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October 22, 2008
Dr. Rita Cox honoured today with park dedication
  
The City of Toronto today dedicated a new park in honour of Dr. Rita Cox, community activist, librarian and renowned storyteller. Councillor Gord Perks, Ward 14 Parkdale-High Park, and City of Toronto staff joined Dr. Cox to officially open the Rita Cox Park, which features two play structures and a splash pad and is complemented by lighting, landscaping and pathways.

“Rita Cox is an exceptional individual who, through her love of the spoken and written word, has inspired people of all ages and has opened the literary world to her audiences,” said Councillor Gord Perks. “Her work touches the lives of residents in the Parkdale community, especially children and newcomers to the city. In naming a park in her honour, the City of Toronto celebrates Dr. Cox’s achievements and continuing contributions to the community.”

Born in Trinidad, Dr. Cox joined the Toronto Public Library as a children’s librarian in 1960. In 1972, she became the head of the Parkdale Branch, and launched literacy programs and other initiatives that promoted multiculturalism throughout Toronto. During her tenure, in 1973, Dr. Cox pioneered the library’s Black Heritage and West Indian Resource Collection, which was renamed in 1998 to the Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection. It soon became one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind in Canada. Today, it continues to be a source of pride in the community.

An active member of the Black community, Dr. Cox established Cumbayah, a festival of Black heritage and storytelling. A number of her stories have been published, including her own children's book entitled “How Trouble Made the Monkey Eat Pepper.” A renowned storyteller who has entertained audiences worldwide, she has also maintained the Toronto Public Library’s storytelling legacy by training a whole new generation of storytellers, many of whom are current library staff.

After her retirement from the Toronto Public Library in 1995, Dr. Cox was appointed a Citizenship Court Judge by the Government of Canada.

Dr. Rita Cox has won numerous awards, including the 1986 Canadian Library Association Public Service Award and the Black Achievement Award. In 1997, Dr. Cox was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for her outstanding work in storytelling and literacy. Both Wilfrid Laurier University and York University have awarded her honorary doctorates.

Rita Cox Park is located at 14 Machells Ave. and is one of the City’s 1,473 named parks operated by Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Parks, Forestry and Recreation Media Hotline, 416-560-8726, pfrmediahotline@toronto.ca


 

 

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