This past Saturday, I was pleased to host the grand reopening of the new MacGregor Park Fieldhouse. This 85 year old building underwent major renovations to add a new entrance and year-round heating. Working with the community, the fieldhouse will now host arts programming provided by Botanicus Art Ensemble. At this event, we also honoured a member of Botanicus Arts, Kristen Fahrig, who sadly passed away. In her honour, we commissioned a memorial plaque in her name.
It is with great sadness that I share with you the news that Kristen Fahrig has passed away. Kristen was the founder of the Botanicus Art Ensemble and was a passionate artist and community member who poured her heart and spirit into the MacGregor Park community. I had the pleasure and humbling opportunity to work with Kristen Fahrig over the years and I know that her vibrancy and deep care for nature and creativity will live on for years to come. Please read this Park People tribute to Kristen.
In 2016, with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Botanicus Art Ensemble undertook a study to determine the feasibility of year round programming in MacGregor Playground (Lansdowne Ave. north of College St.) for the full diversity of people in the area. Alongside art & garden programs, Botanicus conducted visioning sessions and surveys: asking our community how the park could become more inviting, more accessible, and more vibrant. Thank you to everyone who participated!
To see the results of the survey, please visit http://www.botanicusart.com/community-visioning/
Architecture firm DTAH was commissioned to investigate how the MacGregor Fieldhouse might be transformed to support year-round community programming. Currently, the building is unheated and closed for six months of the year. In order to inform the future of the Fieldhouse, DTAH investigated the past, present and potential future of the Park as a whole. Conclusions from this investigation, specifically the option of an expansion to the Fieldhouse, were positively received during well-attended presentations at the park and endorsed by the Directors of the BAE. Great interest has been expressed in improving both the Park and Fieldhouse to reflect the evolving needs of the surrounding community.
To read the DTAH MacGregor Fieldhouse Feasibility Study, please visit http://www.botanicusart.com/fieldhouse-study/
To read a report of all of the Botanicus Art Ensemble Art & Garden programming for 2016, please visit http://www.botanicusart.com/new-page-1/
The Dovercourt Boys and Girls and MacGregor Park Art Club have been awarded a substantial Weston Family Parks Challenge Grant. I was closely involved in helping form the organizational partnership, and also in the grant application process that will see MacGregor Park transformed from obscurity to radiance. I look forward to assisting more Ward 18 community groups in obtaining the necessary funding to transform local public spaces according to neighbourhood visions.
Call to Please Come and Help Out!
Everyone is invited to participate in all aspects of building and caring for the MacGregor Teaching Gardens.
April 1 – July 31, 2015
North Native Species Garden
April 15 – Perimeter fence adjusted to accommodate tree
April 16/17 – Path Created
April 18 – Soil preparations
April 24 – Shrubs Planted
May 1 – Wildflowers and grasses planted
May 28 – Community Compost Day
South Edible Garden
April 15 – temporary wood fence install
April 15/17 – woven hazelnut edging for interior beds created
April 18 – Soil preparations
May – installation of raised wheelchair accessible beds
May – plantings for the entire month
Ecole Secondaire Toronto Ouest
- Design & Build raised wheelchair accessible beds with eco-Artist Morgan Zigler (after school program with grade 7 students)
- Garden Club with Garden Director Maria Solakofski (after school program Mondays & Wednesdays 2:30-4pm, May, June, Sept., Oct.)
Dovercourt Boys & Girls Club
- Garden Club with Maria Solakofski (Thursdays 4-5pm, May, June, Sept., Oct.)
- Summer programs – two programs with Maria Solakofski and Garden Assistants - (July 10-11:30am)
- Design & Build Cobb Shed with eco-Builder Gordie Wornoff (currently Wednesdays 3:30-5:30pm)
- Saturdays in May 10am – 12p
- Composter Build
- Summer Garden Activity Stations – with Garden Assistants - afternoons in July, everyone welcome
- Saturday afternoon – Community Garden Program – everyone welcome
- Woven Branch Sculpture – articulated figures for performance with Kristen Fahrig and Morgan Zigler – Evenings in July, August, (times to be announced)
For information & to participate please contact:
MacGregor Park Art Club
416 576 9009
You may also be interested to read the Bloor West Villager story "Weston Family grant to help improve programming at MacGregor Park"
Working in conjunction with the MacGregor Park Arts Club and local artist Kristen Fahrig, Sandra Dunn and Dave Brandow will be forging parts for an Arbor/Archway for the entrance of MacGregor Park. They will be demonstrating traditional blacksmithing joinery techniques, slitting & drifting, punching & riveting as well as creating decorative forged elements.
There will be two demos in the spring and two in the fall with the arbor assembled on site at the last event. The Arbour/Archway will be designed and engineered with the intention that it will be permanently installed in the park.
Information will be made available to the public about the history & process of blacksmithing, how to contact artist blacksmiths in Ontario and the types of work they are producing – from architectural, sculpture, art knives, armor and decorative artworks large & small. Listings of schools and other ways of gaining skills as a blacksmith, organizations and meets in North America as well as a Bibliography of websites, videos and books.
Saturday June 21, 10:am – 4:00pm
Tuesday July 1, 10:am – 4:00pm (Canada Day Extravaganza!)
Fall Dates (exact days and times to be finalized):
Labour Day Weekend
End of October (Hallowe’en Blacksmithing, Costume Party & Raising of the Archway)
A MacGregor Park Art Club Project - Funded & Supported by:
The Ontario Arts Council
Toronto Parks & Recreation
Friends & Neighbours
For Information Contact:
416 576 9009