We had a great time at the 2015 Toronto Park Summit this past Saturday at Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park. Since 2010, the park summit has been an annual celebration of parks in Toronto, attended by park users, park advocates, City staff, not-for-profits and other stakeholders.
This year, the theme of "Inspiration from Across Canada" brought park enthusiasts and success stories of parks projects from the GTA and across the country. Representatives from Vancouver, Dartmouth and Winnipeg opened up the day with examples of collaborative and visionary projects. Vancouver’s manager of parks Malcolm Bromley emphasized the benefits he had experienced from engaging local residents and solving conflicts with dialogue. Ali Shaver of Dartmouth provided evidence for this perspective by describing how a bake oven project led by local residents succeeded dramatically after receiving initial support from a local councillor. The highlight of the morning was a presentation from Kevin Hunter of Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Conservancy, who shocked the crowd with the progress made at the iconic city centre park in just a few short years. Asked how they had made such headway, Kevin emphasized the importance of a shared vision with the support of local politicians.
The afternoon featured some equally inspiring stories of local success. The shipping container cum concession stand, the surprise of urban fishing throughout the city, and all the ways we are celebrating food in parks. It showed how far Toronto has come with allowing communities to get involved in their parks.
Facilitating community-led inititiatives in parks is something Sprout is behind 100%. Sprout has had a terrific experience working together with city of Toronto staff – identifying ambitious community groups ready to build community in their public spaces. Sprout is always on the look out for new communities groups who have ideas for improving public spaces in their community and we are eager to work with municipalities to help make it happen.
For more about the Park People Summit click here.