An Interview with a Solar Wagon

Patience is a virtue. If it doesn’t work the first time, try and try again. There is a reason why some of these old adages still ring true today. Patience and a willingness to keep trying is why the Children’s Teaching Kitchen is here today. It’s also the reason why it has beautiful shiny new solar (photovoltaic) panels adorning the south-facing side of the roof!

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After a few false starts trying to get our panels installed last year our wonderful friends at the Toronto Renewable Energy Office came to the rescue. The Teaching Kitchen is now part of a group of City buildings with new solar arrays (multiple panels) that are part of the Ontario Power Authority’s MicroFit Program. This program allows people with smaller arrays of solar panels to sell the electricity they produce back to Toronto or Ontario Hydro. For more details on this program follow the link. Some of the other buildings include our friends at Warden Hilltop Community Centre, Edithvale Community Centre, Nielson Park Creative Centre, EMS Station 33 and York Civic Centre.

We’re excited to have our panels up and running! We’re also working away on new programs to help school groups and community members learn more about renewable energy.

For more information on how the solar panels work check out the final installment of our Teaching Kitchen Saga – A Sunny Epilogue, an interview with a Solar Wagon.

You can also check out a video of the solar panel installation by clicking here.

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Odds & Sods – Youth Camp Spaces and Spring School Programs

Thank you to all of our Eco families once again for signing your campers up for Eco Camp this summer! For those of you that missed out make sure you’re on our waitlists. People’s plans change so there’s always a chance a space may open up.

Where we do have a few spaces is in our 10 to 14 year old camp. Our Youth Camp is truly an adventure that includes gardening and cooking fun! Click here for barcodes and click here to register now.

The other fun thing School Teachers can register for at this time of year is our Spring School Programs (please feel free to make suggestions to your camper’s teachers 😉 ). We offer curriculum focused programs with hands-on activities in organic gardening, nature exploration and healthy cooking. Did you know baking is a great way to learn about fractions? Possibly the tastiest way too! Click here for more information on our School Programs.

We look forward to seeing everyone this spring and summer!

Children’s Recreation Program Quality Survey

Have you had the opportunity to take the City’s Children’s Recreation Program Quality Survey yet? If not here’s your chance. This survey covers the wide range of children’s programming available through the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division. It closes on February 28th so spread the word!

To start the survey click here.

 Children's Program Survey

2017 Eco Camp Registration Starts March 4th-7 AM!

We’re creeping up on that time of year again! That rush of adrenaline, that setting the coffee machine for 6:45 am, that setting of 10 alarms to make sure you’re up in time, time of year again. That’s right 2017 Eco Camp Registration starts at 7 AM on Saturday, March 4th. Of course it’s also the time to register for any spring and summer recreation programs that take place in Etobicoke/York with the City of Toronto 🙂

Remember registration is open to everyone across Toronto! We break it down by area so our registration staff and computer systems can handle the number of people who want to sign up for all of our fun programs.

So get those fingers ready to hit the redial/refresh buttons to register your campers for Eco Camp! You will also find our Caregiver and tot (4 to 5 years) and child (9 to 12 years) Cooking With Veggies Programs plus our Edible Cosmetics Workshops for 10-16 year olds open for registration on March 4th.

Below you will find our handy barcode charts for all of your registration needs. You will also find our How to Register Infographic or click here to see last year’s Registration Preparation Post to help you deal with registration morning pandemonium!

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Just remember registration starts at 7 am on Saturday, March 4th, 2017!

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A quick Tip that didn’t make it into the infographic … sign up for all of your programs first. You can sign up for extended care at a later date/time. There’s always enough space for program participants in extended care so don’t waste your time Saturday morning … get right to the important barcodes 🙂

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March Break Eco Camp Registration

We know it’s tough thinking about March Break when plans for the holiday season are just warming up but it’s that time again! Registration starts tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 3rd at 7 am. Spaces are limited so please make sure you start early!

For more information and barcodes for March Break Eco Camp 2017 go to our:

March Break Eco Camp Page.

For a reminder on registration procedures check out our:

Registration Preparation.

If you’re looking for fun activities during winter vacation we still have a few spaces in our Winter Break Programs:

Winter Break Programs.

Good luck to all and we hope to see your campers at Eco Camp in March!

Urban Agriculture With the City of Toronto

We’re going to be famous! We recently participated in the latest Exploring Toronto Gardens Video about the City of Toronto’s Urban Agriculture Programs. In the video you can learn more about our Community Gardens, Allotment Gardens and of course the Children’s Garden in High Park. Make sure you check out the whole video series on the City of Toronto’s Website!

High Park Harvest Festival

This is it! The celebration of the year 🙂 Join us on Sunday, October 2 from 12 pm to 4 pm for this year’s High Park Harvest Festival. You can enjoy our free harvest lunch, music, meet Professor Pricklethorn, make seed balls, leaf pounding bookmarks, dream pillows and more!

Harvest Festival 2015

You can also check out the great things happening around the corner at Colborne Lodge Museum! Activities run from 11 am to 5 pm. A special Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Thanksgiving Address on the West Lawn lead by Mohawk Elder William Woodworth Raweno:kwas will open Harvest Fest. They also have vendors, music, artisans and baked potatoes for sale.

So much to do you can spend the day in High Park! We look forward to seeing you at the Garden on Sunday!

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Where to Send Your Camper Info Forms

In case you’re wondering where to send those all important camper information forms … worry not! We have the answer 🙂 

Please remember they are due by Friday, June 17th, 2016

By Mail:

Children’s Eco Programs
Hillside Gardens, High Park
c/o Etobicoke Civic Centre Mail Room
399 The West Mall
Toronto, ON, M9C 2Y2

By Email:

kidsgrow@toronto.ca

By Fax

416-392-1319

Forms Due

Spring Peeper

Spring into School Programs

The snow will melt, the snow will melt, the snow will melt … Spring is officially here and that means it’s time to get ready to garden! It’s also time to book your curriculum-linked Spring School Program! We’re so excited that even that little bit of snow couldn’t get us down while we’re getting ready to plant.

Lets Get Growing! (1)

Peas, greens, brassicas (that family of green veggies we’re all encouraged to eat like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi), peas, radishes and beets all like a cooler growing season and can even take a little frost. Of course the chives and lemon balm have already poked their heads above the soil. As has one of our favourite spring veggies … sorrel. It’s one of those sour greens but with a green apple zing to it so it peps up your salad without leaving a bitter after-taste.

Bring your class our for a morning or afternoon session at the Children’s Garden. Hands on activities can include planting, watering, compost maintenance, worm holding & feeding (aka checking out the vermicomposter), games and more. There’s always so much to do in the garden during spring. Your class will have fun while learning about soil, plants, animals, insects and organic gardening. Half-day and full-day programs are available. Combine 2 half day programs to make a full day in High Park. Click here for more information.

Let's Go For A Hike!

Spring is also a great time to get out and explore nature as everything wakes up from it’s long winter’s nap. Many trees and plants will start to bloom soon, birds start chirping their songs, and bugs and insects start to buzz. The City of Toronto’s Parks and Ravines are a great place to go for a hike and explore nature in an urban setting. To dig deeper into the mysteries of urban nature in Toronto check out the Biodiversity Booklet Series.

Have an energetic class? A hike program is a perfect way to focus that energy while learning about habitats, animals, plants, soil, rocks, weather and more. There are plenty of hands on activities students will enjoy like plant and animal Identification, storytelling, nature-based science experiments, games, orienteering and more. Half-day and full-day programs are available. Combine 2 half day programs to make a full day in High Park. Click here for more information.

Let's Get Cooking!

Now that spring has graced us with it’s presence that means fresh fruits and veggies start growing in our garden. This means we get to incorporate them in our cooking programs. Fresh lettuce and sorrel for salads, kale for kale chips, chives to add flavour to our whole-grain cheddar biscuits and now we’re hungry just thinking about it!

Bring your class out for one of our healthy cooking programs. Not only will they make something tasty to eat, they’ll brush up on their fractions while their at it! Baking is one of the best, hands-on activities to help review fractions with students. There’s even a reward at the end when they get it right. Other hands on activities include harvesting, estimating & measuring the volume of ingredients, food mapping, safe kitchen practices (including knife handling for older grades), vegetable & fruit identification and more. Half-day and full-day programs are available. Combine 2 half day programs to make a full day in High Park. Click here for more information.

Spots fill-up quickly so book now for your chance to enjoy a little spring in High Park with your students!

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