Building a Homegrown National Park

Two weekends ago, I found myself at the David Suzuki Foundation’s Toronto office meeting, brainstorming and planning big things with a diverse group of Torontonians who want to build a better city through creative green interventions. The Homegrown National Park project aims to build a crowd-sourced green corridor along the former path of Garrison Creek in the City of Toronto.

“In the project’s first year, our 21 volunteer Homegrown Park Rangers and 14 partner organizations helped to spur more than a dozen creative green interventions, from pothole planters and canoe gardens to butterfly friendly schoolyards and “parkify-ing” a residential street. In 2014 we are aiming to deepen the project and expand it to adjacent neighbourhoods in the Greater Garrison Creek area.”

Queue this year’s addition of 24 new Park Rangers to the roster and 4 more wards to cover! By the end of the weekend I felt like my brain was about to shut down from idea overload. Pollinator corridors, vertical & rooftop gardens, music in the park, art & cultural events, engaging businesses, greening transit paths and organizing activities anyone in the community can join. That doesn’t even include the overarching events planned for the season – pizza nights in the park, a camp-out and documentary screenings at Fort York, the Park Crawl… it’s going to be a fun year!

I joined this initiative as part of my New Year’s resolution to get more involved with my community. I live in CityPlace – one of Toronto’s newest and most densely-populated neighbourhoods. Many people identify it as “the cluster of condos along the Gardiner.” Despite being condoburbia, we are lucky to have decent green space – Canoe Landing park is a bit of an oasis amid the towers of glass overhead. I think the overall sense of community, however, can definitely be improved. It’s going to be a challenge to determine what exactly we can do because the entire park & surrounding property is privately owned, but a little creativity goes a long way. I’m looking forward to engaging with like-minded neighbours, engaging with the Residents’ Association and contributing towards making this area a great place to live as it continues to grow.

Stay updated on upcoming events by following the Homegrown National Park Rangers Facebook page!

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