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February 19, 2013
City of Toronto's R.V. Burgess Park becomes first Canadian park recognized as a Frontline Park
  
Toronto's R.V. Burgess Park has been named a Frontline Park by City Parks Alliance, an urban park advocacy organization based in the United States.

This is the first park outside of the United States to be recognized by the City Parks Alliance. The partnership was nominated for the designation by a member organization, Toronto Park People.

In 2008, the City of Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation division partnered with the Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee to bring playground equipment back into the park, and since then has transformed the location into a social and cultural meeting place. The park has undergone several major enhancements, including a community garden, new landscape features, creation of additional pathways, a splash pad renovation and space for community-run programming such as weekly bazaars and arts and cultural events.

"The improvements to R.V. Burgess Park are a great example of how we can improve our parks when we partner with other organizations," said Mayor Rob Ford. "Working together to build world-class park space is what makes Toronto a great place to live, work and do business."

"Investments into the annual improvements at R.V. Burgess Park have created an urban park and brought the community together in a social and recreational space," said Councillor Norm Kelly (Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt), Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee.

"We are proud of the relationship we formed with members of the Thorncliffe Park community," said Councillor John Parker (Ward 26 Don Valley West). "This partnership is an example for other community groups wanting to fundraise and revitalize their parks."

R.V. Burgess Park is a small green space located in the middle of a dense high-rise tower development. Built in the 1970s, the community and its amenities were meant to serve a maximum population of 12,000 people. The community now has more than 30,000 people and is home to many children and youth.

The Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee and other community members have been taking an active interest in their parks by starting park improvement groups. A large part of that work involves fundraising for new playgrounds, landscaping and upkeep, for example.

"This is wonderful recognition of the great work by the Women's Committee and our volunteers," said Sabina Ali, Project Coordinator for the Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee. "By working together in our local park, we have been able to make a very positive change in our community. It's very empowering."

“We would like to congratulate both the Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee and the City Parks Alliance staff for this recognition,” said Park People Director Dave Harvey. “R.V. Burgess Park is a great model for how communities and the City can work together to make our parks great, dynamic, public spaces, and serve specific needs, like those of the immigrant community.”

The park is featured on the City Parks Alliance website at http://www.cityparksalliance.org/.

In January, Parks, Forestry and Recreation announced the forthcoming launch of the Step-by-Step Fundraising Guide: How to work with Parks, Forestry and Recreation to enhance your park or recreation facility. The guide will help channel the energy of residents, local businesses and the corporate sector into great end results for the community. Currently in production, the guide will be available in print and online this spring.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Media Contact
Parks, Forestry and Recreation media line
416-560-8726

 

 

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