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The Revitalization of Regent Park (Is anyone pulling out the weeds?)

I live in Regent Park.

The transformation of this once forsaken Toronto neighbourhood has been nothing short of remarkable. The Revitalization of Regent Park has even come to the attention of some folks in New York.

The New York Times published an article on February 29, 2016 called “In Toronto, a Neighbourhood in Despair Transforms into a Model of Inclusion“. But I do have to ask, who is in charge? Is City Hall in charge of this project? Daniels? Toronto Community Housing Corporation? Pam McConnell? Is anyone pulling out the weeds?

This morning as I set out to run errands, I noticed that the large planters in front of the Toronto Birth Centre were looking rather bleak. A shrub was dead. Some grasses looked like they were on their last legs. In general, it was a pitiful display of gardening. It says that no one gives a shit about this planter box. And maybe it’s saying, no one gives a shit about Regent Park.

Regent Park Revitalization

In Toronto where you can find garden tours galore every Spring, I have to wonder who’s responsible for the upkeep of this community garden in Regent Park? Are the midwives, who assist new lives joining this world, up to the task?

Regent Park Revitalization

Or are these planter boxes on City of Toronto property? If they are then we are in trouble? While Toronto is blessed with many parks and green spaces like the Corktown Common, keeping our parks green and healthy and vibrant is not something the gardening staff for the City of Toronto do well. I think they need more staff!!

The City of Toronto gets an “F”!

So if Regent Park is to thrive and become a model of how you combine private housing and social housing and make it work, this eye sore is NOT the way to do it. It’s a leading barometer showing the world if the neighbourhood is on the upswing or in decline. Who is responsible for this mess? I don’t know. It’s my responsibility to report on it. So I will  tell those people I know at City Hall and see if there is a solution. And it IS your responsibility to do the same.

The Paintbox Bistro gets an “A+”!

Less than 10o metres away from this abandoned planter box, the Paintbox Bistro continues to operate and succeed and provide Regent Park with some beauty! The planter boxes that surround the patio of the Paintbox Bistro are filled with herbs – rosemary, thyme, sage,plus some beets, kale, edible flowers like pansies and tomatoes. The plants are green and vibrant and alive! They are well taken care of. BRAVO! Kudos to the Paintbox Bistro for helping the revitalization of Regent Park continue forward!

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Sadly, the Paintbox Condominiums did not get the memo that they need to maintain the area surrounding the building, so that it’s clean and beautiful and that grass is supposed to remain green. When it turns into the colour of porridge, would someone water the fucking grass – please and thank you. When I moved into this building in May 2015, there were signs on this patch of lawn stating that we should not allow our dogs to pee on the grass. At the time, I had a dog, Winston.

Regent Park Revitalization

Winston the Westie!

Winston was a terrier. As with most dogs, the first thing they want to do when they get outside is have a pee on the nearest piece of grass they can find. The grass was pretty much non-existent.

In late November of 2015, this whole strip of lawn was re-sodded. BRAND NEW GRASS! But, it’s November. Not much sun. Rain possibly, snow more likely. The sod did NOT stand a chance of taking root and turning green. NOT A CHANCE!  In the spring, I did not see anyone water the grass. This is what it looks like today.

Regent Park Revitalization

What a mess!! Another bad message about Regent Park and where its headed.

The solution – lay down some AstroTurf!

  1. Its green all year long.
  2. Never needs to be watered.
  3. Its porous so dog pee will penetrate to the ground below.
  4. Easy maintenance: use a broom!

So to the Board of Directors for this amazing Regent Park condo, this strip of land is vital to the overall success of Regent Park. Stop wasting money on grass. Plant some no maintenance ground covers or even clover OR let’s do the AstroTurf and let’s keep the Revitalization of Regent Park going in the right direction.


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