Monday, April 07, 2008

Dog Run Redux

Meadow today

Fenced in meadow, August 2005

When I started blogging in July 2005, one of my original goals was to report issues and problems in the the Don Valley. It just so happened that a month later just such an issue arose and in my 8th post I reported on a problem with an old meadow restoration site.

What happened was that sons of Ken Thomson wanted to give a birthday present to their father who lived in Rosedale just up the hill from the Don Valley Brick Works. They offered to pay for some renovations to the Brick Works in exchange for giving Thomson, an avid dog owner, free reign to walk his dogs unleashed in the park. The city intelligently said no. They compromised by offering to expand the existing dog run but they didn't realize that the expansion impacted an old Bring Back the Don restoration site.

It turned out that the Culture Department, who at the time managed the Brick Works, was in charge of this project. Without conferring with the Parks Department who managed the land or the Task Force that had restored the site, they erected a fence around the meadow that effectively tripled the size of the present dog run.

Once I reported the problem, the Parks department put padlocks on the expanded area and the meadow has been locked up in dispute ever since. Through my participation with the Brick Works Public Advisory Committee, I got the city to back down from their position and a new compromise was reached. A reconfigured fence would restore 2/3 of the meadow and still double the size of the dog run. This was back in October 2005. In 2006 they promised to finish the project by the summer of 2007 but we are talking about the city where things can sometimes move real slow.

Over 2 1/2 years later the project is still not fully complete. But the fence has been reconfigured and the meadow restored for public use. Ironically, Thomson died in 2006 so he never did get to use the new dog run.

Oddly enough the plants that were fenced in all this time have done remarkably well. The dogwood have grown substantially and have created a nice little thicket.

The path looking southwest. You can see the dogwood thicket on the left behind the bench.


David Sky said...

This is good news! It is too bad the city uses ugly chain link fencing at all. I can't quite tell from the photos, but is this near the southern access to Bayview Ave ( around )

David Sky said...

I knew I read something about chain link fences on -- the Downtown De-Fence Project at

Donwatcher said...

You are correct on the location. Follow the links to the postings from 2005 for some maps.