After viewing many responses to its Request for Proposal, the BIA has chosen Walter Ruston to paint a mural at the Grafton Parkette. Walter will paint a scene depicting the history of the Sunnyside Amusement Park, which entertained Torontonians from the early 1920s until it was demolished in the 1950s to make way for the Gardiner Expressway. The selection was based on a unanimous recommendation from the BIA’s Beautification Committee and a number of local residents.
A few years ago, Walter was hired by the BIA to paint the mural at Garden Avenue, which depicted an idyllic Grenadier Pond, set in the earliest days of High Park. In response, Stan Salapatek of Solarski’s Pharmacy (on which the mural was painted) applied for a Commercial Façade Improvement Grant, a special program available to BIA members. Seeing the improvements, local gardeners approached Stan about creating a community garden. Today, the Garden Avenue intersection truly lives up to its name, and it is an example of how simple BIA initiatives can turn into beautiful legacies.
Similar changes are underway for the Grafton Parkette. Recently, a community garden has literally sprouted up, and is bringing neighbours together most Wednesday evenings. The City has also budgeted capital funds for a new children’s playground, to be built at the parkette, likely in 2012. What was once an abandoned empty lot has become an important gathering place for the community.