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Weston Family grant to help improve programming at MacGregor Park

Published April 27, 2015 22:00

Source Inside Toronto

Mac Gregor Park Serviceberries Content

A $90,000 Weston Family Parks Challenge grant will support MacGregor Park and its ‘From Obscurity to Radiance’ partnership between the nearby Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club and the MacGregor Park Art Club.“It is a very big deal for us,” Kristen Fahrig, artist in residence at the park, said on Wednesday, March 11. “It’s very, very exciting.”

The grant, administered over two years, will support education and stewardship programs, engaging local youth and community members in hands-on environmental programs at three new teaching gardens. Kids from the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club’s Junction Triangle clubhouse spend a lot of time in the 3.46 acre park on Lansdowne Avenue, north of College Street during summer day camp. The partnership between the art and the boys and girls clubs is a natural fit, according to executive director Dr. Sheldon Taylor.

“The kids at our Junction Triangle clubhouse location, they really love being at MacGregor Park,” he said.

Through the partnership, “there’s a tremendous amount of learning opportunity,” added Taylor.

For the past decade, Fahrig has collaborated with the community to bring improvements to this public space, including refurbishing park benches, installing decorative trellises and bronze figures in the gardens, and building and painting new picnic tables.

This latest initiative, with help from the Weston Family grant, will see the addition of new gardens.

One will be a native species garden, which will support pollination, Fahrig said.

“It will be a viewing garden and won’t require a lot of ongoing work. It’ll be used to teach about native species,” she said.

On the south side of the park will be an edible plant garden. This one will be a hands-on teaching garden. Planting will begin in the spring, Fahrig said.

The Weston Family Parks Challenge supports projects that “enhance the natural elements in parks, engage a broad range of partners and the local community, offer new solutions to manage and maintain parks, and have the potential to be replicated in other jurisdictions,” according to its website.

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation launched the Weston Family Parks Challenge to ensure the long-term viability of the city’s parks. Building on the success of the first year, the Ontario Trillium Foundation joined forces with the foundation last year with an additional commitment of $1.125 million towards the initiative. Toronto Park People administers the program.

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