friends of dufferin grove park
Friday Supper Notes for June 10, 2005

Dear market and Friday Night Supper friends,

1. Tonight's supper menu:
  • soup: asparagus (Plan B Organics, donation)
  • main meat: chili with Beretta's beef shoulder
  • side: guacamole (Plan B organics, donation)
  • main vegan: palourdes en nids without the clams (rice with a sauce of spinach (Greenfields Farm), asparagus, broccoli, white wine and the first local organic greenhouse tomatoes)
  • green salad (Sosnicki's)
  • dessert: rhubarb crumble (Front Door Organics donation and park gardens) with choice of whipped cream or ice cream

$6 main with $1 off for your own dishes, NO reservations necessary, we'll have the sprinkler running for the kids, and our first attempt at separating the vegan and meat line-ups. If we haven't got enough serving staff, we may ask for volunteers. Bring cooling tea.

2. girl gangsters:

to those market friends who are worried because of the 30 or so youth who were arguing and threatening each other by the oven during the market between 4 and 5.15, here's the story. Some girls from the St.Clair area, several with their faces covered by bandanas, plus a cheering section, came to get revenge on an enemy girl at the park. The enemy girl and her many supporters (both male and female) did not want to fight. So there ensued lots yelling, cursing, attempts at provocation etc. My attempt to get the youth to leave mainly led to them including me in their abuse. Eventually if became clear that the girls would continue to try to step up their nonsense. Park staff called police but that rarely brings timely results. After an interval, police were called again, and still no results. My two attempts to ask market customers with cell phones to call the police as well (to strengthen our requests) were unsuccessful. (The customers were unwilling to act without more detailed information -- not a good time to give it). However, Alvaro of Plan B, as soon as he became aware of the problem, also called 911.

The threat of police led the several groups to move toward the main path and continue their cursing, mocking, provocation. Eventually my patience ran out and I took hold of sleeves and backpacks and pulled the girls toward the edge of the park. This led to increased threats and shouting and eventually, shoving me around. At that point some of the basketball regulars intervened energetically and made it clear to this rude posse that they must leave immediately and not touch me again. They finally left and did not return.

Later on, the police arrived, but by then the problem was over.

I found it astonishing that this big scene could play itself out right beside the market with me not being able to rally more help from the people at the market. It seems clear to me that a park must have standards of behaviour or it won't be a good place to come to. Youth problems have a history in our park as elsewhere in Toronto and decisive action is needed when there is unlawfulness. I am mulling over the events, but for now, I am grateful to the basketball youth for supporting me when I needed it (wholeheartedly, grasping the situation). I think that market users don't need to worry about their safety, but may need to think about everyone's role in how a park becomes safe.

3. Yesterday's City TV news item about the park:

At the playground I heard last night that an item done by City TV at 6 p.m. said that the City (i.e. Parks and Recreation) has fought what is going on at our park all the way. I didn't see the newscast, but if that's what was said, it was in error. The good things that happen at the park could not be so without continuous cooperation between the parks and rec staff and the neighbourhood busybodies who set up what happens there. Although it's true that Parks and Rec upper management have often dug in their heels, and continue to do that, manager James Dann and supervisors Tino DeCastro and Brian Green have made things work a huge number of times, as have many other front-line staff.

Loose talk on TV! Better to turn off the set and just enjoy the park and talk face to face.

See you at Friday Night Supper!