For the basics, see
- Website & Privacy Policies
- How To Get Involved
- The Role of the Park

Search options:

up to a month to index new postings
web search

Search Newsletter:
local & up to date but simpler
See Search Page

Department Site Map

October 2008

Dufferin Grove Park Newsletter


Volume 9, Nr.10, October 2008

Wading pool work begins

For an independent community email list service and discussion group, see dufferingrovefriends

Events In the Park

Annual NIGHT OF DREAD Saturday October 25.

Parade at 6 pm, park events until 8.30 pm From Clay and Paper Theatre artistic director David Anderson: “Night of Dread is an invitation to parade our private and collective fears through the darkened streets of the Bloor/Dufferin/College communities. The procession returns to Dufferin Grove Park for an evening of ceremonial festivities that compel us to call on, mock and banish the fears that unite and divide us in these times. It is an evening of pageantry, music and masquerade including towering puppets, stilt dancers, fire twirlers and fearful masks in a daring exploration of dread.

Night of Dread incorporates international folk and theatrical traditions that draw inspiration from the many festivals of death and remembrance around the world. Join Toronto musicians, puppeteers, dancers and stilt walkers as together we laugh at our fears, real and imagined, private and public. “ Parade assembles at Dufferin Grove Park at 3 PM, departs at 6 PM. Dress code: black and white. Volunteers always wanted & welcome! More information: (416) 537-9105, or e-mail

Night of Dread workshops start October 6, 2008

From Clay and Paper Theatre artistic director David Anderson: “Please join us for our free Night of Dread workshops! Help us build, paint, sculpt, papier-maché and repair imagery for the parade and celebration, or create a shrine to commemorate someone who has died. Stay for as long or as little as you wish, supplies and snacks provided. Bring your energy and creativity, make a new friend or bring one of your own. All are welcome! Workshops take place at the rink house at Dufferin Grove Park, the large building adjacent the skating rink. We will be there most days from noon until 8 PM - drop in any time!”

Bishop Marrocco School PARK CLEANUP DAYS

On October 18, and again on November 8, students from Bishop Marrocco Catholic High School are coming to the park to help clean litter and dig up the sand under the playground equipment (so the kids won’t break their bones if they fall). Students from that school have also helped out making Night of Dread puppets, for years. The school is a distance away from the park, at Bloor where it’s crossed by Dundas. But many of the students use Dufferin Grove Park, and contribute to its liveliness.


There aren’t many. Friday Night Suppers are over for the season and won’t return until the rink opens. The food cart at the playground is stored away until next spring. Campfires are still on, though.


In October there are two small-group campfire locations – centre path and south path. The centre path fire circle is in the middle of the park, and the south path fire circle is beside the cob courtyard. The park’s recreation staff book the cooking fire times. They also give fire safety training and are available to help start/end your fire. You can reach them at 416-392-0913 or email

CELOS regularly maintains and provides grills, a cast-iron stand (if you want to cook more than marshmallows or hot dogs on a stick), pots and pans for campfire permits. Suggested donation of $10 for upkeep. Park staff will give you water, pails, and a shovel. You have to bring your own wood and be quiet and respectful of park neighbours.


Anna Bekerman is the recreation staff community garden coordinator, and she’s had a wonderful lot of gardeners this year. Gardening get-togethers will continue at 2 pm every Saturday in October, everyone welcome. Anna wants to collect seeds for next year, and spread the excellent ready-compost, and she’s thinking about cold frames for this winter: donations of old windows are welcome! (Anna is also one of the park bakers and she’s willing to trade for bread.)

The Parks Horticulture staff sent over some perennials and a planting plan for the front of the rink house, and Green Here shared a donation of hundreds of daffodil bulbs from the city’s Parks and Trees Foundation. Students from St.Mary’s Catholic High School came over to help plant the bulbs, and some went to Campbell Park as well.


The company doing the wading pool renovation installed the construction fence on September 24, and cleared away some benches and some earth around the pool perimeter. They also carved out the new paths from Havelock and Gladstone, and laid down a bed of rolled sand, and in some places gravel, for the new asphalt walkways. The work went on for two days (Sept.25 and 26). There was no work done for over a week, and then there was a site meeting between project manager Peter Didiano, Parks plumber Tom Feeney, Parks maintenance supervisor Peter Leiss, and the contractor. Then nothing again. (Wallace Emerson Pool up the road has been closed for over a year due to stalled construction work – that’s why people are a little anxious about any city project now.) CELOS is posting a daily progress reports, hoping for the trucks to come back:



Dufferin Rink will open two days earlier than last year, and is scheduled to close on March 15. (See “timing of the rink season” on the next page.) Ice-making begins on Nov.25. Wallace Rink and Campbell Rink, opening on Dec.6, will once again be our “sister” rinks, with shared staffing.

DUFFERIN RINK SCHEDULE: seven days a week

The schedule for both shinny hockey and pleasure skating is mostly unchanged. The rink is open seven days a week including Christmas and New Year’s, from 9 a.m. until 9 pm. After 9pm there are permits or special programs on the shinny hockey side. The pleasure-skating side is unsupervised but open, meaning that it usually has a shinny hockey game with boots or backpacks as the goal markers. On Sundays there is only pleasure-skating, on both rink pads, until 5 pm, then programs begin on the shinny side.

The zamboni café will have tasty, nutritious food as before, with lots of soups, park oven bread, Sosnicki’s perogies from the farmers’ market, park cookies, hot chocolate, and so on. On weekends there will be more food but no sit-down suppers on Friday nights – too crowded.

As always, there will be a large collection of children’s books for taking a story break beside the woodstove. For mothers with babies who need to find a quiet spot when the rink gets too busy and noisy, there is a special chair in the corner of the women’s washroom, also supplied with some kids’ books for the baby’s little brother or sister. And there will always be mini-pizzas and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.


Last March after the rink closed fro the season and the ice melted away, the Wallace BMX bike course was set up again. One night at the end of March, a fire broke out, burning two of the bike platforms. The Parks staff were concerned that the heat of the fire might have gone into the concrete and damaged the PVC brine pipes underneath, so they had the brine pressure checked. Sure enough, the pressure was too low. Nothing seems to have been done to follow up until another check in September, which showed even lower pressure. The cause is not clear, since there were other problems with the rink, unrelated to the fire. A concrete slab was improperly positioned over the trench between the two rinks, so that raccoons could (and did) get into the trench during the summer. A large pipe in that trench now has a slash in it, and workers have removed the slab covers and erected a safety barrier. But no work is being done yet, and time is getting short. CELOS will be monitoring the rink daily and posting progress reports on the cityrinks website.

The timing of the rink season

Most city outdoor rinks (except Dufferin, Rennie, and the city square rinks) will not open until December 6. But fourteen outdoor rinks are set to stay open until March 15.

Last March there was a media storm about most outdoor rinks shutting down before March break (the Toronto Sun ran a headline: “Pink Finks Sink Rinks”). It looks like the bad press has led Parks management to make an expensive decision for this rink season. Running outdoor rinks in March, when the angle of the sun is already so high, is very costly, as well as being hard on the rink compressors.

For almost ten years, rink friends have been recommending to the City that they open the outdoor rinks in mid-November (very low sun) and close them at the end of February, as was the practice for decades before amalgamation. For the last four years, CELOS (the little parks-related research organization) has been graphing the daily temperature and the angle of the sun during the rinks season, and their effects on ice quality and compressor energy-use at the rinks. The CELOS graphs show why a forward shift in the rink season would save on energy costs, give more days of good ice, and be more popular with skaters.

Two years ago, CELOS, working with rink friends and various on-site rink staff, published a detailed report on all 50 city outdoor rinks, complete with rankings, and suggestions for inexpensive improvements. Since then, rink friends have tried to present that report to the Parks Committee of City Council, but no luck so far – the CELOS spot on the agenda was always postponed until the rink season was over.

This November, the City Council audit committee’s report about the dire state of City finances will once again hit the media. Perhaps this is the year when the councillors will finally consider what rink friends and CELOS have been trying to tell them. For more information, go to

Skating news


There was enough “cookie money” earned from park snack bars that this year the rink could finally afford to buy a skate sharpening machine. This season there will be no public skate-sharpening available – the machine is a manual sharpener and rink staff Dan Watson will be learning the art, practicing on the rental skates only. As Dan hones his skill, the rental skates should be consistently sharper than in previous years.

The rental fees remain the same: $2 to rent skates, $2 to rent a stick, $2 to rent gloves, and helmets are lent out for free. Thanks again to the NHL Players’ Association, for their wonderful gift of 50 pairs of skates, plus sticks, helmets and gloves, in 2004. That started us off, and having skates to rent out cheaply made it possible for so many more people to join the fun at the rink. Tibetan, Cuban, and Brazilian newcomers have been the most enthusiastic late starters for learning to skate. Whole families come down to the rink, and they all – sometimes including the grandparents – put on rental skates and helmets and slide around the ice.


The NHL Players’ Association has come through again: they have donated fifty pairs of brand new skates, sticks, and gloves to Wallace Rink, to augment the supplies the rink staff scraped together last year. This means that Wallace Rink will have a very well-equipped rental program this year, in addition to the weekly campfires and snack program.


There will be no skating classes at Dufferin Rink this year. Instead, Dufferin rink staff will have organized “beginner skater” games on Saturday mornings. As well, on two early weekday evenings and on Sundays, rink attendants will be available on the ice to give help to kids and adults who are practicing their skating. There is no charge for this help – that’s what rink staff are for.

The rink staff are still working on the planning of these special game times and practicing times – see the November newsletter for more specifics. Formal classes are available at nearby Wallace Rink and Christie Rink.


Last rink season, Dan Watson’s beginner shinny sessions for adults were often packed. So this year Dan will add another session to accommodate the overflow. So far it looks like:

Sundays 9.30 to 11 pm at Dufferin Rink will be a free, supervised, drop-in shinny hockey time (no drills, just playing time).
Tuesdays from 9 to 10.30 at Christie Pits Rink will be a Level Two Beginner Shinny hockey time (including drills and a game, free but registration needed)
Wednesdays from 10 to 11 at Dufferin Rink will be a Level One Beginner shinny hockey time (including drills and a game, free but registration needed),
Thursday evenings (time t.b.a.) at Wallace Rink''', free drop-in beginner’s shinny (no registration, no drills)

This schedule is to be confirmed in the November newsletter. For more information, contact



How are playgrounds connected with the famous Gucci fashion house? Or Arab oil wealth?

Answer: (follow the steps)

1. The city’s Canadian Standards Association playground replacement program had Belair Recreational Products Inc as its largest supplier ($1.4 million) between 2000 and 2004. Belair shares an address with Little Tikes Commercial (Canada) in the town of Paris, Ontario. Little Tikes Commercial (Canada) is a branch of a very large American company, and it also sold a lot of playground replacement equipment to the Toronto Parks Department (almost $700,000).
2. Little Tikes Commercial was bought by Rubbermaid in 1993, and then both were bought by the giant Newell Corporation.
3. Newell seems to have sold Little Tikes to a playground company called PlayPower soon after 2000. PlayPower has a Canadian office just up the road from Belair, in Paris Ontario.
4. In 2002, PlayPower was bought by Investcorp, based in Bahrain, an “intermediate investment group” created to “funnel Gulf States wealth into Western investments.” Investcorp made the news when it bought Gucci ten years earlier. Google is helping CELOS to find out what happened next…playgrounds are big business.


Since last February, Michael has been following local arrests through court, to find out what happens afterwards. This is the first of regular monthly excerpts from his court diary. A local woman, J.B., who grew up in this neighbourhood, was arrested on Bloor near Lansdowne on April 1 2008. Although the suspicion of drug-dealing is the main reason why people in the neighbourhood have been worried about J.B., her charges in this case were robbery, forcible confinement, threatening death, threatening bodily harm, and assault. Such serious charges meant that no bail was granted.

May 12, 2008, Courtroom 503, College Park Court. The court session begins at 10am. Court officers bring J.B. to the court at 11:10am. J.B.’s lawyer isn't present. Instead a law student is there as an agent for J.B.’s lawyer. It is common for students to appear in place of lawyers for routine appearances where little more than a new date is set. While the court is dealing with another case, J.B angrily asks the student why she hasn't been in to see her. "Why am I sitting here? So that you can look at me like I'm a monster?" she asks. "Do I look like a monster?" The judge asks for quiet. This seems to make her angrier. "F** this. Yo, take me out of here then." Court officers escort J.B. out.

Ten minutes later she is brought back in. The student representing J.B. tells the judge her office has only received partial disclosure. She notes this is the fourth time they have asked for all the disclosure. The defense is still missing a statement from the victim and a DVD. The Crown says the DVD will be available by J.B.’s next appearance. J.B. asks "What happens if the there's no DVD then?" The judge replies, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it." J.B. responds, "That will be a nice bridge to cross. You take people's freedom lightly. I hope you can sleep at night." J.B.’s next appearance is set for June 2.

But disclosure (the Crown’s evidence against an accused, which the defense lawyer has to be shown to begin preparing a defense) was still not ready in June, so J.B. was brought back to the Vanier Women’s Prison to wait.

July 28, Courtroom 503, College Park Court. Officers bring J.B. to the prisoners' box at 10:15. The Crown tells the judge that the Crown wishes to withdraw the charges, but first offers some background on the case. The charges are all related to an incident that happened at the end of March. The complainant is a woman of no fixed address, but someone who the police know. However, the police lost contact and haven't seen her in three months despite efforts to find her. Those efforts included looking through databases of sudden deaths. After the Crown finishes speaking, the judge tells the clerk to mark the charges as withdrawn. He then calls a recess.

At this point I don't know the judge's name but want to find out. When I try to walk up to the court clerk to ask, a uniformed court officer says very sharply "Hey! Get back! You can't approach the court!" I step back and go outside. A few minutes later I see the officer who snapped at me, in the hallway. I ask him if he can tell me the name of the judge. He politely says, "Sutherland, I think."

After four months in jail without her case coming to trial, J.B. is free to go. She gets on the elevator with a friend. Using some unprintable expletives, she expresses her contempt for the police, saying she's not afraid of them. J.B. has been seen at Bloor and Lansdowne less often than formerly, since she got out.


'Community Campfire, Saturday, October 18, 6pm - 10pm, Susan Tibaldi Parkette From DigIn president Donna Cowan: “Have some country fun in the city. Invite your friends and neighbours! Don’t forget to bring… some marshmallows and make some s’mores…some wieners and roast them on a stick … your own soft drinks. ….lawnchairs and enjoy a night under the stars. We supply the hot chocolate.

'Pizza nights at Christie Pits, every Friday evening in October From Monica Gupta, Chair of Friends of Christie Pits Park: “This is a group which was started about a year ago by concerned residents who like the park. We have a strong vibrant community and want to work together to improve the green space and recreation activities. We work closely with Bob Abate Community Recreation Centre in providing events like pizza nights and community meetings.

I wanted to extend an invitation to all Friends of Dufferin Grove Park to come to Pizza Nights every Friday in October at Christie Pits Pizza Oven. Make your own pizza and share ideas with each other.

For information about times, call Bob Abate Rec Centre at 416 392-0744.


The market has now moved up onto the rink pad for the fall – a very nice location with a village-square feeling. Market manager Anne Freeman sends out weekly market news e-mails to a list that’s grown to over five hundred people. To get on the list, go to, click on Farmers’ Market and follow the prompts.

As a sample, here is the Greenfields report for the market news of October 9: "In preparation for that much anticipated Thanksgiving dinner, our table will be full of lovely autumn fare. We have lots of Squash, including Acorn, Delicata and Sugar pie Pumpkins. Sugar pie pumpkins are great for pie as they are sweeter, have a firmer and less fibrous flesh and fewer seeds than the standard pumpkin. They also taste great baked on their own and are full of vitamin A. Also for the feast we have Rutabagas, beautiful Purple Cauliflower and Romanesco Cauliflower, Golden and Red Beets, our super sweet Carrots, and the feature item this week: Brussel Sprouts! We have 3 types of Cabbage: Green, Red and Savoy. To add to the table are Eggplant, Fennel, Celery root, Green and Red Peppers, as well as Red and White Onions. For greens, we'll bring both Green and Red Kale, as well as endive. And a treat for the Radish lover, we have Daikon and Black radish, both of which can be used raw in salads, shredded as a garnish or cooked in a variety of ways….


Newsletter prepared by: Jutta Mason

Illustrations: Jane LowBeer

Published by: CELOS

Web site: Henrik Bechmann, Aseel Al Najim

Park phone: 416 392-0913

Park web site:


October Newsletter sponsored by: Scooter Girl Toys

hosted by | powered by pmwiki-2.2.83. Content last modified on November 04, 2008, at 02:43 PM EST