Category Archives: Beautification

A New Mural for Roncesvalles Village

The Roncesvalles Village BIA has commissioned two artists renowned for their public art, Philip Cote and Jim Thierry Bravo, to design a mural for Roncesvalles Village. The project, funded by the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program and the Roncesvalles Village BIA, will add a contemporary piece to the murals on Roncesvalles Avenue for community members and visitors to enjoy.

The artists have begun to collaborate on the project and will produce a design that focuses on themes of Nature, Community and Stewardship in the area. To understand these themes, and how they are valued among Roncesvalles community members and visitors, the artists will gather thoughts and reflections through a SURVEY now available on the Roncesvalles website until May 21. They will present two to three design concepts to the Roncesvalles community on June 2 at the High Park Library and again at the Roncy Rocks Music and Arts Festival on June 9. After receiving final feedback about the design from the community, Cote and Bravo will begin producing the mural.

The work and thinking of Cote and Bravo reflect themes that RVBIA’s Street Advisory Committee believe are important to the Roncesvalles community. These themes include: Nature in the City, Urban Community, and the interconnected concepts of Legacy, Sustainability and Stewardship. According to RVBIA Chair, Len McAuley, it is important to reflect on the knowledge of Indigenous peoples when considering a theme such as legacy. “Many think “legacy” refers only to the man-made things that have survived from the past,” Chair McAuley explains. “But we should ask ourselves: what about the knowledge and wisdom that has been handed down from the Indigenous peoples as well as the settlers? What knowledge, values and resources can we pass on to support a sustainable future?”

Themes concerning sustainability and legacies can be challenging to depict in art. However, RVBIA board member, Adam Langley, believes that Cote and Bravo can achieve something compelling and thoughtful for the community. Langley explains that Cote’s “knowledge of Indigenous stewardship principles rooted in the Seven Fires Prophecy — which still has great significance to this time in our collective history” — will work well with Bravo’s “aptitude for capturing the spirit and dynamics of a community.”

As an Indigenous artist and graduate of OCAD University’s Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design, Cote uses his research and art to unearth and reveal his cultural experience and knowledge of signs of Indigenous symbols, language and interpretation. According to Cote, “The Seven Fires Prophecy of the Anishnaabe-Ojibwe people encourages the union of all peoples of the human race to ensure a kinship that will lead to peace and harmony.” Phil Cote lived on Roncesvalles Avenue for 3 years and remains involved in the community.

Jim Bravo majored in drawing and painting at OCAD University. Since completing his studies, Bravo has worked on over 30 public mural and many private large-scale commissions. Through local arts organizations, Bravo has also served as an arts mentor for several at-risk youth initiatives. Originally born in Ecuador, Bravo has lived in the Parkdale—High Park area for the last 30 years.

Philip Cote’s works and CV can be viewed online at: www.tecumsehcollective.wixsite.com/philipcote

Jim Thierry Bravo’s works and CV can be viewed online at:
www.JimBravopaintings.weebly.com

Community Survey

We invite community members to participate in the Roncesvalles Village mural project survey.

RoncyWorks Pilots New Public Ashcans

Get Your Butt In Here!

Get Your Butt In Here!

RoncyWorks, our tireless group of volunteers, maintains our street gardens through the RoncyWorks Green Team and helps to keep Roncesvalles Avenue beautiful.

One of the biggest challenges RoncyWorks has had to deal with is cigarette litter. Cigarette butts end up in our gardens, in our gutters, on our sidewalks and more. Around the world cigarette litter is proving to be one of the biggest litter problems that communities face.

RoncyWorks and the Roncesvalles Village BIA are piloting a public ashcan program. In many locations on Roncesvalles Avenue you can find these ashcans, provided at no cost by Keep America Beautiful. Please make good use of them, as well as the ashtrays that you will find on every public garbage can. Get your butts in there, and help to keep Roncesvalles Village beautiful.

The Roncesvalles Village BIA thanks the entire RoncyWorks team, with special thanks to project leader Veronica Feihl, Bronwen Evans from Keep America Beautiful, and Philip Homerski from Keep Hamilton Green and Green.

What will the City’s new Zoning Bylaw Project mean for Roncesvalles?

Zoning Bylaw ProjectSpacing has been covering the progress of the City’s new Zoning Bylaw Project, an effort to harmonize the City’s 43 existing zoning bylaws into one. The discussion is technical and complicated, but its results will affect all new development in the City once passed.

Today, Spacing examines the section of the draft bylaw covering Commercial/Residential, the section governing main streets outside the downtown core such as Roncesvalles.

The BIA urges the community to keep informed about the Zoning Bylaw Project. The City has set up a consultation portal, including an interactive map showing how each area is currently zoned.

Stay awesome, Roncesvalles!

More than a month after heavy machinery rolled onto Roncesvalles, our community seems to be taking the disruption in stride. While plenty of grumbles are heard in local coffee shops, the fact that these grumblings are actually taking place in the coffee shops suggests that the noise and rubble (and the occasional mental image of a giant fireball of death) are not scaring away customers. Indeed, the disruption has become an ideal way of starting a conversation, at least until December when the construction pauses, and we can begin grumbling about the cold Toronto winter instead.

Amidst the grumbles, some folks are actually having fun with the reconstruction. Like the people in Uxbridge, who decided to turn their reconstruction into a  local attraction, some Roncesvalles residents seem to be quite enjoying themselves. Parents can be seen snapping pictures of the massive pits, while their kids gawk at the mighty machines. And blogger Daddy-O snapped the work of some anonymous local artist or artists who turned the rubble pile into sculpture overnight.

Sukha Health SpaAnd some enterprising merchants see opportunity in the disruption, such as the clever folks at Sukha Health Spa (right) who are offering tired souls a chance to de-stress from all the mess. They understand that a positive attitude is good business.

And while our community is remarkably free of whining, a new “Shop Local” campaign shows what truly loyal and supportive customers we have.

Other business areas have launched Shop Local campaigns during reconstructions before, such as the taxpayer-funded campaigns along St. Clair (which have been somewhat undermined by a recent lawsuit whose success depends on convincing people that the reconstruction is a disaster).

But ours is the only Shop Local campaign we know of that was conceived, developed and implemented by the community itself.  Those new posters are the result of volunteer work by our own customers, who understand the neighbourhood’s need for a healthy and successful main street. Local designer Richard Peachey created the poster, and volunteers from Roncesvalles Renewed are distributing them to every business and to homes in the neighbourhood. This is truly amazing, and we are deeply grateful for such generosity.

The BIA would like to thank Mary Wiens, Martha Goodings, Veronica Feihl, Richard Peachey and all the hard-working volunteers at Roncesvalles Renewed. And thanks to all our great customers who have not let the disruption prevent them from enjoying the best street in Toronto! With your support our street will survive and thrive during this reconstruction, with our good humour and positive spirits intact.

Stay awesome, Roncesvalles!

Public Meeting: Roncesvalles Construction Design – June 27 – CANCELLED

Update: Gord Perks has confirmed that this meeting will be cancelled due to the strike. More info to come.

The latest preliminary streetscape concepts are available for viewing. The BIA urges all businesses and community members to examine the PDFs of the sidewalk plan (part one is the southern half, and part two is the north), and please let the BIA know how the plan can be made the best possible. Where are the opportunities for new trees, benches, lighting or bike parking? How can crosswalks be made the safest possible? How can the transit stops be made inviting and attractive? Where else can the plan be improved? You can email us at info@nullroncesvallesvillage.ca

More information on the Roncesvalles reconstruction project is available here and here.