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News 2014

News 2014

From the October 2014 Newsletter:

Using the pizza ovens: this is your chance

Now that most of the oven programs are over for the year, it’s a good time for anyone who wants to try using the park oven for a family event or a gathering of friends. Staff or a volunteer will show you how to load the oven, how to do an even burn, and how to clean the hearth. The “zamboni” community kitchen is available for preparing the food (but you have to clean up after!) No need to have a lesson beforehand – help is at hand during your event. You have to bring your own wood, but there’s no cost otherwise. To book:

From the July 2014 Newsletter:

A bake-oven café as a “third place”?

Sociologist Ray Oldenburg wrote a book 25 years ago, called “The Great Good Place.” It got a lot of attention. He had researched 150 years of social places – not home, not work, but “third places” where people could relax among their neighbours – pubs, coffee shops, general stores, barber shops. His descriptions of Minnesota’s outdoor beer gardens, which were family-oriented meeting places with weak lager, good food, colourful gardens, open-air performances and a mix of ages from babies to grandparents, match some historical descriptions that inspired park reformers in the early twentieth century. In 1920, one of North America’s best-known playground crusaders, Henry Curtis, lauded the German beer garden (euphemistically called the “concert garden,” because it always had an orchestra). “In many ways the German concert garden is the most delightful community playground in the world. There is excellent music, there is shade, and good refreshments are sold at reasonable rates. There is a delightful social atmosphere throughout it all, and at the edges are abundant playgrounds for the children.”

This description still applies to many outdoor eating places in Europe, many of which include interesting playgrounds. Maybe it’s time to think about how to make the bake oven area work as more of a “third place” social space for Dufferin Grove. Park friend (and landscaper) Gene Threndyle suggested years ago that a flagstone patio would be good by the oven, with some kind of arbour with climbing plants to provide shade. Friday Night Supper has become a very pleasant occasion for gathering by the oven. Maybe there could be a little café spot there for the rest of the week as well.

Friday Night Suppers

Due to a shortage of available cooks, Friday Night Supper will stop offering a meat dish. However, there will always be a vegetarian or vegan dish, salad, a kids’ menu (mini-pizzas and hot dogs) and dessert. Fridays from 6 to 7.30 p.m. around the bake oven. Suggested donation is $7 for the main dish, $3 for dessert.

From the May 2014 Newsletter:

The First Friday Night Supper of the season: May 30, 6 pm

Supper will be around the bake oven as usual, at the picnic tables or bring a blanket. The main dish is a choice of meat or vegan, and a salad, with a $7 requested donation. Dessert is a $3.00 requested donation, and will feature Knuckle Down Farm's first fresh produce of the season, rhubarb! As has been the custom for some years, the first outdoor supper of the year will be cooked by staff and friends of the Children’s Storefront (it’s located at Bloor and Shaw), as a fundraiser to support the free programming offered there. Lea Ambros, now the cook at the Storefront, is the lead cook for May 30 – appropriately, since she and her friend Dan DeMatteis started the popular park suppers, back in 2003, when they worked at the park. And way before that, the Children’s Storefront was the inspiration for much of what works well at the park playground – including having good food there for families.

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