improve stormwater drainage
  • Improve habitat for pollinators
  • Reduce water, air and noise pollution
  • Reduce heat island effects.

To implement the Plan, we are focusing on partnerships with the City, donors and neighbourhood volunteers.  Engagement with City departments takes the form of project charters.  Funding will not only be sought from the City (including access to the Parks Minor Capital budget for Councillors), but also from non-profits engaged in greening programs such as the Park People, the Laneway Project, etc.  Professional and technical assistance comes from summer interns, graduate students and student class workgroups, augmenting the volunteer efforts of GCA members.

The GCA, City and Councillor are partnering to identify a range of possible opportunities for greening projects throughout the Grange.  These include:

  • Rehabilitating existing parkettes, including Glasgow Parkette, St Patrick Market Square, McCaul – Orde parkette and Canada Life Park.  Priorities for renovation include park layout, street access, turf, lighting and seating improvements, and vines or green walls
  • Creating new parkettes, including the Glasgow St Parkette, to be completed this year, and the Phoebe Street “stub”, a possible “street-to-park” initiative.  The latter would see the street  and both flanks between Huron and Spadina turned into parkland and integrated with the existing Ogden schoolyard
  • Establishing linear parks, in particular Relic Park, which will meander northward from Queen St. to Dundas St. (see below)
  • Enhancing the tree canopy, through the design and execution of a “Grange Urban Forest Management Plan.  A preliminary draft has been produced through a  partnership within the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto.  As currently envisaged, it has 6 core goals: complete a tree inventory; plant trees; establish a forest maintenance programme; develop a community involvement framework; explore and acquire diverse funding; and protect against development pressures
  • Greening boulevard flankings, corners, and pinchpoints, through a long-term strategy for boulevard landscaping, including bylaw enforcement, public information campaigns, roadwork coordination with the City, incentives, and demonstration projects.  Over 10 sites have been identified
  • Laneway Greening, starting initially with a series of linked laneways, including Renfrew Place, running parallel to Queen St. W on its north side. Plans could include: climbing vines, green walls, peripheral planting, creative hoarding, permeable paving, speed bumps,  removal of parking (where possible), graffiti control, and garbage containment
  • Lobby for POPS parkettes (privately owned public space), particularly for new developments on Dundas, McCaul and St Patrick streets
  • Climate change mitigation, focused on action at the homeowner level to reduce our Grange carbon footprint, including home energy reduction, and better bike lanes and transit.  The focus will be on information dissemination.

Download and read the full Grange Green Plan in PDF.

Current Green Projects

Relic Park

A major element of the Grange Green Plan is the proposed creation of Relic Park, an ambitious, two-phase project to knit together a currently disjointed part of the public realm along four streets in the Grange neighbourhood. Phase I of the linear park, will zigzag from Campbell House on Queen St., north on Simcoe St., … Continue reading “Relic Park”

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Grange Park

The forerunner and inspiration for the Grange Green Plan was Grange Park and the 8-year long effort to see it reimagined and revitalized.  Like many inner city parks, the health, utility and beauty of Grange Park had declined over the years.  In 2004, the local community began discussions to return the park to its natural … Continue reading “Grange Park”

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Glasgow Street Parkette

This parkette is set within the northwest quadrant of the Grange, where green space is at a premium. Work is already underway by the PFR to redesign and improve accessibility of this parkette. Highlights include landscape re-design to improve the use of space, and paving design for improved connectivity to adjacent streets. These improvements, spearheaded … Continue reading “Glasgow Street Parkette”

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Glasgow Street Parkette

This parkette is set within the northwest quadrant of the Grange, where green space is at a premium. Work is already underway by the PFR to redesign and improve accessibility of this parkette. Highlights include landscape re-design to improve the use of space, and paving design for improved connectivity to adjacent streets. These improvements, spearheaded by the Councillor’s office, will be completed in late 2018, and will serve as a model for parkette rehabilitation and improvement elsewhere in the Grange.

Grange Park

The forerunner and inspiration for the Grange
Green Plan was Grange Park and the 8-year long effort to see it reimagined and
revitalized.  Like many inner city parks,
the health, utility and beauty of Grange Park had declined over the years.  In 2004, the local community began
discussions to return the park to its natural beauty.  In 2008, an unprecedented partnership was
struck among the local community, the City of Toronto and the AGO to
undertake a major revitalization of Grange Park. The devotion of the GCA and
other neighbours to the park provided the catalyst for this major initiative.

In response, the Grange Park Advisory Committee
(GPAC) was formed, with representatives from the neighbourhood, City Parks, AGO
and neighbouring organizations, to advise on a restoration and revitalization
plan for the park. In consultation with the local community, GPAC created a design
brief
(link to blog) that
outlined a vision for Grange Park.  It
also represented the local community  in
providing input to the design, development and reconstruction of the park.  Members of the GCA played prominent roles in
GPAC, and argued strongly for inclusion of a DOLA in the park.

In July
2017, the revitalized Grange Park re-opened to the public.  Reaction has been uniformly positive.  The new Park features include:

  • 180 trees, 80 newly planted in 2016, to ensure a continued mature canopy. Species include American elm, horse chestnut, beech and oak
  • children’s play area with
    customized equipment in shapes that evoke artistic creativity, such as paint
    palettes, paint cans and crumpled pieces of paper. It is divided into two
    zones: one for younger children, 2-5 years old; and one for older children
  • fenced dog off-leash area (DOLA) located in the south-west corner
  1. an interactive water feature
    adjacent to the children’s play area, plus a decorative fountain that flows in
    front of The Grange historic house
  • The world-famous sculpture, “Large Two Forms”, by Henry Moore, at the west side of the park
  • New benches and picnic
    tables and washrooms
  • Inscribed granite paving stones (link here) interspersed in the south path leading north from John Street, and all-new granite paving in realigned pathways throughout
  • Extensive irrigation system
    to ensure the trees and plantings receive adequate water during dry spells
  • New LED lighting throughout
    the park

The
Grange Park revitalization project was a true public-private partnership, with
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and the City of Toronto as major contributors
and additional significant support from a small group of donors.  This funding also permitted the creation of
the Grange
Park Endowment Fund, managed by the AGO, that provides enhanced
support for the annual maintenance of the park in perpetuity.

The GCA and its members are strongly involved in the management and protection of Grange Park.  While the ongoing management of Grange Park rests jointly with the City of Toronto through Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) and the AGO, GCA members sit on the Grange Park Community Council (GPCC), the successor to the GPAC.  The GPCC provides a forum through which area residents and other neighbourhood organizations can give input and advice to PFR and the AGO regarding the operational management of the park and its long term sustainability. It also will provide oversight for all activities and volunteer programs carried out in Grange Park, according to its Terms of Reference.

GCA members have also led in the creation of a dog owners
association, Grange Park D.O.G.    They
focus on DOLA maintenance – challenge given the very heavy usage – and social
engagement.  For further information,
please contact:

            Email: grangeparkdogs@gmail.com

            Twitter: @grangeparkdogs

            Instagram: grangeparkdogs

            Facebook: Grange Park D.O.G.

Relic Park

A major element of the Grange Green Plan is the proposed
creation of Relic Park, an ambitious, two-phase
project to knit together a currently disjointed part of the public realm along
four streets in the Grange neighbourhood. Phase I of the linear park, will
zigzag from Campbell House on Queen St., north on Simcoe St., then across Michael
Sweet Ave. Phase I will extend the existing 2018 installation of stone
fragments in the Campbell House grounds northward, and create a substantial new
pedestrian zone in the downtown core. 
Phase II will continue up St. Patrick St. and west along Dundas Ave. to
the Art Gallery of Ontario.  Phase II
will be implemented as condominium developments are constructed on St. Patrick
and Dundas Streets.

Relic Park is an  innovative approach to public-realm
enhancement.  It envisions architectural
relics from Toronto’s past set within a unifying corridor of green.  Conceived as a linear park with parkettes and
focal points, the project will see carved stone fragments, long ago rescued
from demolished buildings, skillfully combined within a restored natural environment. Creating green boulevards not only beautifies the streetscape, but
provides wildlife connectivity between park spaces, increases and enhances the
tree canopy and local ecology, supports pollinator populations, reduces street
level temperatures, and increases
permeable surfaces for rain water absorption.

The
City of Toronto has agreed to provide these (de-accessioned) architectural
stone fragments – column sections, keystones, window decorations, bas-reliefs
and other sculptural elements to re-purpose as installations and benches – all
currently stored at the Guild Park and Gardens in Scarborough.

The
project is a partnership between the GCA and Campbell House Museum, two
entities experienced in community partnerships and committed to public realm
improvement.  The route of Relic Park
lies in two City Wards, so continuing support from Councillor Cressy (Ward 10)
and Councillor Layton (Ward 11) will be sought. 
Councillor Cressy secured approval of The Grange Green Plan by Toronto
and East York Community Council in 2018, of which Relic Park is a key
component, and the City is committed to assist in planning and implementation.  Funds have been committed by Councillor
Cressy, Campbell House Museum and the Queen St. West BIA, and the GCA has
applied to Park People’s Public Space Incubator (PSI) initiative for further
funding.

Although
at an early stage of the project, the GCA has conducted extensive due diligence
and planning to move the initiative forward. 
A “Prospectus” is being developed that defines the vision, objectives
and goals for Relic Parkand sets out the project’srationale and
character, identifying stakeholders and mapping a phasing strategy, costs and
resources.

Initial
funding will be used to complete planning and to construct a pilot installation
in the animation zone on Simcoe St near Queen St, which will serve as an icon
at the southern terminus of Relic Park, so as to showcase the park’s purpose
and story.  The relic stones will be
installed by professional heritage contractors who specialize in stone masonry.

The initial implementation phase will:

  • Procure the services of a landscape architect and
    structural engineer to design the pilot installation
  • Procure professional planning services to coordinate
    with the City
  • Construct and implement the pilot
  • Plan and promote the unveiling of the pilot initiative
    in 2020