Author Archives: Veronica Feihl, Executive Director, RVBIA

Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden Celebrates International Downtown Award

On Friday, May 17th, the Roncesvalles Village BIA and the Friends of Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden celebrated an Award of Excellence for Public Space Improvements received from the International Downtown Association (IDA) for the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace  Garden (DRPG) . This Award is particularly significant because the IDA values collaboration. In its realization, this project galvanized the support of many community groups, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation,  artists from both communities, and the City of Toronto. The project features heritage recognition, green street gardening,, community welcoming, pollinator habitat development, and acts as a living dedication of renewed relations between our community and Toronto’s indigenous people.

The IDA is a world leader in taking up the challenge of revitalizing downtowns around the world, from the USA, Canada, Europe and further around the globe, by encouraging best practices, and broad-based learning. It recognizes that innovative and effective renewals absolutely need cooperation between multiple interests, to promote good works. This was the only project given an Award of Excellence for improvements to public space, from the IDA in Canada for 2018. A copy of the plaque for the IDA Award was conferred upon the City.

PLANT Architect, and, the group of officials who helped bring the project to life attended, and were thanked for working so well with our community.

Part of the outdoor ceremony involved sharing with a representative of the Mississaugas of the Credit, with whom we exchanged sacred tobacco seeds, and planted sage — this year’s featured indigenous plant at the Peace Garden.

In our neighbourhood, the search to better understand our living history of Indigenous habitation, loss, and dispossession, starts with the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden. This Peace Garden is dedicated to seeking better relationships between our peoples, and with the land, which desperately need healing.  Our intentions are embedded in this little plot of living green, restful, revitalized public space.

A class of grade 7 students who participated in our annual Tulips for Peace program, attended to see the beauty of the tulips they planted last fall.

Roncy Reduces

Roncy Reduces is a community waste reduction initiative in the Roncesvalles area that was launched by 20 local parents at the beginning of this year. Their goal is to reduce single-use plastics and packaging in our neighbourhood by encouraging both consumers and businesses to practice waste reduction together.

They have invited neighbourhood businesses to participate by displaying their Roncy Reduces/BYO sticker at the door and in this way identify their business as accepting customers’ reusable containers, cups and bags etc. whenever possible.

Apart from grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops and takeout places, they also ask shops that sell ‘zero waste tools’ to participate (produce bags, reusable cups etc.)

The group has been visiting Roncesvalles businesses for a couple of months and have already placed over 40 stickers and counting.

In return for joining up, they promote participating businesses on their Roncy Reduces social media platforms and at their two World Environment Day events that will run at the Revue Cinema on June 5th. “At these events we hope to bring Roncesvalles residents and visitors together to learn about the issues of waste and single-use plastics and offer ideas on how to reduce our impact on the environment, says Tina Soldovieri, creator of the group. “And they will be a venue for us to promote the local businesses that are helping our neighbourhood reduce waste.”

The event will include a film screening of The Clean Bin Project, a guest speaker (Charlotte Ueta from the Toronto Long Term Waste Management Strategy and Circular Economy Lab), Q&A, information from Roncy Reduces and a slide show promoting local businesses who are part of the Roncy Reduces effort. Trailer and website.

A second event will be geared towards school children. Neighbourhood schools will be invited to participate in a poster contest and learn about waste reduction at our Revue Cinema school event.

Sponsored by Meridian, Roncesvalles Village BIA, Shop1km, Etee

Tickets (10$) at Eventbrite:

You can email Roncy Reduces at roncy.reduces@nullgmail.com or find us on Facebook and Instagram pages @roncyreduces.

Roncesvalles resident trying to make “a good deal for nature” by cutting plastic waste, appeared on CBC on March 21st.

South End Reconstruction on Roncesvalles: POSTPONED

UPDATE FEBRUARY 21ST, 2019:

Please take note that the South End Construction and the work to adjust the TTC ramps that was scheduled to start March 31st, has been postponed until 2020.

The email from Councillor Gord Perks below provides the details on this decision.
**

Hello,

I just received the latest update on King- Queensway-Queen-Roncesvalles Project from Chief Engineer, Michael D’Andrea. Please find his email below:

As you know, in early February, the City issued the tender for the planned project at the intersection at King / The Queensway / Queen / Roncesvalles. This project included: sewer and watermain replacement, replacing the entire TTC overhead and track infrastructure within the intersection and west along The Queensway, Streetscaping, road and intersection works along the Queensway, rehabilitating the bridge over Parkside Drive, removing the right-turn channel at Queensway and King Street and overall intersection / road improvements within the area. Based on feedback received to date from contractors considering the tender, there are areas of construction and design that require additional review and clarity to ensure the construction delivery schedule and budget can be upheld and delivered according to plan.

As a result, the City of Toronto is rescheduling the delivery of this project to 2020.

Efforts are underway between several City Divisions and TTC to firm up the design, schedule, and tender and reporting to the Infrastructure & Environment Committee. We expect to provide additional information to all stakeholders involved (Parkdale BIA / Roncesvalles BIA / St. Joseph’s Health Centre) in April – with more details to follow for the residents in the area at a later date.

We understand that the wait and anticipation for this construction has been a long time coming; however, the City and TTC wanted to ensure that the planned construction will be delivered according to the plan, schedule and budget that works to mitigate traffic and TTC service impacts as much as possible. We look forward to meeting with you and stakeholders soon, to further discuss these measures.

I will continue to provide you with information and updates as they are received.

Thank you for your patience while city staff do the necessary background work to ensure the intersection work is done on time and within budget.

Regards,

Councillor Gord Perks

The Roncesvalles BIA will continue to update BIA Members and the community as we get the information

ORIGINAL POST FEBRUARY 13, 2019:
The TTC will be reconstructing the intersection at King / Queen / Roncesvalles / Queensway (KQRQ) this year. The construction will take place in three phases as outlined below. This is a joint project by the TTC, Toronto’s Transportation Services and Water Division.

Map showing location of construction planned for 2019 on and near the intersection or Roncesvalles Ave., Queen Street West, King Street West and The Queensway.

Overall Scope of work – Starting in April 2019

  • As part of the state of good repair work, the aging sewer and track around the intersection needs to be replaced
  • Relocating the eastbound centre platform streetcar stop to the far side of the intersection
  • Realigning the King Street West leg to create a better intersection angle and increase green space
  • Modifying / constructing street car platforms at Glendale Avenue
  • Continue the bump-out treatment on Roncesvalles at this intersection

As part of the Sunnyside Community Association area traffic study that was completed in 2008, the city will also be:

  • Modifying the signal at Glendale Avenue and Queensway
  • Adding dedicated eastbound – left – turn lanes at Sunnyside Avenue, Glendale Avenue, and The Queensway
  • Signalizing intersection at Sunnyside and The Queensway
  • Modifying the streetcar track vertical alignment (slope at Claude Avenue that will visually and physically enhance the existing right-in / right-out at Claude Avenue)

At the same time that the road is closed, the TTC will be modifying Roncesvalles Ave with small adjustments to the Bump Outs and Streetcar Platforms from Marion St. to Boustead Ave. so they are in compliance with AODA legislation and support smooth operation of the ramps on streetcars. March 31st to August 4, 2019.

Time Line

This work will take place in three main stages.

  • Stage 1: Roncesvalles (from Harvard to The Queensway / Queen Street West)
    • March 31st, 2019 to August 4, 2019
  • Stage 2: Queen Street West and The Queensway (Sunnyside to Triller)
    • August 4, 2019 to Winter 2020
  • Stage 3: The Queensway (Parkside to Sunnyside)
    • April 2019 to October 2019

Road Closures

  • Roncesvalles will be closed to Thru-Traffic (not local traffic) March 31 to August 4 2019
    • Grafton Ave Closed (Traffic must circulate using Laneway to Harvard Avenue
    • Access to Queen Street Laneway Closed
    • 1 Lane to remain open on Harvard Avenue at all times
    • Bump-out retrofit to coincided during this time
  • South Side of the Queensway (Parkside Bridge to Sunnyside) April 10 to August 4 2019
    • Access to Toronto Pump Station required at all times
    • Southside Parkside Bridge to coincide during this stage
    • Cross Over required at Colborne Lodge
  • Full King – Queen – The Queensway – Roncesvalles intersection closure August 4 to October 7 2019
    • Queensway to be local access only to Glendale
    • Intersection opens October 8 (All legs of the intersection open, reduced lanes East and West)

This project has been anticipated since the reconstruction of the top end of Roncesvalles that was completed in 2011. It will improve public transportation and realm, pedestrian environment, and traffic circulation in this area. The Roncesvalles Village BIA and Parkdale Village BIA will be working together to mitigate the impact of the construction on our businesses and their customers.

More details on each phase of construction will be provided as we approach the specific dates. There will also be a link for this project on Councillor Gord Perk’s and the City’s websites.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Councillor Gord Perks’ Office 
Ward 4 Parkdale – High Park at 416-392-7919, or by fax at 416-392-0398.
twitter: @gordperks  Facebook: @GordPerks

New Mural at Garden and Roncesvalles Nearing Completion

For the last four month, during a record heat wave followed by a week of rain, we have watched the creation of a new mural on a large 24 foot by 106 foot wall at the corner of Garden and Roncesvalles Avenue. Locals, visitors and users of the bordering Bike Share Station have seen the brightly coloured elements and symbols emerging amidst scaffolds and tents, accompanied by buskers and a growing contingent of sparrows and fellow urban creatures. Local mural artist Jim Thierry Bravo has completed his portion. Lead artist Philip Cote and his assistant Nelly Torossian continue to work hard to complete the remaining third of the mural, encouraged by the positive response of enthusiastic onlookers.

Official Launch and Ribbon Cutting for New Mural at Garden & Roncesvalles Avenue

Artists Philip Cote & Jim Thierry Bravo will be present

WHEN: Sat., Oct. 20, 2018 from 11:00 am to 12 noon
WHERE: 149 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto

Join us and share the event on  Facebook.

Woodland Style fish and moose by mural artist Philip Cote.

Detail of 8th Fire Mural in progress at Garden and Roncesvalles by lead artist Philip Cote and local artist Jim Thierry Bravo. This section accounts for 1/15th of the wall.

The design concept of the mural reflects the thematic framework set out by our BIA’s Street Advisory Committee. These themes include: Nature in the City, the Urban Community, and the interconnected concepts of Legacy, Sustainability and Stewardship.

We have stories of prophets who came to the people a millennium ago to give visions of the future that would come in stages called the Seven Fires. In recent times there has been a talk of an Eighth Fire in which the ancestor prophets say that to light the Eighth Fire Indigenous People will come forward with their knowledge connecting with the western knowledge and from this union a new people will emerge lighting the Eighth and final Fire. This will begin the golden age of peace.

My work reflects this same importance of sharing the story of ancient Anishinaabe footsteps that crossed Roncesvalles in days gone by. It’s inspiring to know that we the Anishinaabe Peoples are still here sharing stories/oral histories much as our ancestors did for thousands of years and thus bringing the values of our culture into the present day …

~ Philip Cote

Learn more at roncesvallesvillage.ca/8thfire.

 

 

Mural Painting Underway at Garden and Roncesvalles

In partnership with StreetARToronto, we commissioned artists Philip Cote and Jim Thierry Bravo to collaborate on a mural for Roncesvalles Village.  In the cool hours of the day, you’ll find them painting the wall on the north east side of Roncesvalles and Garden Ave. They will work through July until finished. The official launch will be on October 20, 2018. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the work in progress.

Artist seated in front of white brick wall that features animal spirits painted in the Woodland style.

In the twilight, Philip Cote adds finishing touches on the bear at 149 Roncesvalles Avenue.

Cote and Bravo’s design concept reflects the thematic framework set out by the RVBIA’s StreetArt Advisory Committee. These themes include: Nature in the City, the Urban Community, and the interconnected concepts of Legacy, Sustainability and Stewardship. Their collaboration also draws on some of the insights gleaned from several community consultations. These affirmed that the people of Roncesvalles love being so close to High Park and Lake Ontario. They cherish all the trees and the gardens that make this a healthy and lovely place to live. Locals and visitors alike appreciate the sense of community, the village vibe, and tender loving care you can feel here.

Cote and Bravo bring together the sensibilities of a First Nations artist with those of a first generation Canadian artist. Bravo’s family immigrated to Canada in 1985 and settled in Toronto when he was young. Both have lived on Roncesvalles Avenue and are well known mural artists in this City. They have witnessed how the neighbourhood has changed in the past 30 years.

For example, Roncesvalles Village has much fewer Polish residents and businesses than it once did, but many people of Polish heritage enjoy celebrating their cultural roots here. In fact, our BIA still runs the two-day Roncesvalles Polish Festival each September. “The demographics of urban neighborhoods can change rapidly,” says RVBIA Chair Len McAuley, “so we must find ways to celebrate the culture of the new community of residents and businesses that have settled here more recently. Likewise, it is time to acknowledge that for thousands of years before the arrival of the British, Irish and Scottish to this area that is now called Roncesvalles Village, there thrived indigenous people whose tribes made up the First Nations.” These included the Anishinaabek, Wendat, Mississauga and and Haudenosaunee, among others before them. “Their shared ethos was—and still is— to serve as stewards of the land for future generations. Their stories reflect this.”

“People around the world have become more aware of the environmental impact of industrial waste and careless human lifestyles,” says RVBIA Manager, Veronica Feihl. “And, consequently of our responsibility to protect the air, water and soil along with nature’s rich variety of plants and animals that form healthy ecosystems. Not just for our own sake but for our descendants,” she adds. “So there is something to be learned from the First Peoples who lived on this land for ages before the newcomers arrived. Here’s an opportunity to look and listen, while enjoying some time in the neighbourhood.”

The BIA will provide online video and audio clips of the work in progress and hopes to share some of the stories and meaning behind the symbols on this mural.

PHILIP COTE ARTIST STATEMENT

The vision of my work starts with a journey into Indigenous history of this land that dates back 130,000 years and maybe even 200,000 years. The first humans in North America we call the Original People also known as the Anishinaabe “From whence lowered the original man”.

On the design of this mural we have first man and woman taking that first journey across the land and in communion with all life as displayed here by the animals, plants and the Anishinaabe Spirit World.

The design is deeply connected to the creation story of the Anishinaabe as this design with all its black lines speak about the beginning of the universe. In the beginning there was a great black void and in that void there was a spirit who sent out thoughts into the Universe. When no response happened, those thoughts were called back, and the creator said create light as you come back to me. Thus all the stars were born and from them planets were formed.  At the moment we have light and dark in the Universe, for Anishinaabe people believe we are all made of light and dark physical and spirit.

The painted imagery is in the style of woodland painting first created by Norval Morrisseau, an Anishinaabe artist and visionary his work brought the Anishinaabe (first people’s) world into public space in the 1960s. Norval had a deep understanding of the history of the Anishinaabe and created such a stir in the western culture at that time — and in his own community, which was upset that he shared those secret stories with the outsiders. His work describes the culture and mystery of the Anishinaabe people that gives everyone a clearer understanding of who these first people really are.

We have stories of prophets who came to the people a millennium ago to give visions of the future that would come in stages called the Seven Fires. In recent times there has been talk of an Eighth Fire in which the ancestor prophets say that to light the Eighth Fire Indigenous People will come forward with their knowledge connecting with the western knowledge and from this union a new people will emerge, lighting the Eighth and final Fire. This will begin the golden age of peace.

My work reflects this same importance of sharing the story of ancient Anishinaabe footsteps that crossed Roncesvalles in days gone by. It’s inspiring to know that we the Anishinaabe Peoples are still here sharing stories/oral histories much as our ancestors did for thousands of years and thus bringing the values of our culture into the present day and breaking down the stereotypes and racism that still prevails today. I am happy to be part of these changes in our country called Canada.

JIM BRAVO ARTIST STATEMENT

I have been given a great and honorable artistic challenge.  Artistic collaborations are a delicate dance of two visions. My vision for this design comes, I hope, as a sensitive and complimentary response to Mr. Cote’s narrative on the First and Founding Peoples of this region of our City/Province, etc.  Through an interplay of bold, highly stylized and graphic illustration (as a method through which to correspond with Cote’s Woodlands approach) I have chosen to present a take on what I feel are the three founding attributes of what is at present known as Ward 14/Parkdale-High Park. These three attributes are the waterfront, the long-standing local architecture which has witnessed the coming and going of many different settlers, and the wide natural array of trees, flowers and plant life.  The arrangement of the word “Roncesvalles” is designed to invoke a feeling of movement, change, development, space and inclusion, but ultimately that something is about to eventually settle down – only to be carried off again through progress, symbolized by the land rising out of the water.  I have decorated the word with flowers and plants found in the area and it is these swooping components that propel the word — and thus the community — into the present day. On close inspection various “umbilical” lines stemming to and from the text are placed as connection portals to Mr. Cote’s surrounding narrative.

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

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

DRAFT DESIGN CONCEPT

The word Roncesvalles is written in staggered letters intertwined with floral elements.. It sits above images of indigenous animal spirits.

Version 2 includes an aqua background and ochre sky.

This design concept by Philip Cote and Jim Thierry Bravo is close to final. There are a few more changes to come including to the lettering of “RONCESVALLES” and the plants and foliage that are intertwined; removal of the blue waves above the moose and buffalo; addition of a forested landmass rising on the right side and some additional details. The final changes will be made directly on the mural. There are seven windows and two doors in the wall to work around. The pharmacy window on the left painted by a previous artist will be retained at the request of the business owners.