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posted May 24, 2005

FOOD IN THE PARK, Spring 2006

Pizza days% (you make your own, we have dough, sauce and cheese for $2): starting again on Sunday May 14, weather permitting. Tuesday pizza days will resume on May 16, Wednesdays not until the third week in June.

Friday night suppers will resume with Elisa Gilmour’s Canada World Youth fundraiser on May 26.

The food cart will return to the playground as soon as there are enough staff, earlier if the staff can get a little help from park friends, from time to time.


The park’s food, despite being pretty cheap (cheaper if you can’t pay), is bringing in enough money now that it supports some park extras – not only some special park programs, but also the web site, the newsletter, extra supplies and repairs, and bits of research about City funds. For the moment, administering the food funds is the task of the '''CEntre for LOcal research into public Space (CELOS)'''. This little research group, started at Dufferin Grove Park but not limited to that one place, received its “letters patent” as a non-profit corporation on '''September 21, 2005'''. A non-profit has to begin paying GST at the $50,000-earnings mark (that will be around the end of May). That doesn’t mean the food brought in $50,000 profit (most of the park food earnings go to buy more groceries to make more park food), but profit is not the point. Paying GST is the law, even for charitable groups (which CELOS is not – no group doing research into government accountability can get charitable status).

Loaves of bread and other groceries are GST-exempt, so that means no GST for farmers’ market bread nor for pizza days (people buy the raw materials and make their own pizza, so it’s like buying groceries). But any bit of prepared lunch, even a 25-cent slice of bread-and-butter at the zamboni café or the cob snack bar, will have 6% GST on it. That provides a great math opportunity for all the park kids (!), and a formidable math opportunity for the CELOS person keeping the park accounts.

CELOS can administer the funds because its mandate includes “practical and theoretical research into parks and public space.” Figuring out how food can add to a park is practical research, for sure. Much of that research has already shown results. Now the goal of CELOS is to collaborate with <strong>City park staff</strong> at all levels, over the next two years, to find the best way for park staff to administer park food funds in the long run. The Dufferin Grove Park staff are remarkable – they’re people our taxes pay for, who take charge and make the park work well. Whether the City management can absorb the new ideas coming out of this particular park and these staff people, remains to be seen.

For those park friends who want to know the nuts and bolts of how the park runs, the monthly CELOS park income/expenses reports will be posted on park web site when the GST date begins. Click on about us.

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