The forerunner and inspiration for the Grange Green Plan was Grange Park and the 8-year long effort to see it reimagined and revitalized. Like many inner city parks, the health, utility and beauty of Grange Park had declined over the years. In 2004, the local community began discussions to return the park to its natural beauty. In 2008, an unprecedented partnership was struck among the local community, the City of Toronto and the AGO to undertake a major revitalization of Grange Park. The devotion of the GCA and other neighbours to the park provided the catalyst for this major initiative.
In response, the Grange Park Advisory Committee (GPAC) was formed, with representatives from the neighbourhood, City Parks, AGO and neighbouring organizations, to advise on a restoration and revitalization plan for the park. In consultation with the local community, GPAC created a design brief (link to blog) that outlined a vision for Grange Park. It also represented the local community in providing input to the design, development and reconstruction of the park. Members of the GCA played prominent roles in GPAC, and argued strongly for inclusion of a DOLA in the park.
In July 2017, the revitalized Grange Park re-opened to the public. Reaction has been uniformly positive. The new Park features include:
- 180 trees, 80 newly planted in 2016, to ensure a continued mature canopy. Species include American elm, horse chestnut, beech and oak
- children’s play area with customized equipment in shapes that evoke artistic creativity, such as paint palettes, paint cans and crumpled pieces of paper. It is divided into two zones: one for younger children, 2-5 years old; and one for older children
- fenced dog off-leash area (DOLA) located in the south-west corner
- an interactive water feature adjacent to the children’s play area, plus a decorative fountain that flows in front of The Grange historic house
- The world-famous sculpture, “Large Two Forms”, by Henry Moore, at the west side of the park
- New benches and picnic tables and washrooms
- Inscribed granite paving stones (link here) interspersed in the south path leading north from John Street, and all-new granite paving in realigned pathways throughout
- Extensive irrigation system to ensure the trees and plantings receive adequate water during dry spells
- New LED lighting throughout the park
The Grange Park revitalization project was a true public-private partnership, with The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and the City of Toronto as major contributors and additional significant support from a small group of donors. This funding also permitted the creation of the Grange Park Endowment Fund, managed by the AGO, that provides enhanced support for the annual maintenance of the park in perpetuity.
The GCA and its members are strongly involved in the management and protection of Grange Park. While the ongoing management of Grange Park rests jointly with the City of Toronto through Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) and the AGO, GCA members sit on the Grange Park Community Council (GPCC), the successor to the GPAC. The GPCC provides a forum through which area residents and other neighbourhood organizations can give input and advice to PFR and the AGO regarding the operational management of the park and its long term sustainability. It also will provide oversight for all activities and volunteer programs carried out in Grange Park, according to its Terms of Reference.
GCA members have also led in the creation of a dog owners association, Grange Park D.O.G. They focus on DOLA maintenance – challenge given the very heavy usage – and social engagement. For further information, please contact:
Facebook: Grange Park D.O.G.