The Harbord Village Green Plan maps out ways to transform neglected public spaces such as street corners and laneways into much-needed green spots. It came from a long process of planning and preliminary work. Articles in the Fall 2015 HVRA newsletter reported on these preliminaries. Thanks are due especially to Sue Dexter, co-author of the report with Kahlin Holmes from the Councillor’s office. Other early supporters include Jane Perdue, Gail Misra, Carolee Orme, Barbara Donaldson and Rochelle Rubenstein.
Toronto East York Community Council endorsed our Green Plan in Spring 2016 as an official planning document, and the Transportation Department has started to work with HVRA and groups of residents on implementing its ideas. Three of the first projects are described below. (See also the Harbord Village Gardeners’ page for more detail and relevant advice.)
Croft Street Greening
Croft Street is a broad laneway running from College northwards. It’s noted for the scattering of residences opening onto it (along with garages and back fences), and was targeted early on for collaborative greening. A core group of residents met during the 2015-16 winter to consider other examples of laneway greening, solicit support from organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation, and envision green possibilities. By spring 2016 they had brought about scenes like these (with thanks to Jode Roberts and the Croft Greening Instagram page).
Alan Powell Laneway
Other laneways have also caught the greening bug. These photos show that a few inches of soil accumulated alongside an asphalt laneway can become an attractive urban garden. Neighbours pitched in to beg and buy materials and do the work.
Concrete Street Planters
For many years, Harbord Village residents living near the 17 concrete-box planters installed by the City at internal intersections have tended them like miniature gardens. Their volunteer efforts lengthened the odds that their trees would survive and created small patches of green and colour on street corners. Plans are now in place to replace these planters with in-street planting areas, based on the knowledge that local residents will be able and willing to care for them. The first new in-street areas will be constructed in 2018. For more details, see the Harbord Village Gardeners’ webpage.