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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (Nov. 2022)

November 22nd, 2022 · No Comments

RE: Grading our Greenspace (Aug. 2022)

Grading Our Greenspace (by Fox Oliver, Annex Gleaner, August 2022) is most interesting but rather cruel to The Doctors’ Parkette which rates it as Grade C and describes it as “easily missed” and  “doesn’t particularly stand out or offer any unique amenities,” with no mention of the Major Street Parkette, or its kidnapped erratic.

The Doctors’ Parkette, located at College and Brunswick, welcomes passersby as a place just to sit and relax.
COURTESY RICHARD LONGLEY

The Doctor’s Parkette (named for its association with St John’s Hospital for Women, The Doctors’ Hospital, Kensington Health and the many doctors of all disciplines who live or have lived in its neighbourhood) is the product of a 13-year Harbord Village campaign (backed by generations of councillors) to rehabilitate the squalid scrap of its predecessor at Brunswick and College, the messy little parkette that remained after the demolition of McBean’s Hall and the building of Kensington Health Centre.

An international design competition produced eight entries from 27 countries. 

The choices of a team of landscape architects were matched with those of Harbord villagers and incorporated into the plan of the parkette that stands today. 

Its location is tricky: the land is owned partly by Kensington Health and  partly by the city, with hydro vaults beneath. Sorting that out required much engineering and legal ingenuity. Considering its location (and the presence of Margaret Fairley Parkette at Brunswick and Ulster that is regularly packed with kids), The Doctor’s Parkette was never intended to be a children’s playground. 

But it does serve its visitors well—passers by, readers, writers, sleepers, staff and residents of Kensington Gardens, and the homeless. 

Litter can be a problem, but all in all, The Doctors’ Parkette is a striking example of what a tiny urban parkette can be and can do. 

Major Street (at Bloor, not mentioned in Grading Our Greenspace) is a beneficiary of the parkette building campaign mounted by the Annex BIA that has improved the neighbourhood enormously. 

It is also the site of a geological kidnapping of the Major Street erratic that was found during excavation for the parkette. 

Pleas to incorporate a multibillion-year-old rock that had lain there since the end of the ice age produced – long before construction had begun – insistence that the parkette’s design was so advanced, no place could be made in it for the ancient boulder. It had to go; a home would be found for it at the far end of the Howland parkette. 

There it now sits, forlorn, unmarked, undistinguished while, on Major Street, an alien rock of near-identical shape and size lies in what had been the erratic’s bed for 13,000 years. 

If we’d known at the time that the parkette’s design would include a rock similar in size to the erratic, that the most ancient piece of history in Harbord Village would be exiled – at needless expense – to obscurity, that its place would be taken by a usurper, our requests would have been louder: that the erratic remain on Major Street as the marvellous thing it is. 

Too late to reverse that switch? No. Bring the erratic home. 

Transfer the rock that is its unwitting imposter to its place of exile on Howland.

—Richard Longley
Brunswick Avenue

Re: A small business tax in name only (Oct. 2022)

I enjoyed reading this month’s paper, with its discussion of election issues and parks, but particularly appreciated your editorial. 

Spelling out the small business taxes and how they work in local terms gave me a clearer understanding of the issues than I have derived from the generalizations I usually read about.

Thank you.
—Brydon Gombay

Tags: Annex · Opinion

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