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News 2005

posted November 2, 2005

Cob Project given Clean and Beautiful City Award

The City of Toronto lauds the Cob in the Park project with a Clean and Beautiful City Appreciation Award! The award recognizes individuals, groups and organizations for their "outstanding contributions to make Toronto clean and beautiful." Georgie Donais went down to City Hall on October 18, 2005 to accept the award on behalf of herself and all the friends and neighbours of Dufferin Grove Park who worked on the project.

To read about the awards, see To see the entry for the cob project, see Ward 18 - Dufferin Grove Park Project part way down the page.


posted March 23, 2008

Dufferin Grove Park

Ward 18 - Dufferin Grove Park Project

Hundreds of local residents helped to build a wall that was needed in Dufferin Grove Park. The project used earth and clay, as well as reused materials such as broken concrete and old wood.

posted October 6, 2005

The cob courtyard wall done!

Cob Courtyard West Wall

Cob Courtyard East Wall, Pictures by Georgie Donais

posted August 18, 2005

Cob project featured in Eye Weekly

Our cob project is featured in an Eye Weekly article about Dufferin Grove Park. Read the article here.

posted August 5, 2005

Cobbing: All together now

All together now: July, 2005

posted August 4, 2005

Cobbing: Cob workers

Cobbing, August 2005

posted August 5, 2005

Cobbing: Cob-stomping Kids

Cob-stomping Kids, August, 2005

posted June 5, 2005


Toronto Public Health inspectors have told us to get proper sinks for food preparation by the wading pool this coming summer or stop doing the playground food cart. Georgie Donais is directing the building of a little courtyard around the sinks, and continuing on from there, to create an outdoor gathering-place. The courtyard walls will be built with a sand-clay-straw mix known as "cob" or "monolithic adobe", which is mixed by foot and applied by hand.

From Georgie:

"The first stage of the project will provide a spot for the washing station required by Public Health. As the wall extends, it can be built to include arches, doorways, niches, shelves, benches, a puppet window, sculptures and mosaics, small roofs, and a lavatory. Native plantings will be incorporated around and within the courtyard. The project will be planned in stages, starting with the washing station, and extending further as time and resources allow.

This project aims to engage all users of the park, especially the parents and children who make the south end of the park their summer home. They will be the main users of the structure once it is built, and can make sizable contributions to its creation. Adults and children of all ages will be welcomed and encouraged to participate in building. For children who have less interest in participating than their caregivers, there will be some supervised play while the adults build."

Foundation work starts Saturday June 11.

Lengths of PVC Pipe Required. Can you contribute?

Our cob project is rolling along, and now we are looking for lengths of pvc pipe, four to six inches in diameter, from a foot to a foot and a half in length. (We will be putting conduits in the wall for passing cords, etc from one side to the other). If anyone has something like this that they want to get rid of, can you please email me? We're going to start needing them next week.

Check out the pictures at!


posted May 9, 2005

Funding and Materials

The Cob Courtyard: Project Receives Funding

Needs Materials and Tools (and people)

Georgie Donais applied to the Parks and Trees Foundation for $2500 to help build the cob courtyard wall, and the foundation has approved her grant. Wonderful. An earthen-walled courtyard will enclose the space to the northwest of the pool, creating an outdoor gathering place. It will be built with a sand-clay-straw mix known as "cob" or "monolithic adobe", which is mixed by foot and applied by hand.

The first stage, beginning June 11, is digging a foundation trench and filling it with gravel and then "urbanite" (chunks of cut up sidewalk rubble). Georgie writes: "Check out the Cob in the Park display if you are at the Thursday market, and add your name to the list if you would like to be involved. Upcoming activities include digging the foundation trench, and cutting, moving and mortaring the foundation urbanite. Sounds like fun? I thought so! "

MATERIALS LIST: Georgie's also sent a list of materials needed (besides straw, clay, sand, gravel and used concrete): If you have any of these adding clutter to your garage or basement, unused, here is your chance to get rid of them, and contribute to the project at the same time. Or, if you dare, you could mark them clearly with your name and just lend them to the park for this project.

TOOLS: shovels, mattocks and pulaskis and grubhoes; hand tampers; wheel barrows; blue tarps; 5 gallon pails; carpenter's levels; garden forks; hoes; old, course-tooth handsaws, and machetes; rope; measuring tapes; plaster's trowels and tools; axes and hatchets; hammers, squares, saws, chisels, drills, chalk lines, block planes, files; crowbars, masonry trowels, cold chisels, 2-3 pound hammers, sledge hammers; paintbrushes

HARDWARE & GLASS: used kitchen sinks (one double sink, and two single sinks, a bathroom sink or two); associated faucets; coloured bottles, bottles with unusual shapes, clear jars and wine bottles

WOOD: plywood (large and small pieces); dimensional lumber (2x4s, 2x6s, etc.); cordwood, seasoned; uncut logs.

For more information on this project, you can contact Georgie at or leave her a message at the rink house 416 392-0913. How many people these days get to build any kind of shelter? This wall curves into an alcove with an overhang, contains niches and windows, wraps around our public health washing station for the food cart. It needs people to squash clay with their feet so it can be mixed with straw and shaped by hand - exactly the same way people built shelter in Africa, in medieval England, in the early prairie settlements in the west. Park staff Bianca Morgan, just back from Kenya, will be the backup for Georgie, the food cart will be on the site, there will be help with child care - this may be the most memorable park summer yet.

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