TD Park People Grants provide 225 ways for you to connect to your city parks

On Earth Day, we announced the 75 park groups and 225 park events that have received TD Park People Grant program funding to host awesome community events in parks. Now in its second year, the TD Park People Grant program has been expanded to include community park groups in 7 cities across the country. There are so many ways to get out into city parks between now and New Year’s Eve. Be sure to check out all of the grant recipients and mark your calendar for stellar community events you can attend in your city parks.

Here’s just a sampling of what’s planned in cities across Canada:

Calgary:

Blog Pictures Size (1080x565) (1)

Last year’s East vs West water fight in Calgary’s Crescent Heights brought a divided neighbourhood together in the park, all the while giving adults and kids alike a chance to have fun and cool down in the summer heat! This year, Crescent Heights Community Association is putting an eco-spin on their events by hosting an environmental puppet-making workshop into the park, a tree walk with a local arborist and, of course, the awesome water fight which we’re proud to say has become an annual tradition!

Edmonton:

Blog Pictures Size (1080x565) (3)

We were thrilled to expand the TD Park People Grant program to Edmonton. The Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition is hosting events that focus on building young people’s connection to nature. Their Youth Engagement event at Riverdale Park will highlight their community garden, while Family Adventures in Whitemud Park will focus on the Kihciy Askiy (Sacred Earth), traditional Indigenous and ecological knowledge.

Halifax:

Our friends to the east, in Halifax, were ecstatic to be included in this year’s TD Park People Grant program.  Bloomfield Neighbourhood Residents Association demonstrated great creativity by proposing three different themed potlucks, the final one being a Welcome Home Community Potluck where, together with Immigrant Services Association of NS, they will invite newcomers in the community to share food and experiences. There will be no shortage of excitement with Dramatic Changes Artists Society’s Anti-Oppression improv show and their sunset dance party. Their events will be powered by solar panels and intentionally setting their events in a stewardship framework.

Montreal:

Blog Pictures Size (1080x565) (2)

The creativity of Montreal’s community park groups makes their events unique and well worth checking out! Toddlers and families of Dorval-Lachine will be reading, playing and picnicking in Park Lasalle, brought together by Table de concertation de petite enfance de Dorval Lachine, while the Groupe de citoyens 1e et 2eme ave will be cleaning up at Parc Frederic-Back, an iconic Montreal park in the midst of a huge transformation.

Ottawa:

In Ottawa, both francophone and Anglophone communities are hosting events supported by TD Park People Grants.  Rendez Vous des Aines Francophones d’Ottawa will get local seniors to pitch in for a nature cleanup. A booming beach opening party is happening at the Westboro Beach Community.

Toronto/GTA:

Blog Pictures Size (1080x565) (4)

This year, the TD Park People Grant program was expanded from Toronto to across the entire Greater Toronto Area. Park Friends groups including Silver Creek, Lotherton, Dallington, Henrietta, Hancock Woodlands and Cedarbrook and Thompson Memorial parks are hosting awesome events in their parks.

Vancouver:

Blog Pictures Size (1080x565) (5)

This summer in Vancouver, Gordon Neighbourhood House is taking their model for community action to the park! Broughton Street Mini-Park will be the backdrop for a great community barbeque, a community-wide chilli night featuring games, live music and food and a free gardening workshop for local neighbours to build their connection to urban agriculture.

We can’t wait to see you at these TD Park People Grant supported events. Be sure to check the website regularly for the latest event postings.

 

TD Park People Grants are generously supported by: 

 

 

TD_CSR_SHEILD Logo_EN_4C_72dpi (1)

 

 

 

The TD Park People Grant program is generously supported by TD Bank Group, through its corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment. Through this platform, TD is helping to open doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow so that people feel more confident – not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. As part of this, TD is committed to helping elevate the quality of the environment so that people and economies can thrive, by growing and enhancing green spaces and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy.

To learn more about the ready Commitment visit www.td.com/vibrantplanet.

 

The Power of Small: The TD Park Builders’ Community Gardens Tour

Conversations about parks often gravitate toward large-scale projects that transform big swaths of land. While big parks are indeed important, this summer I learned a valuable lesson about the power of small.

On a sweltering day, 30 recipients of the TD Park Builders grant program boarded a big yellow school bus with an ambitious goal of visiting five community gardens–from Scarborough to Rexdale.

Led by our Outreach Manager, Minaz, we visited The Access Alliance Rooftop Garden, Panorama Community Garden, Prairie Drive Community Garden, 1021 Birchmount Road TCHC Community Garden and Black Farmers and Growers Collective.

These visits  made it clear to me that community gardens deliver some of the highest returns per square foot than almost any park project you could name.

Here’s why:

1. Community Gardening Culture is a Learning Culture.

The TD Park Builders met for breakfast at Access Alliance, and, like many meetings, the day started with a round of introductions.

Without fail the grantees, each of whom run highly successful community gardens, said they were on the tour to learn from other members of the group and from the gardens on the tour.

One introduction involved a participant passing around a large basket of ripened tomatoes that would make any gardener gush with pride. Like the other grantees, this experienced gardener expressed her desire to learn more to make her garden better.

The open-minded and open-hearted curiosity I witnessed among the group reminded me why community gardens produce such a hearty bounty of social capital like building strong social ties and neighborhood cohesion. Community gardeners are linked by a limitless curiosity that far exceeds the square footage you’d find in even the biggest city park.

IMG_2959 (1)

2.  Community Gardening is an All-Ages Party:

One of the challenges Friends of Park groups face is serving many groups in a single space. The default is often to put up a play structure that serves children, but often not other age groups.

It’s hard to create parks that are meaningful for older people, and almost unheard of to create a space that is welcoming to both younger and older folks.

The TD Park Builders community garden tour demonstrated that community gardens are unique in their appeal to multiple demographics. We had in our midst a rare sight: teens talking to people their parents’ age, seniors mixing with kids their grandchildren’s age and every iteration in between.

IMG_2965

While people generally agree on the value of bridging the age gap, it is extremely difficult to create intergenerational programming that delivers on that promise. As demonstrated on the tour, community gardens bring people of different ages together around a common interest that supersedes age limits.

3. Cultural Differences Meet Common Cause:

Many people have talked about the vital role community gardens play in supporting people who have experienced the traumas of displacement, such as new immigrants and refugees. However, few people have pointed out community gardens’ role in promoting interculturality.

The tour included several grantees whose first language is Mandarin. At one point in the tour, one of the hosts forgot to pause to allow for translation.

IMG_2969 (4)

Without hesitation, the English speaking members of the group stopped the presenter and asked: “Do you mind slowing down so this can be translated?”

For me, this was a glorious and telling moment when it was clear that members of the group valued inclusion above all. It’s was a small gesture that spoke volumes about their sensitivity to cultural diversity and their deep commitment to making knowledge accessible.

Let’s not forget, in a community garden, Chinese long beans grow alongside Jamaican callaloo.

 

Special thanks goes out to our tour guides and participants for an outstanding day. An extra special thank you to Hanbo Jie for translating throughout the tour.

This initiative is part of Park People’s Sparking Change Program, which works to create green community hubs in underserved neighbourhoods. It is made possible with generous support from TD Bank Group, The John and Marion Taylor Family Fund, City of Toronto, Cultural Hotspot, Toronto StreetArt, Toronto Arts Foundation, Toronto Community Housing and Ontario Trillium Foundation.

 

Stay in the loop about Park People opportunities, programs & events

Subscribe to our newsletter!