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April 2009

Dufferin Grove Park Newsletter


Volume 10, Nr.4, April 2009

Click on picture to enlarge it

Children playing during the rail corridor meeting

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

Events in April:


Friday April 17: All you ever wanted to know about CELOS but were afraid to ask
Speaker: Jutta Mason
The CEntre for LOcal research into Public Space began, very slowly, at Dufferin Grove, in 2000. It incorporated as a non-profit in 2005, and it grew from being tiny to being small but busy. Activities range from publishing the park newsletter, to monitoring City spending, to making friends with other neighbourhood parks, to running three websites (,, and – of which is a kind of “public filing cabinet” for whatever the CELOS researchers turn up...and more.

CELOS is concerned about the well-being of the “public commons.” The April 17 session will lay out how the group works, who does the research and how, and how CELOS relates to the city government (i.e. very closely, sometimes too close for comfort). Jutta will ask the question: how long can CELOS last and still be fun?

Friday April 24: The City of Toronto Act, two years later: who gets to have a say?
Speaker: Belinda Cole
The new City of Toronto Act is supposed to be reviewed this year, but ordinary people aren’t being asked how it’s working. Belinda has been studying the on-the-ground effects of laws on park campfires, picnics, farmers’ markets, shinny hockey players, playgrounds, and other public spaces for a long time. Can ordinary people get involved in making laws work for us, more often than every four years at election-time? Do the laws encourage us to speak, listen, and shape our surroundings? (They do in the Yukon – maybe we can learn from the Yukoners.) Belinda will show how easy it is to get “law literacy” and replace confusion with engaging conversations.

Speakers’ Series talks in May and June
Clay and Paper Theatre’s David Anderson: on bake ovens and music in Portugal; fitness trainer Beverley Coburn: on her Monday group walk/runs exploring the neighbourhood; DigIn chair Donna Cowan: on the Hydro Blackouts and what to do to get ready for the next time; “green” architect Rohan Walters: on new developments in Lane housing and backyard granny flats.

Not all the Speakers’ series are just talking – on March 20, Dave Gildiner and friends brought Nessie the Hydraulophone,” a water instrument which was played so beautifully by its inventor Steve Mann (a.k.a.”Cyborg Man”) and by many park children that it has to return to the playground to make more music in May. For Mike Sullivan’s Georgetown rail corridor talk on March 27 there was an electric train that kids could operate, in the entryway. There’s plenty of space in the Speakers’ Series to accommodate more show-and-tell as well as plain talk – suggestions very welcome!

FRIDAY NIGHT SUPPER, every Friday (except Easter weekend), 6 to 7.30 pm, in the Dufferin Rink clubhouse

The park cooks normally suspend the Friday Night Supper program in March and April, but this year they’re having too good of a time trying out new recipes. Also, the economic slide is making cheap meals with neighbours at the park even more attractive than before. So the cooks are continuing with Friday night suppers.

There is always a vegetarian or vegan entrée, a meat entrée, a side dish, a salad, and dessert. Most of the groceries are bought at the organic farmers’ market on Thursday, and most of the cooking is done in the outdoor wood-fired bake-ovens. It’s delicious food, and conforms largely to the 100-mile “locavore” boundary. There’s a suggested donation, all of which goes back into the park, and to pay for the groceries. But if you can’t spare the cash, donate at some other time – nobody goes away hungry! (Of course, if you feel like donating more than the suggested amount, that’s fine too.)

Community SOCCER and CRICKET times

Recreation staff are programming the soccer field for community soccer and cricket from Saturday 2pm to Sunday night, beginning in May when the grass is in. Neighbourhood groups can book times (at no charge) with recreation staff by calling the rink house at 416 392-0913 or emailing

Important note: all community games are open for drop-in as well.

Community BALL-HOCKEY times

People can book game times with recreation staff by e-mailing or calling the rink house at 416 392-0913.

All community games are open for drop-in players.


For the spring and summer, there are two public 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 teach fire safety training and are available to help start/end your fire. You can reach them at 416-392-0913 or email

CELOS provides and maintains 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 access to water, and lend you pails, and a shovel. You have to bring your own wood.


Pizza days don’t resume until May, but the playground café is already open in April on any weekend day that’s sunny and warm. On those days there will be coffee, juices and pop, Mary Sylwester’s wonderful soup, muffins and park cookies, hot dogs and maybe vegan burgers and other surprises. The playground will be the site of some more discussions this spring – should it be replaced? Added to? Maintained better? Painted? Declared a Heritage site? Left as it is? All that discussion can make people hungry....



The fast approach of this big project has now caught a great deal of neighbourhood attention. Here are some of the many upcoming meetings in the neighbourhood:

Tuesday April 14 DigIn (Dupont Improvement Group): 7:00 - 9:00 pm Wallace Emerson Community Centre, Ambrico Room, 1260 Dufferin Street (Dufferin Street just south of Dupont). From DigIn chair Donna Cowan: “Find out more about METROLINX and how it will affect our community. Special Guest is Mike Sullivan, Chair, Weston Community Coalition.

Wednesday April 15, The Brockton Triangle Group: Information Session, 7 – 9 pm, Mary McCormick Community Centre (66 Sheridan Ave, south of Dundas) From the poster: “Come and listen to Councillor Adam Giambrone’s perspective on the Train Corridor Expansion. As City Councillor, TTC Chair, and Board Member of Metrolinx, Councillor Giambrone will give a presentation surrounding this hot button issue…Community Concerns: How will the trains be powered – diesel or electric? What are the amounts of pollution expected from this expansion? What kind of disruption can be expected during construction? How frequently will trains be running and how loud will they be? How will this affect the planned bike path through the corridor?”
Refreshments and child care provided.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009, 3:00pm – 8:00pm. Metrolinx Open House, at the Lithuanian House, Hall B, 1573 Bloor Street West (just west of Dundas West subway station). A government display of what’s planned, as part of the abbreviated Environmental Assessment.

Tuesday, April 21, 7:00pm-9:00pm, at Mary McCormick Recreation Centre, 66 Sheridan Avenue (Dufferin/Dundas area). From organizer Eli Malinsky: “The purpose of this meeting is to begin coordinating our efforts under a shared banner. We imagine about 30-45 people in the room, representing communities and groups with concerns about the Metrolinx project. We’re not looking for “as many people as possible” from each group – we’ll need numbers in later stages. Right now we need a few (1-6?) representatives from each group so we can work with a manageable number on the 21st to start pushing things forward.

In terms of meeting design, there will be 6-10 tables with different themes and a facilitator at each table. The themes could include: Media Strategy; Legal Strategy; Website/Information Management; Brand/Logo; Key Messages etc. The facilitators will stay put for the evening, taking notes and guiding the conversations. Others will rotate through a couple of the tables depending on their interests. Then the facilitators will report back on the discussions and we can begin to consider next steps. Hopefully this will be a collaborative process that allows people to focus on their key concerns.”

Thursday April 23, 7 p.m. Davenport Perth Neighbourhood Centre, 1900 Davenport Road (between Symington and Old Weston) EAST OF THE TRACKS: NEIGHBOURHOOD ACTION

From organizer Karen Williams: “If the pile drivers are driving you crazy, come to a community meeting. There will be information about the project, and reports about what steps have been taken so far to stand up for the residents of our neighbourhood. Come and add your written experience of the impact of this project on your daily life – so that we can present the extent of the negative effects on our communities.

In addition, there will be information about the future Metrolinx project that will also seriously affect this neighbourhood.”

Arts and Crafts Table for the children, interpreters in various languages. For more information call Karen at (416) 657-1558

DEWSON STREET PUBLIC SCHOOL'S 125TH ANNIVERSARY, Saturday May 2, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From organizer Tori Smith: “Dewson Street Public School invites its former students, parents, teachers and neighbours to celebrate its 125th anniversary. The school will hold an open house with historical displays, old-fashioned games, refreshments, decade reunions, a video memory booth and more. At 1:00 pm there’s a concert and celebration in the gym with South Asian dance, steel band, Dewson "Jeopardy", special guests, and the school choirs singing songs form Dewson's history. Afterwards, there will be cake and a tree dedication in the playground. All are welcome to celebrate this milestone in the continuing story of our school and our community.”


There are quite a few neighbourhood e-lists in the neighborhood. Often they have advice about good (or occasionally bad) experiences with local trades – roofers, plumbers, handypeople, car garages, shoe repair, dressmakers, and many more. Or there are descriptions of good places to eat, good locally-run stores, announcements of performances, and so on. Aseel Al Najim collects all these postings for the website and sorts them into categories for easy access. The trades-and-service postings are NOT ADS – they have to come by recommendation, with the recommender’s name and a contact address. There is a wealth of helpful information in the listings, growing every day. It’s a win-win: a help to people who need work done, and a way of keeping people in the community working. Go to, click on “neighbourhood” .


The park bakers need more wood to bake the bread and the pizzas, and cook the community suppers. Carpenters with wood scraps, consider trading that wood for bread (or for supper)! Call 416 392-0913, or e-mail

NEWS ABOUT COURT VISITS: Confira Imports and the Kiss Cup Bar/Café

It’s been over a year now since CELOS researcher Michael Monastyrskyj began to follow local arrests through the courts. Of the 13 criminal cases Michael has been following, 9 are still before the courts, some not due until the fall of this year.

Some of the charges were not criminal, but were laid under the provincial offenses act – people were charged with violating regulations. Those charges are also moving through the courts and slowly being settled. For instance, the Globe and Mail reported last April (2008) that “Toronto police seized 46,680 litres of wine - red and white - in vats, buckets and large plastic jugs, worth an estimated $120,000....Five weeks of surveillance led to Confira's warehouse on Dublin Street, police said....Police said the owners of the company and six store owners have been charged with unlawfully keeping, offering and selling liquor. The company could face fines of up to $500,000, while each individual could face penalties of $250,000.” Dublin Street is near College and Lansdowne, so CELOS followed the case. On March 19, 2009, two people from Confira Imports pleaded guilty to several charges. The rest of the charges were dropped (apparently because of some errors in the investigation) and the two Confira Imports people was fined only $3000 each. They must have been relieved!

Another prosecution under the Provincial Offenses Act involved the Kiss Cup Bar/Café on the north side of Bloor St. between Emerson and St. Clarens. From Michael Monastyrskyj:
“In the summer of 2007, members of the local community group Dig In started noticing drug dealers hanging out at the Kiss Cup. Police were already aware of the problem as was Councillor Adam Giambrone's office. In 2007 and 2008 the bar was raided more than once.\\ ''In June 2008, the bar was temporarily closed for various liquor violations. The owners, people by the name of Ying, sold the business to another family. The new owner announced his resolve to clean up the place, and he put his daughter and his son-in-law, Kam Ho Law, in charge. The drug dealers, who were then excluded, were angry, the owners were threatened and the Kiss Cup twice had its windows smashed.''

Despite this, on September 20, 2008 two police officers entered the bar and issued twelve provincial offences tickets to the new owners of the Kiss Cup for various violations. Six of the tickets were issued to the previous owners, the Yings, while the other six were issued to Kam Ho Law. (This owner has since sold the business; apparently the experience with the police was the last straw for the family.)

On April 3, the owners had their day in court to fight the tickets. The family was already sitting in court before 9 a.m. Kam Ho Law approached the Crown attorney who suggested he talk to the police officer to see if they could come to an agreement to settle without a trial. The whole family, including the children, and an interpreter who speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese, went outside with the officer. When they came back, the officer told the Crown that the family still wanted a trial.

The interpreter approached the Crown and said Kam Ho Law wanted to talk to him. The Crown agreed, and said he was ready to proceed on three charges, but would agree to withdraw two of them if the owner would plead guilty to a violation of the Fire Marshall's Act and pay a $150 fine. The Crown said Kam Ho Law had locked the front door when there were people inside the bar, "You can't do that."

Kam Ho Law said the charges weren't fair and that the police officer was engaging in an act of revenge because of a confrontation that had happened earlier. The Crown attorney replied that he wasn't there and that he didn't have anything against the Kam Ho Laws. He repeated, "You can't lock the door with people inside." During the discussion, Kam Ho Law pointed out that some of the tickets showed the wrong date.

When the family still insisted on a trial, the Crown attorney stood up and told the Justice of the Peace he was withdrawing all the charges, because "upon review of the informations" he noticed there were two different dates on the tickets. The family was told they were free to go, because the case would not proceed.

The courtroom was almost empty. Seeing me, the Crown attorney asked if I had a matter before the court. I said I was with the family and that I was just observing. The owner said I was a member of the community who was monitoring the case.

Afterwards the family invited me to a restaurant to eat with them. They told me their version of what happened when they were issued the tickets. They say they never locked the door, but that they did push against the door to keep drug dealers out. They said they have DVDs from their security cameras that show what happened that night and that they were prepared to show those DVDs if the matter had gone to trial.

The Kam Ho Law family also said that the Chinese interpreter had told them not to fight the tickets, they wouldn't be able to win. But as it turns out, the interpreter was wrong.”

Michael Monastryskyj posts what he hears in court on the website, except when a case is under a pre-trial publication ban. As the cases are settled or withdrawn, the publication bans are lifted one by one, and then Michael can add all his previously hidden material. It’s pretty fascinating, and this summer Michael will consolidate his year of local court stories into a short book.

Criminal cases: The Dufferin Grove park sexual assault charge, February 2008.

The only case directly involving Dufferin Grove Park (rather than the larger neighbourhood) was an arrest of a young man for sexual assault in the park one cold night in February 2008. This case was scheduled to be tried in May 2009, but recently the Crown attorney in charge of the case told Michael there isn't going to be a trial. Michael writes: “She also said that if people at Dufferin Grove have worries about what happened last February, they shouldn't, because ‘It's not that kind of case,’ i.e. that this is not a situation where there are likely to be attacks on strangers in the park. She couldn’t say more, but she told me if I'm interested in the final outcome I should be in court on May 5, because the case will probably be resolved then.”

A mystery, one of many mysteries in the courts. Michael welcomes anyone who wants to accompany him to any of the court visits, to get a first-hand view of how courts function. To contact him:

Dufferin Mall Youth Service (DMYS) CAR WASH, Tuesday April 21, 4- 6 pm, Dufferin Park Avenue, by the rink house.

From DMYS program cordinator Shani Kipang: “The DMYS youth council is a youth led group responsible for guiding the direction of many of DMYS’s initiatives and operations. The council is also supported in extending its activities outside DMYS, to include fundraising, social action and community development activities.

We ask for a suggested donation of $5 for a car, $10 for a van. The youth council will decide to what the money will go, but it will likely be used for more recreational equipment in our drop in space- i.e. new foos ball table, new music equipment for a recording studio etc.”

Monday evening FITNESS WALK/RUN in the neighbourhood, everyone welcome

From neighborhood fitness trainer Beverley Coburn: “Many of you said that you would love to get active - in April - well the time has come. Meet Monday evenings 6:30 pm at the Chelsea Lofts, 1375 Dupont St. (at the SE corner of Lansdowne and Dupont - across from Coffee Time) for a FREE, easy-paced walk or run - everyone is welcome. Good for beginners or a good recovery run for more advanced runners. This has turned out to be my favourite run of the week - and I have met so many great and interesting people in the neighbourhood.”


Spring is coming! If you want to find your green thumb, contact garden coordinator Anna Bekerman at or call the park at 416 392-0913 and leave Anna a message. Everyone welcome! The garden club meets at the park food gardens on Sunday afternoons, digging, planting, attending to the excellent compost bins, learning and swapping plant lore, and (later) harvesting vegetables for the family pizza days, the park cafés and community dinners. Volunteer gardeners eat free, of course.


Market manager Anne Freeman sends out a weekly e-mail to market list subscribers every Wednesday, telling what’s on offer that week. She writes: ”The power of the sun must be what’s making the phone ring and the internet lines buzz this week, as outdoor-season vendors get in touch about plans for Dufferin Grove this year. There's lots to look forward to, both familiar and new.” Some of the new this year will be more fruit, more fresh lamb, more early greens, and a farmer who grows “the world’s best asparagus” (according to another farmer). To sign up for weekly market news emails, visit the market page at That way you won’t miss the news of the first asparagus, or the first strawberries, or the first corn, all local and in season.


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:


April newsletter sponsor: Edward Cayley.

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