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News 2012

News 2012

From the August 2012 Newsletter:

The Ward 18 Parks Conservancy – conserving our joint resources – a way to save money

Ward 18 parks have been on the conservancy project for some years already. Four underused field houses and one rink change room have been turned into lively clubhouses: two at Dufferin Grove, plus the field house at MacGregor Park, plus the Campbell Park rink house, and the Wallace Rink change room. This was done for a fraction of the cost of building one new field house, for example at Queensway Park in Etobicoke, which was built in 2010 for $1.5 million and is still unused more than a year after completion.

Value for money: the Ward 18 Parks Conservancy would use “full cost accounting,” as requested by the City’s own accounting section. That means finding out the real costs associated with every activity – not only the guy on the zamboni, but also the costs of scheduling him, issuing his cheques, supervising his work, devising rink policies at City Hall, ensuring compliance, and so on. The last two costs in particular are rising very rapidly.

Full cost accounting is dependent on transparency by the City. According to the city website, the whole city government will be required to use this approach, but Parks, Forestry and Recreation management said they may not be ready until 2013. The Ward 18 Parks Conservancy would want to be first out of the gate, calculating and publishing those numbers much sooner. One aim is to see whether well-used all-season parks are actually more economical to run than indoor community centres.

In April, CELOS applied, through freedom of information, for the detailed Ward 18 budget information. In June, the city released the first 16 spreadsheets. Studying them this summer has been a wild ride. The information we’ve learned up until now is posted on the website. (The home page has a direct link called “where the money goes.”)

The city’s “SAP” accounting system shows that community centres in buildings are indeed more expensive to run than community centres in parks (without walls). Just the caretaking costs for the two Ward 18 community centres added up to $847,626' in 2011 – more than three times what it cost the city to run the full four seasons of recreation programs at Dufferin Grove. Unlike the Ward 18 park programs, almost every program in the two community centres carries a fee. Whatever doesn’t bring in revenue, with the exception of family drop-in programs, has been cut out – for example youth basketball, and programs for disabled people. The expenditures for the staff administering the fees and the compliance policies that accompany this approach, are very steep, and not recovered through the fees: non-program costs at the two centres are $660,000''', not counting the incomes of the supervisors who do some or all of their work a Ward 18 community centres.

Stay tuned.

LONG-TERM TROUBLE: the shrinking of the staff list.

Making a list of all current staff working in Ward 18 park programs was fun. What a collection! Part-time staff wear many hats. There are 14 university students, at both the undergraduate and the graduate level. There are three graphic artists, one plumbing apprentice, two dancers, two farmers (they work at the rinks in the winter), and there are translators, poets, theatre people, visual artists, landscapers, historians. Some people are gathering experience for their educational field; others are taking a break from their education. Eight are parents, and so have an inside view of what a lively park can give to kids, and to their families. Among the current part-time staff, there are twelve languages spoken – a good representation of Toronto’s multiculturalism!

Once a person starts working at the park, they often get so involved that even after their education is complete, they still want to keep their oar in. They may not have much time to work here anymore, but their experience and their familiarity with the community are valuable, and so they’re welcomed back even if only for a few shifts a month, or a few months of intensive park work between periods of travelling or working elsewhere. For example: park baker, cook and researcher Yo Utano just left to go back to her island in southern Japan. But she may come back in eight months with new recipes for Friday Night Supper, and new park stories from her circuitous route home. Until fairly recently, she could slip right back in, doing part-time work, with a fresh outlook and new skills to contribute.

But the last two years have driven people away. Even though the staff are no longer being warned every week about “conflict of interest” when they collaborate on projects with non-staff park users, there are plenty of other ways in which they are made to see that their work is not valued.

Last fall their jobs were all reclassified downwards, and most of them now earn barely more than teenage staff just starting out in their first job. There’s a ramifying hierarchy of administrative recreation staff, based at the two Ward 18 recreation centres. At Wallace-Emerson Recreation Centre, more than half a million dollars a year is now spent for indirect “support” activities like registration, collecting fees, entering data, and the enforcement of city policies. The gulf between direct program staff and even the data entry administrators (who earn at least three times as much as most direct program staff) is widening. And so the list of adventurous, imaginative park program staff keeps shrinking. If nothing turns this around, most will soon be gone. (Ed. Note: And so will I.)

Park Census

CELOS asked Dufferin Grove program staff to do an all-day census, writing down the number of park users, and what they were doing, every two hours all day long. On an ordinary Saturday (July 21) with no special events in Dufferin Grove, close to 2000 people of all ages and cultures spent time at the park at different points in the day. Some people were taking naps under a shady tree. Others were playing frisbee or soccer, or having a birthday party, or splashing in the wading pool, or walking their dogs, or digging in the sandpit (even grownups!), or playing an accordion, or cooking over a campfire, or balancing on a tightrope, or watering the trees, or doing yoga, or demonstrating skateboard moves, or playing three-on-three basketball, or studying their ipad in a secluded corner of the park… Or kissing on a park bench.

A good park is like a very well-used community centre, without walls.

The second-ever “Sleep-in” at Dufferin Grove Park, Friday August 17, 7 pm.

From the “loveduffgrove” organizers: “Everything you love about Dufferin Grove is now at risk. Last year, Grove-lovers demonstrated our willingness to fight for this park by holding a “sleep-in”…Apparently, they didn’t get the message the first time.”

Facebook: A sleep-in at dufferin grove. More information:

This newsletter is written by Jutta Mason and published by the Centre for Local Research into Public Space (CELOS), To read this story online:

Illustrations by Jane LowBeer

From the July 2012 Newsletter:

Hot weather relief (and fun!) in Ward 18 parks

Ward 18 has six parks with wading pools and one splash pad. Wading pools are great places to get cool and find friends, both for kids and for their caregivers. But not all the pools get the same amount of use.

For example: on Friday June 29, the official citywide opening day of wading pools, it was 32 degrees without a cloud in the sky. In mid-afternoon, there were 3 kids in the wading pool at Campbell Park, 2 at Carlton Park, 6 at the Perth Park splash pad, 6 at Dovercourt Park, 10 at MacGregor Park, 8 at McCormick Park, and 41 at Dufferin Grove'''. Dufferin Grove had over 50 kids in the water later that afternoon, and it’s pretty crowded most days.

Dufferin Grove has more shade than most wading pools, and on hot days that’s important. But the crowds can be too much at times, so maybe it’s time to spread out a bit! And in Ward 18, Dufferin Grove is not the only wading pool with other kinds of fun going on too.

Take MacGregor Park – its wading pool is just as big, and it has water toys, board games, washrooms (much closer and handier than those at Dufferin Grove), wholesome snacks and good coffee available. Plus there some fun at MacGregor Park that’s not available at any of the other neighbourhood wading pools – a well-supplied crafts table, a dress-up area, a story area with lots of kids’ books, a drop-in kids’ cooking club on Wednesdays, and a drop-in kids’ garden club on Saturdays and Sundays. Some of the same staff who make Dufferin Grove so friendly also put on the programs at MacGregor wading pool.

And on Mondays and Fridays on the long summer evenings, there’s often a campfire at MacGregor Park – with hot dogs and marshmallows on Mondays at 7 and a pay-by-donation campfire cookout on Fridays at 6.30. On hot days the wading pool stays open until 7, so the kids can keep on playing until they’re ready to go home and fall into bed.

Campbell Park wading pool is pretty conventional on weekdays, but on Saturdays there’s a tasty park supper at tables set out between the playground and the park clubhouse. Supper is cooked by park staff in the new park clubhouse kitchen, sometime with help from the cooking club kids.

The supper starts at 5.30, and during that time the sprinklers are on at the wading pool, there’s a sandpit with a hose for water play and lots of shovels for digging, and there are old-fashioned games like marbles and hula hoops available.

In Ward 18, nobody needs to stay cooped up inside, hot and grouchy: come on out to the park, soak your feet in a cool wading pool while you chat with your neighbours and watch your kids play – everyone welcome!

Conservancy News

What would a Ward 18 Parks Conservancy look like?

The details need to be worked out by park users and program staff together with city management and our City Councillor. The idea is NOT to secede and set up a shadow bureaucracy, but to have a pilot project within the municipal government, using existing tax funds together with existing donations being raised, to build on what we already have through an active, friendly collaboration between park users and park staff. Some of the Ward 18 parks are halfway there already. The guiding principles are local, transparent, and based on trust. Those can open the way to making good use of the talents of many people.

The Budget: To understand how a Ward 18 parks Conservancy can work, we need to understand the details of City spending for Ward 18 parks and recreation. So on April 10, CELOS (our little research group, the “Centre for Local Research into Public Space) submitted a Freedom of Information request asking for all the Ward 18 parks and recreation budget details. On June 23, 16 pages of detailed “SAP accounting system” information arrived. This document is a good start, although there are a lot of things missing from the SAP system – no wading pool numbers, no maintenance and repair details available (may be available in 2013 with a new system), no link between staff costs and the specific activity.

Those gaps can be filled in, though. Here's one example of a gap that’s not currently in the city’s line item accounting: every spring/summer/fall evening around 7 pm, two park maintenance staff drive a truck into Dufferin Grove Park, to check the field house washrooms and lock them for the night. Most days there are recreation program staff already working in the park at those times, and until a few years ago, they used to walk over and close the washrooms before they left. It’s simple to calculate how much it costs to have the two additional staff, with a truck, come in as well.

Now that the first 16-page batch of SAP Ward 18 budget numbers have arrived, they can be organized into clear categories and made public. That way we can being to test the hypothesis: can a local, smaller-scale approach like the Ward 18 parks Conservancy do better with the same allocation of our tax money?

From the June 2012 Newsletter:

Park events in June

MacGregor Park:

Art Club (Saturdays), Canada Day festival (July 1),

  • campfires with cooking and/or storytelling
  • community gardening (various times).

Staff liaison: Anna Galati ( or 416 392-0913.

Campbell Park:
  • weekly community supper (Saturdays, 6 pm)

Staff liaison: Marina DeLuca-Howard ( or 416 392-0913

Dufferin Grove Park:
  • second annual Pet Adoptathon (June 9 and 10), put on by Toronto Animal Services

Staff liaison: Ava Lightbody ( or 416 392-0913

  • June 9, 2 pm: Darren Hall leads a 30-minute OM voice meditation circle, everyone welcome
  • June 20-24 the Cooking Fire Theatre Festival returns. From the organizers:

“Cooking Fire Theatre Festival: For our eighth year in Dufferin Grove Park, we will have performances by companies from Toronto, Montreal and Strasbourg, France. Shows range from a satirical take on the 2008 global financial crisis, to a clown turn about the hazards of Toronto real estate, a look at the family road trip from hell, and a solo show about clocks and running out of time. And don't forget dinner served from the park's two bake ovens. Come out and enjoy the beginning of summer in the park. Dinner served 6:00pm, performances 7:00pm.

Also, on Saturday June 23, join us for our first ever Children's Parade, a fun and casual event for our littlest audience members and their caregivers. Bring your own costumes or wear one of ours and follow our host in a lively procession through the park before dinner. Dress up begins at 4pm, parade at 5pm. Drop-in (no registration).”

Perth Park

June 23, 2012: Councillor Ana Bailão’s Ward 18 Community BBQ, 12 noon to 2 pm.

Good news about events in Ward 18 parks

In recent years, locally-sponsored events in parks have faced a challenge. The Parks Permit department at City Hall has been directed to charge a fee to park users wishing to enliven their parks with even very small, local events like free music concerts, seasonal-celebration picnics, and park gardening events. Insurance fees were also required, sometimes adding more than a hundred dollars to the cost. A 2011 community campfire at Dovercourt Park cost park neighbours $120 with the insurance. There hasn’t been another one since. Community bake oven fees or the threat of fees have shuttered the Christie Pits oven for most of the year. In many parks across the city, volunteer-run events have begun to die out.

This development has been a big concern, and is one of the things that has led CELOS to work on an alternative approach: a Ward 18 Parks Conservancy. (CELOS stands for: Centre for Local Research into Public Space). In Chapter 32 of the long-running Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring Story about the Unmaking and Remaking of Dufferin Grove Park and other city parks, there is a list of principles that apply to parks. This is the first principle:

1. Principle: parks support cities when they’re lively social spaces.\\ Application: most park events in Ward 18 ought to be free of charge, with no fee to the organizers or to park users. Exception: events that require significant extra non-program work by city staff, or that involve marketing or product promotion. Existing by-law example: permits for filming in public spaces are free to film companies, in recognition of the film industry’s stimulation of the local economy. The same principle applies to community events in parks: they stimulate local neighbourhoods.

The good news is that this past spring, it appears that PFR management is moving in that direction in some of the Ward 18 parks. For the Conservancy-sponsored Jane’s Walk on May 6 (“Why cheap parks are more fun”), recreation program staff were allowed to work with park users and artist partners at both MacGregor Park and Campbell Park. At Dufferin Grove, all events put on by local park users have been included in the regular program schedule, as partnership (no fee) activities supported by program staff. This is not a secure arrangement, but it may be a hopeful sign of a gradual turn in direction. So musicians, line dancers, frisbee players, tight-rope walkers, take heart. If you want to make some park fun with your neighbors, the park staff can help you set it up this season, and you won’t have to pay for giving your gifts!

Ward 18 Parks Conservancy: Update

From Jutta Mason: Last summer, on July 7, I began to write about the unmaking of Dufferin Grove Park. I wanted to record the history of the park – both before and during its most recent iteration as a community gathering place. That way, if Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) management returned Dufferin Grove back to the norm of most city public spaces, there would be an account of the 18 years when it was an “anomaly.” Last December, in Chapter 20, I began to turn to the bigger picture – the effects of the seven-year Parks, Forestry and Recreation “function over form” restructuring on other parks all over the city. Then in the middle of February, in Chapter 27, I first proposed setting up a “Ward 18 Conservancy.” The chapters that followed were subtitled “workbooks.”

The workbook chapters included many references to the work of American political scientist Elinor Ostrom, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009, for her work on “governing the commons.” A lifetime of studying how ordinary people in all corners of the world collaborate in ingenious ways to shape their public spaces may make Professor Ostrom a better guide for people who cherish their parks than the fast-turnover management theories coming out of business schools. Many guides can be found locally – through talking to people engaged in conserving public resources in Toronto. David Crombie, who was mayor of Toronto during the “Stop Spadina Expressway” days, is one of the local advisors who helped, by pointing out promising directions for us. He made us aware of the “Aquatic Working Group,” chaired by Karen Pitre, which successfully scuttled the plan to close 40 community swimming pools housed in schools. Read on to find how their approach can be adapted to city parks in Ward 18.

This is the first of this summer’s Conservancy newsletters. A conservancy involves a more active form of democracy, the kind that doesn’t happen only every four years during election time. The Conservancy seeks to build on what’s already there in Ward 18, what’s “in the pantry.” How do we conserve and strengthen the Ward 18 parks as lively neighbourhood meeting places, in the face of a central PFR management that seems to be heading in a very different direction? That’s the experiment the newsletter will relate. This is like a small movie that’s being made right now, with only a sketchy script and an outcome that’s still unknown to the actors. It’s not clear who’s directing this movie. A long-time neighbourhood busybody like me? An elected city councillor, who has at least twenty other, more pressing concerns? The people who spread their blankets near the Dufferin Grove ovens for Friday Night supper? Or maybe...nobody has the full power to direct what happens in public space. Public spaces are shaped by whoever shows up there, and every single person has an influence on the result.

It’s time to join a “Working Group”!

One morning in the middle of April David Crombie came to the CELOS office for coffee. He asked us “do you know about the Aquatic Working Group?” Of course we’d heard of them. They helped to overturn a Parks and Recreation staff recommendation in 2008, which proposed to pull city funding from the swimming pools that are jointly run by the schools and the city (thereby forcing 39 pools to close). Only 7 run-down pools ended up closing, with the saved pools reviving, some of them dramatically, under joint staff-volunteer stewardship. The Aquatic Working Group (AWG) persuaded the school board to lower the permit charge for private pool use (e.g. birthday parties). The increased volume of bookings caused pool permit revenues to increase from under $500,000 to over $1 million. Crombie said, “if you want to know more of the story, you have to talk to Karen Pitre, the chair of the Toronto Sports Council.

So we asked her to come to the park for a bowl of Mary Sylwester’s chili, if she could find an hour in her schedule.

Pitre came. She said that the Toronto Sports Council helped put together and support the Aquatic Working Group. It took pool supporters 4 years to get the city to come to the table and save the pools. Now they’ve got a partnership with the city, which also includes two groups called “Let’s Make Waves” and the Aquatic Working Group.

One of the puzzling things before the Aquatic Working Group was formed, Pitre said, was that increasing revenues through increased enrolment in swimming was never part of the discussion. “Why not?” asked Pitre. It was clear that the city would rather close swimming pools than get more people to swim there. Former Mayor David Miller refused to even discuss alternatives with Crombie and Pitre – he said that the pools would close no matter what the objections. But he was mistaken.

The Aquatic Working Group has no complicated structure, says Pitre. Who comes to the meetings? “Everyone is welcome – if you support the swimming pools, you should be there.” The Toronto Sports Council followed up the swimming-pool campaign with another working group to turn back the sudden, unheralded increase in sports field permit fees for children and youth. The working group had the same formula – notify all the people involved with children’s and youth sports field permits, “EVERYONE WELCOME” and work out an alternative approach.

Some of the City’s rules concerning Ward 18 parks (Dufferin, MacGregor, Wallace, Campbell, Carlton parks) are just as unfortunate as the ones Karen Pitre’s group are negotiating. It’s time to steal a good idea (with permission!) from the Toronto Sports Council. Working groups

Park “working groups”

Several months of conversations with community advocates from across the city and beyond brought in enough ideas to take the next step. How would a parks conservancy work in the day-to-day? Park user “working groups” can help flesh it out. Some working groups already exist, and some are just getting started. Here are the ones we already have:

The skateboard working group: this group adopted the pleasure-pad of the Dufferin Grove skating rink, outside of the ice-rink season, a few years ago, and has grown bigger since then. They keep the equipment in good repair, build new structures, and get the word out through Facebook. They work closely with the park’s program staff. The park’s “cookie money” helps to pay some of their materials costs. Everyone welcome, from 6 to 60 (must have their own skateboard).
Staff liaison: Anna Galati.

The community gardens working group: this group includes both park users who have a green thumb (or who want to find out if their thumbs are green), and park program staff with a particular love for initiating more people into the joy of gardening. The Dufferin Grove members got a Parks and Trees Foundation grant last year to improve some of the native species gardens and to make signs for more of the gardens. Parks technical services staff contributed by adding a new fenced garden, bringing the total number of garden areas in Dufferin Grove Park to 14. Group gardening times are posted at the gardens’ bulletin board near the ovens, and also on the park website: Garden. Everyone welcome, regularly or just drop-in. The group gardening sessions usually include a picnic together, using the garden’s vegetables, of course.
Staff liaison: Anna Bekerman.

The MacGregor Park members have been gardening at that park for six years. Two years ago the Parks horticulture staff put in four entry-feature garden beds (two of them including edible fruits – strawberries, blueberries, and service berries). These beds are mainly maintained by horticulture staff, although the garden working group helps with watering and planting. There are also four concrete–planter vegetable gardens, and one new “lasagna garden” just getting going. The focus in these beds is on gardening with children.
Staff liaison: Michelle Webb.

The bike polo working group: Even more than last year, the hockey pad at Dufferin Rink has been adopted by bike polo players. They keep the nets in good repair, clean the rink surface of leaves, debris, and (when necessary) water, devise schedules, and publicize their activities through Facebook. Everyone welcome – will be slotted according to ability.
Staff liaison: Ann Galati.

The wading pool working group: This is a new group, now inviting members. If your family uses any of the wading pools in Ward 18 (Dufferin Grove, MacGregor, Campbell, Dovercourt, and Carlton parks), you should consider joining this group. Everyone welcome!

Background: In 2006, Parks, Forestry and Recreation took the wading pools away from local recreation supervisors and centralized them. The busy wading pool at Dufferin Grove was not immediately restructured – instead, the aquatics supervisor allowed that pool to be “sub-contracted” to the program staff so that it would remain integrated with the other park activities.

Dufferin Grove wading pool staff were finally completely dis-embedded from the other Dufferin Grove program staffing in the summer of 2011. This meant no more local staff, and great inconsistency, with many days being staffed by temporary teenage relief staff. These young wading pool attendants were resistant to even doing traditional activities like crafts at poolside. The story was the same at MacGregor Park. And if the experienced program staff wanted to ask one of the new wading pool attendants to help with other poolside activities, they could not approach them directly but had to contact their external supervisors for permission. The external supervisors were not always reachable.

This year, CELOS asked Aquatics management to allow the staff at Dufferin and MacGregor wading pools to be re-integrated. In a letter to 'Recreation director Janie Romoff, Ward 18 councillor Ana Bailao supported this request. There have been several meetings, but little progress so far.

Many wading pool users noticed last summer that the wading pool was staffed more like other city pools, by youth who often seemed bored and uncommunicative, and who didn’t know the park or the people. The wading pool working group can help stop the deterioration.

Wading pool working group: what members can do.

1. get on the wading pool e-list or read the playground bulletin boards. This allows members to keep abreast of the updates on the wading pool situation, so that they can tell other users and – if needed – contact Ward 18 City Councillor Ana Bailao for help -- and/or

2. monitor conditions at Ward 18 wading pools and report problems to onsite program liaison staff (for Dufferin, MacGregor, and Campbell wading pools). There will also be a Facebook group for such posts -- and/or

3. work alongside park program staff to enrich poolside programming, for instance by getting water toys at garage sales, or offering (or supporting) poolside activities like storytelling, clay sculpture, games, etc. -- and/or

4. Work together with program staff to give direct, steadying feedback to centrally-deployed wading pool attendants, introducing them to local users and encouraging them to get more involved.

Friday Night Supper

Friday Night Supper, 6 p.m. at Dufferin Grove Park, is back outside for the summer. The big sugar maple that shaded the picnic tables had to be cut down (the wood is helping to heat the ovens). But a new tree will soon be planted. These popular suppers long ago expanded beyond the shade of that big tree anyway. Bring a blanket and sit where you want. Reminder: the supper is based on a suggested donation. If you can’t afford it or forgot your wallet, eat anyway! You can donate less than the suggested amount, or you can donate more. Every bit helps, not only to cover the food costs but also to buy supplies for other park programs, and to add a few new programs by the playground. The food is cooked by the park staff, based on what’s available at the Thursday farmers’ market, and it’s a delicious adventure.

If the forecast is bad, check the website ( or the park phone (416 392-0913) for cancellation. You can also find the menu posted on the website, after 3 pm. And if you don’t like the big crowds or want a different night, try the new Saturday Night Supper at Campbell Park (6 pm).

Budget information: the cookie (donation) money and its use is itemized on the website (click on “financial information”). The Quickbooks program that’s used to keep track is easy to run reports on – write to if you want to learn more about where the money goes.

The use of the city budget in Ward 18 parks and recreation centres is the subject of a long-running Freedom of Information request that is due any day now. When CELOS gets the details, the information will be posted on two park bulletin boards. It should be interesting and helpful.

Summertime “Prezi” slide shows in Ward 18 parks: CELOS recently bought a projector with the last of the 2010 Trillium “governance” grant funds. We’re using “Prezi,” a very lively, easy-to-use slide show program, to highlight park programs around here and elsewhere. The “Prezi tent” will be travelling to various Ward 18 parks (and beyond) this summer – presenting fifteen-minute slide shows, and even some park videos, for all ages. Look for it!

Dufferin Grove farmers’ market: every Thursday 3 – 7 PM

Market manager Anne Freeman sends weekly market news to market list subscribers every Wednesday. To sign up, visit the market page at


Newsletter prepared by: Jutta Mason

Illustrations: Jane LowBeer

Published by: CELOS

Web sites: Henrik Bechmann, Aseel Al Najim,

Park phone: 416 392-0913

Park web site:


Click to enlarge.

"JANE'S WALK" Sunday May 6th, 3-4:30pm

Starts at MacGregor Park - up Lansdowne Avenue - ends at Campbell Park


Why cheap parks are more fun

....when public space is protected by a 'park conservancy'

Community Parks Summit - Ana Bailao, May 5, 2012

The Ward 18 Community Parks Summit is an open house and consultation session taking place at the beautifully-renovated Dovercourt Park Boys and Girls Club on May 5th, 1-5pm, followed by a walk and supper at Dufferin Grove Park 5:30.


Norweigan National Day, May 19, 2012

Location: south end of the Park

Click to enlarge
Easter Egg Hunt with Councillor Ana Bailão

Date: April 7th
Time: 1pm-3pm
Location: Dufferin Grove Park


Click to enlarge.

Irish Pub Night

This weekend: good food and music at St.Anne's Church.

The St.Anne's Music and Drama Society is having a fundraiser this weekend to send their choir to the 2013 Gilbert and Sullivan festival in Buxton, England.

Saturday night at 7.30 and on Sunday afternoon at 2.

For $20 you get to donate to their cause and eat Irish stew and biscuits and home baking on Saturday, or Irish soup and biscuits and home baking on Sunday. The difference between their supper and the Dufferin Grove Friday Night Supper is that they'll have lots of live music -- Irish comic songs -- and a cash bar with good Irish beer, which we don't have.

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