Happy New Year Everyone! We hope you enjoyed your holidays and are looking forward to an amazing 2011!
We at the Children’s Garden and Exploring Toronto Programs are looking forward to a fantastic year! We’ve expanded our High Park summer Eco Camp program (ages 6-10) to 8 weeks of fun and are once again running our youth age (10-13) camp at High Park. We’re also running our second year of Eco Camp at the Music Garden (ages 6-9) in the Bathurst and Queens Quay area.
The other major happening at the Children’s Garden this year will be the construction of the Children’s Teaching Kitchen. We have a great write-up here about why we’re building the Kitchen but it’s time to start updating everyone about the progress we’re making with this great project!
So we’ll start with a little photo background story and show you what’s been done so far 🙂 The location for the Teaching Kitchen is the picnic shelter on site at the High Park Children’s Garden.
Our picnic shelter has served us well over the years. It’s kept us dry and shaded but it does leave a little something to be desired when it gets cold outside. A kitchen on site at the Garden is an important addition that will allow us to expand our programming and truly show our participants how to go from seed all the way to their table with fresh fruits and veggies!
Here are some of the upgrades that have already been completed. This is the new kitchen access to the park water main:
While this may not be the most amazing picture to you . . . it’s a wonderful sight to us! Since the Garden was put in place in 1998 we’ve only had cold water available on site. Access to that water was either in the public washrooms or on the far side of the garden where we have hook-ups for our hoses. Over the years, during our special events we’ve either had to use cold water to clean up or boil the kettle to warm the dishwater a bit.
This new square of pavement is on the other side of the shelter and is the new sewage access for the Kitchen – best not to confuse the two 😉 :
Something very interesting about High Park is the geography of the area. Thousands of years ago the park was once the shoreline of Lake Ontario (and thousands of years before that it was part of the lake bottom 🙂 ). Today one of the few things that gives us clues to the history of this area is what’s underneath the grass in the park:
We’ve also had an electrical upgrade. Our little electrical box has served us well between boiling the kettle for much needed coffee and recharging camp cell phones but it just wasn’t up to the task of handling a full-blown kitchen.
Here’s our fancy new transformer. Eventually we plan to hook up solar panels and possibly a wind turbine in order to reduce our reliance on good old hydro (and possibly even sell electricity back to the grid!).
Another important bit of work that’s gone on is the trimming of our Oak tree to the North of the shelter. It’s an old Black Oak and provides us with some much needed shade. Over the years one of the limbs had grown very close to the shelter. Between the size and the health of the tree, that limb needed to be trimmed to keep it from damaging the shelter and eventually the Kitchen. Also by removing a large limb and reducing the demand on the roots for water and nutrients it will also help keep the tree healthy in the years to come.
One last quick note: we’ll be announcing a public information meeting about the Teaching Kitchen for the end of January. So if you have questions about our Kitchen keep checking back here for more details on the meeting and join us for an informative evening!