Parks, parks, parks

Today is good news for fans of parks in Canada. More specifically this good news is brought to you by two amazing people I personally know.

parkrun Canada

While living in Basingstoke, England, my brother, Aneez would rave about this community initiative that was all the rage called parkrun. He described it as a weekly 5km fun run that takes place in local parks. It’s not a race but more of a community gathering centered around running.

After weeks (probably months) of work Aneez announced that parkrun was now coming to Whitby (where Aneez now lives).

parkrun whitby

Park People

Today the little independent Toronto-based charity that my wife, Minaz, works for officially goes national. In Calgary, Park People is currently hosting the Heart Of The City Conference (Shaping The Future Of City Parks In Canada). I describe Park People as an organization that works with local neighbourhoods and helps the people there to animate and use their parks in an inclusive way.

Why are these two events important? Well, to me it’s obvious. Parks are public spaces. Like libraries and community centres. They are places for friends and family to gather and enjoy. For parents and kids to enjoy a summer afternoon in. For kids to hangout and play tag in. For picnics and parties. For independent arts and bazaar sales. For Scout meetings and community-built outdoor ice rinks. For running and parkour. Parks are the places where we can find the heartbeat of a community and neighbourhood. They are worth building, cleaning, animating, using and growing. Neighbourhoods without parks are not neighbourhoods.

Congrats to Minaz, Aneez, parkrun Canada and Park People!

Lee Lifeson Art Park

Lee Lifeson Art Park | Toronto | Karim Kanji

On Saturday September 17, 2016, Toronto officially opened up one of its newest parks: Lee Lifeson Art Park. Named after the founding members of the iconic Canadian progressive rock band, Rush, the park is a celebration of the musical contributions of Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.

It is now part of music folklore that Lee and Lifeson met in the Willowdale neighbourhood of the former city of North York.

On Saturday, all three members (Neil Peart was absent) received the key to the city by Toronto Mayor John Tory.

The Spirit Of Our Park: Alexmuir Park

Toronto Island’s Shadowland Theatre spent the past week in north Scarborough as part of Arts In The Park. From Saturday until the following Friday they held workshops with musicians, makers, performers and Aboriginal teachers. The result was a theatrical parade that told the story of Alexmuir Park.

Historical Scarborough: Thomson Park

thomson park | scarborough

Yes. Scarborough is historical. The Thomson Settlement (a precursor of Thomson Park) was the first permanent settlement in Scarborough (then a township). Brothers David and Andrew came here in 1796 via Scotland.

thomson park | scarborough

The first library in Scarborough was first organized on April 7th, 1834. It had 46 original members who paid a five shilling membership fee.

Scarborough Library | Thomson Park

Scarborough Library | Thomson Park

The Thomson memorial in the nearby cemetery which happens to be close to the Scarborough Library:

Thomson Family memorial


Winter Stations

toronto beach | winter 2016

Winter Stations returned to Toronto after the success of the 2015 edition. Maybe it was the uniqueness of Winter Stations last winter but this year’s edition was less than awe inspiring when compared to 2015.

winter stations 2016

Click the image above for some more photos of the 2016 edition of Winter Stations.

Vita Parcours

cedar brook park

Vita Parcours started in Switzerland in the late 1960s. These usually consist of exercise stations along a path or trail.

The first parcourse came into existence when a men’s gymnastics team in the commune of Wollishofen decided a great way to train and get some fresh air at the same time was by heading to a nearby wood and running and jumping over natural obstacles such as tree stumps.

In Toronto, one can be found in the Scarborough park, Cedar Brook Park.

Cedar Brook Park

The idea was well received, and a sponsor was found: the insurance company VITA (now Zurich Financial Services Group) which gave the unique trails their name, Vita Parcours, which they are still known by in Switzerland.

“The insurance company VITA showed an interest from the very beginning to develop a series of trails of this kind and not only for the gym club of Wollishofen,” Josef Bächler, head of the Vita Parcours foundation, told

vita parcours

vita parcours


The Vita Parcours in Cedar Brook is in disrepair and really needs some work. However, next time you’re visiting the city’s east end, drop by and run the course. This just might be the type of exercise you need to reach your 2016 health goals.

Elevated Wetlands

elevated wetlands

Along the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto you might see “giant teeth” just north of Don Mills on the west side of the highway. These are known as Elevated Wetlands.

“The Elevated Wetlands are functional sculptures, symbols of the integration of the plastics industry, art and environmental stewardship. The sculptures draw attention to the importance of wetlands as an ecosystem.”

I recently took a walk through the area one weekend.

elevated wetlands

elevated wetlands

elevated wetlands

elevated wetlands

elevated wetlands

elevated wetlands

Scarborough Bluffs Erosion

Doris McCarthy Trail | Scarborough

I walked down the Doris McCarthy Trail this afternoon with some friends. When we reached Lake Ontario we headed west along the shore. We came upon the results of one of our more recent rain storms. As many of you know the Bluffs have always been eroding. However, I have never seen a part of the cliffs that have recently broken off. Until today.

Scarborough Bluffs

While it looks like hard rock it is in fact a clay like substance that is densely packed.



Sylvan Park in Scarborough

Sylvan Park | Scarborough

Sylvan Park is not one of the largest parks in Toronto. But the view of Lake Ontario and the Scarborough Bluffs is outstanding. It’s also a great place to go with your dog for a walk. Here are some photos of my recent visit.

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