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posted on February 25, 2010

Porter: City crackdown hits park pizza nights

By: Catherine Porter
Published: February 25, 2010
Source: The Star

Down the path north into Christie Pits Park, you stumble upon a little gnome's house.

It has wooden sides, a shingled, peaked roof, a little chimney and a window shuttered in black metal and locked tight with a padlock. It's a community bake oven.

It was built 10 years ago by park staff and volunteers. The staff did the building; the volunteers brought the architectural drawings, construction supplies and refreshments. It was an ideal collaboration community fundraising and spirit, city land and sweat. A win for everyone. That spirit is captured by the words on the commemorative plaque that celebrates the parks worker who built the oven. It reads: "This bake oven is dedicated in loving memory of Luis Antonio Andrade."


This Star article had 91 comments posted before they shut down the postings.

General mailout from Councillor Janet Davis, Thursday, March 04, 2010 12:12 PM

Thank you for your e-mail about Christie Pits Park and the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings that may have arisen about the situation.

First, I want to assure you that the City welcomes all residents to enjoy our parks, green spaces and recreation facilities. We encourage communities to become involved in local park activities. We value the role that many volunteer groups play in making our parks vibrant and animated spaces for the community to enjoy together. Unfortunately, the column in the Toronto Star written by Catherine Porter was factually incorrect. Just to be clear, there has been no change with respect to the operation of the bake oven and programmed 'pizza nights' at Christie Pits. As has been our past practice, this undertaking continues to be a partnership between Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff and the 'Friends of Christie Pits'. Never, at any time, has the Friends of Christie Pits been asked by recreation staff to obtain a permit or pay a permit fee for the community pizza nights that have been hosted at the park. We consider these events as part of our recreation programming offered in partnership with the community. We look forward to a continuation of this program and can assure you there are no plans to change this arrangement.

Again, I thank you for your correspondence and trust this clarifies the facts pertaining to this matter.

From Catherine Porter, The Star, March 10 2010:

Hi all:

Thanks for your messages on this. I am painfully aware of Janet Davis' replica responses.

It seems Janet has not spoken to either the Friends of Christie Pits or the parks staff there. Her source is Malcolm Bromley. I am very sure that the Friends were given this message from the people running the program. Now, whether the people running the program were mistaken, I don't know.

Mr. Bromley did just tell me that during the strike, it came to parks attention that many of the permits were done in a unregulated way -- undocumented, with "ghost permits."

So the department has been working that out, he said -- hence many of the recent requests for permits where they were not requested before. Was it a miscommunication or a backtrack? I don't know.

What I do know is the Friends of Christie Pits have since been told they will not need to get a permit or pay for park staff.

That's the good news.

All the best,


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