It’s been a pleasure helping to organize and build at Dufferin Grove, or as most call it Duff Grove, for the past 8 years. It’s been really cool to watch the place grow in popularity and become a destination for people in and outside the city.
I think a large part of what makes Duff Grove so special is not just the ramps. Let’s face it, there is nothing really that innovative there. It’s a skatepark. But what makes it special are the intangibles. Or, for lack of a better term, the vibe. If you’ve hung out and skated here you know what I’m talking about. It is a truly inclusive space.
Recently, I was approached by local community members asking me to spread the word to the skateboard community about the crossroads that the park finds itself at. On one side, there is a push to revitalize the park, build new rinks and rebuild the clubhouse. Many parks around the city have undergone renovations in the past few years (Grange Park, Kensington are a few examples). However, some community members are uneasy about revitalizing the park. To many the park already shows signs of vitality. So, the question that is asked by some is: who are we revitalizing the park for?
As an alternative to the current administration of the park, community members are organizing to form a conservancy. If you are interested in getting involved in that goal please see this link. The goal of this conservancy is to form a partnership between citizens and the city to help maintain, preserve and administrate a park in a more collaborative and transparent way. If you would like more information on the reasons why — have a look at this link. The Bentway is a conservancy and so is Central Park in New York City. Conservancies are a proven administrative model.
So why am I writing all of this? Well, if you are a supporter of the conservancy model and believe citizen involvement in the administration of Dufferin Grove park is the right path forward, consider emailing the local city councillor Ana Bailao and stating your support. Contact details for Ana can be found here. Also keep in mind there is an election coming up. Thanks for your time.
by Thomas Berry