GPAC Meeting Minutes from March 27, 2015
Grange Park Advisory Committee Meeting
Friday, March 27, 2015, 2-4pm
Art Gallery of Ontario
Councillor Joe Cressy (Co-Chair), Ward 20
Ralph Daley, (Co-Chair) Grange Community Association
Rupert Duchesne, (Co-Chair) AGO
Max Allen, Grange Community Association
Robin Buxton-Potts, Ward 20 Office
Bev Carret, AGO
Lisa Clements, AGO
Christine Crosbie, OCAD U
Ena D’Altroy, University Settlement
Brian Green, Toronto PFR
Patricia Jacobs, University Settlement
Sandy Ladouceur, AGO
Mike Mahoney, AGO
Pesha McKendry, Representative of social housing residents
Pearl Quong, GCA
Cole Sadler, St. George the Martyr Church
Nick Schefter, GCA
Alex Shevchuk, Toronto PFR
Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO
Peter White, Toronto PFR
Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, GCA
Mazyar Mortazavi, TAS Design Build (member-at-large)
Margie Zeidler, UrbanSpace (member-at-large)
Lisa Fitzgibbons, University Settlement
Michael McClelland, ERA Architects
Marcia McClung, neighbour
Charles Pachter, neighbour
Rupert welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order. Ward 20 Councillor Joe Cressy was welcomed as a new GPAC co-chair. Thanks were given to Ceta for serving as GPAC co-chair during her term as Ward 20 Councillor. It was confirmed that GPAC will continue with three co-chairs: AGO Vice President Rupert Duchesne, Councillor Cressy and Ralph Daley, Chair of the Grange Community Association.
Approval of the Minutes of September 10
Minutes were approved without amendment.
Business Arising from the Minutes
- Reflexology Path: Mike reported that the cost estimate for the path would be $40-60K. The current design does not accommodate a labyrinth/reflexology path. The design has been updated to respond more fully to the design brief.
- Capital Funding agreement with the City of Toronto: Mike confirmed that the capital funding agreement between the City and the AGO was amended to acknowledge the involvement of the Grange Park neighbourhood in the future management of Grange Park. The communications protocol of the agreement was also amended to acknowledge the involvement of the Grange Park neighbourhood in the communication activities around the Grange Park revitalization project. Copies of the amendment were made available to GPAC members.
Design Development Update
Matthew advised the meeting that more work had been done since September to enhance the design, reflecting feedback received from the community, donor and architects. These modifications articulate more fully the vision of the design brief, creating stronger connections with the park’s history and neighbourhood.
Mike showed the new design enhancements:
- The ready-made play equipment has been replaced with customized play forms that evoke artistic creativity, such as palettes, paint cans and crumpled pieces of paper, inspired by re-imagining Arthur Lismer’s studio. The equipment combines form with function, providing swings, slides and climbing activities. The play equipment will meet accessibility requirements and will be accommodated within the existing budget.
- Seating design has been altered to create a more intimate and versatile approach. There will be a variety of wooden benches, some with arms and backs for accessibility, combined with loose single seating, similar to Bryant Park.
- Mobile app technology will be used to highlight selected “landmarks” in the park, to provide more in-depth information about the history of the park and the neighbourhood. Some concern was voiced at the meeting that this element may be exclusionary, since some visitors do not have mobile devices. It was noted that a variety of applications, low tech to high tech, could be used to provide information about the history of the park and the neighbourhood. The challenge will be to find a right balance that is easily maintained and respects the park’s greenspace.
- Engraving selected literary quotations that celebrate the contribution of newcomers to our community into granite paving stones in the John Street promenade.
Matthew proposed the placement of Henry Moore’s Large Two Forms in Grange Park, slightly north of the intersection of the John Street corridor with the east-west path at the south end of the park. Charles Pachter first introduced this concept in 2009, using a photoshopped image of the work in the park. Charles noted that the park is a much better setting for the work, which is now hemmed in by buildings in its current location at McCaul and Dundas. Many of Moore’s works are known for their placement in greenspace. In this proposed location in Grange Park, the sculpture would be a landmark anchoring the northern terminus of the John Street corridor.
It was noted that the placement of the sculpture in this location might be viewed by the City’s Heritage Department as an impediment to the heritage vista of The Grange from John Street. Joe acknowledged it would be a great opportunity to have this significant work in the park; it will require more discussion with the City’s Heritage Department and the community.
Status of City Approvals
Mike advised the meeting that the project underwent a series of required reviews/approvals from multiple departments at City Hall over the fall and winter. Permit applications are now being submitted for some work. One of the more challenging elements of the approval process has been with the City’s Heritage Department. Michael McClelland confirmed that the Heritage Department reviewed and approved the park design with recommendations; the Toronto Heritage Board approved the Heritage report on March 24. Currently under review is the heritage redesignation of The Grange and Grange Park. Joe has organized a meeting on April 8 between the City’s Heritage Dept and members of GPAC in order to come to agreement on the recommendations before it goes to Preservation Board on April 24.
Mike confirmed that the overall duration of the project will remain the same, but the start time has shifted due to the time it is taking to get City approvals. Contract documents are now targeted for mid-August, with contracts being awarded in late August and September. Work is anticipated to begin in October, with a break during the winter months, then starting up again in May 2016 through to December 2016. The last details of the work will take place in spring 2017. Every effort will be made to keep a portion of the park open during the entire construction period. An official opening event is planned for July 1, 2017.
Dog Off-Leash Area (DOLA)
Joe recapped the DOLA situation: a DOLA in the south-west corner of Grange Park was requested by the Grange Park Dog Owners Association in July 2014; this request was strongly endorsed by GPAC. City Parks denied this request as it did not comply with its DOLA policy . It will require a member’s motion by Councillor Cressy to City Council for the proposed DOLA to move forward. Half of the next community meeting will be dedicated to a discussion about the DOLA, led by Joe.
The date for the next community meeting will be confirmed shortly. This will be a two-part meeting – first half will be to share the design developments and new project timeline; second half will be led by Joe to discuss the DOLA.
- Annual Grange Park Cleanup
The Annual Grange Park Cleanup will be held on Friday April 17, as part of the City’s “Clean Toronto Together” initiative.
Next GPAC meeting
As soon as the community meeting is set, a GPAC meeting will be scheduled to review the planned presentation.