As part of the 2014 Jane’s Walk festival, a group of Kingston Galloway Orton Park [KGO] residents collaboratively led ‘Walk Into the Future‘, a community walk that highlighted neighbourhood assets and shared ideas on how to maximize them for innovative purposes.
The community welcomed close to 40 participants to join the walk. KGO resident Dianne Sahadeo introduced the first ‘big idea’ for the neighbourhood: redesigning the entrance to Morningside Park to make it safer, more inviting and accessible with a terraced entry, a slower path, seating and lighting.
At the East Scarborough Storefront, Nessa Babli provided a snapshot of the amazing work of this community hub, acting as a bridge into the neighbourhood and facilitating partnerships, like the one between the Center for City Ecology and KGO residents.
Carol Rouillard highlighted another ‘big idea’: a Festival Road as a place to host neighbourhood celebrations. The group proposed transforming Galloway Road north of Lawrence into a community festival site by installing new street lights with power and water hook ups and making the space feel more welcoming by removing fences and creating a colourful crosswalk gateway feature.
June Mbugua, one of the teenagers involved in TENT, spoke beautifully about how learning to create a 3D model of the neighbourhood helped residents to gain new skills and an understanding of their role in planning for their community’s future.
Paul Rouillard shared an innovative ‘local idea’ for a Festival-in-a-Box: a shipping container full of iconic furniture and festival items [a/v systems, tables, kiosks etc.] that could rolled around KGO for community use.
At the Plaza parking lot at Kingston Road, Wendy Fanfair discussed the possibility of creating a Shipping Container Market to incubate new business by providing small affordable shop space.
As the large group walked back towards the Point, Hyacinth Ablack shared a small observation she had made: why were the sidewalks were so big and empty? Lawrence Avenue East has 20’ wide sidewalks, with 6 lanes of traffic and 2 lanes of sidewalk, creating a space that is hot in the summer, windy in the fall and cold in the winter. To make the sidewalks more pleasant for pedestrians, Hyacinth shared the idea to introduce improved lighting and install benches. Local MP Mitzie Hunter is excited about these potential sidewalk improvements and eager to assist with maintenance if this project becomes a reality.
In front of a new development site at Galloway and Lawrence, Councillor Paul Ainslie discussed the City’s Community Planning Board pilot project in his ward. A Community Planning Board is an advisory board that would provide residents with an outlet for meaningful input into the future development and design of their community.
To wrap up the walk, the group returned to the Point, where students from OCADu presented their initial research as part of their ongoing work to design and build one of the exciting proposed projects in the neighbourhood this summer.