A Sunny Epilogue

In the far south end of the High Park Kingdom you’ll find a little known Town called Kitchenland. Kitchenland is a magical place fondly thought of by the local community as a great location to live, work and play. It’s surrounded by the tiny Village of Sandbox Station, the busy little Estate of Blue Shedville and the industrious little Hamlet of Compost Corner. These (mostly) tidy little communities sit amongst the beautiful rolling raised fields of the Children’s Garden. Square Metres and square Metres of lush green (sometimes slug and snail eaten but always tasty) veggies and ripe berries and fruit are there to greet you and fill-up children and youth with healthy, tasty food. 

Interview Photo

Within this magical land you’ll find local resident and town historian Solar Wagon, now living in Washroomton Abby. Solar Wagon was kind enough to join us, the High Park Kingdom Herald (HPKH), for an interview during the installation of a new photovoltaic (solar) panel array on the south side of Kitchenland. We met outside on the freshly landscaped grounds of Washroomton Abby (re: a variety of new mints were planted in the garden bed out front last fall). Solar Wagon started out by giving us a brief history of the Abby and it’s grounds. Needless to say it’s tarnished and scruffy past has been made up for by the more recent renovations to its infrastructure and landscape. They’ve even removed the towering bales of straw from the north wing to free up floor space in the “throne” room.

 High Park Kingdom Herald

  • Thank you Solar Wagon for taking time to chat with us about Kitchenland and the new photovoltaic (solar) panels that were recently installed. May we call you Solar?

Solar Wagon

  • Oh please do! It’s my pleasure to talk to you about Kitchenland and its sunny future. I really find the sunshine energizing and I love talking about renewable energy technologies.


  • So Solar you’re the town historian, could you let us in on any juicy gossip about Kitchenland’s past?


  • Well … they often don’t mention this but back in 2005 Washroomton Abby had a complete remodel. At the time it had fallen into great disrepair and needed a complete facelift. Back then I was living in the old rundown annex of Blue Shedville known to the local chipmunks as Green Shedhampton. Green Shedhampton was cramped and very dark. Needless to say I had no energy while living there. Shortly after the sparkling new porcelain was installed I managed to move into Washroomton Abby. I have to say I felt much better living in its light and airy space. Around the same time the idea for Kitchenland was sprouted. Kitchenland was previously known to residents as Picnic Shelter #16land and while it was a wonderful place to visit, it lacked many of the practical amenities that were needed for the area.


  • Such as?


  • Well … walls for instance. The lush green raised fields of the Children’s Garden were producing vast (ish) quantities of fruits and veggies for the people of Picnic Shelter 16land. But alas, they had no local place to cook and create healthy, tasty dishes for the Royal Subjects of High Park Kingdom. Generally any cooking that took place often happened in the adjacent kingdoms of Parkdale or Swansea. So the Royal Court declared that a Kitchen be built. It would be situated upon the site of Picnic Shelter 16land and by the spring of 2012 Kitchenland was born.


  • It took over 6 years for Picnic Shelter 16land to metamorphosize into Kitchenland?


  • Yes, which to be honest is pretty fast for the Public Servants of the Toronto Realm!


  • So what’s the scoop on Kitchenland then? What makes it so special that people from across the GTA Realm, even Barrie, are interested in it?


  • I think Kitchenland is a classic example of “it’s what’s on the inside that counts.” Kitchenland is a beautiful place, with its lush green crown and bright red jewels (even the stables for one’s trusty stead are quite fancy!) but it’s the straw bales inside the pretty painted plaster walls that give it the excellent insulation, sound proofing and fire resistance it needs.


  • You’re telling me that such an elegant and graceful entity as Kitchenland is stuffed with … straw?


  • Yes that’s its secret to success! The Royal Court proclaimed that Kitchenland need be a place that respected the environment and created as little impact on the planet as possible whilst being built. So plastered straw bale walls, a live green crown (or roof as you might call it), non-toxic sealants and paints, in-floor radiant heating and photovoltaic panels were all in the plans for the building.


  • So the recent installation of the photovoltaic panels is the final piece of the puzzle then?


  • Yes this was the last piece to fall into place. The road to installing the panels was fraught with perils and strife. Many a squire in the Kingdom of City Hall attempted the journey but only our friends in the Toronto Renewable Energy Office had the right stuff for the job … mainly another project to put small arrays of solar panels up in a number of other towns such as Warden Hilltop Community Centre, Nielson Park Creative Centre, Edithvale Community Centre and EMS Station 33.Kitchenland and its fellow towns in the Toronto Realm are now part of the Ontario Power Authority’s MicroFit Program. The energy we produce from our solar panels goes straight to the power grid. So it’s possible that your lights are powered by energy generated here in Kitchenland right now.


  • That’s amazing! So how do these solar (photovoltaic) panels work and how does the electricity make it onto the grid?


  • My small photovoltaic panels are attached to a solar inverter that turns the direct current from my panels into an alternating current that then charges my battery. Something similar happens to the Larger array atop Kitchenland but instead it goes through a Toronto Hydro Meter and is then sent out to the City’s distribution grid. However, let us start from the beginning: “Some materials exhibit a property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as electricity.” – Thanks NASA!This electricity flows through a solar optimizer attached to each panel in order to harvest as much of the energy as possible. From here it flows as a direct current into the solar inverter which changes it to an alternating current, the type of current that the grid uses. That electricity then passes through the MicroFit meter where it is sent out to the grid and Toronto Hydro’s Distribution network. The meter also sends information back to Toronto Hydro where they calculate how much they need to pay us for the electricity.

    In the mean time Kitchenland still draws power from the electrical grid and it’s measured by the load meter … similar to the ones everyone has at home. We then pay Toronto Hydro for the energy we use. In the end, through conservation and responsible use of electricity, we hope to generate more energy then we use.


  • It sounds like there’s quite a lot happening on that roof!


  • It’s definitely busy up there. We even have a duck nesting in the crown, near the northwest corner towards by the hydro pole. It will be fun to see the little ducklings wandering around up there!


  • So everyone is welcome here in Kitchenland 🙂


  • Yes we love how diverse and interesting our visitors tend to be!


  • Solar we just want to thank you once again for taking the time to talk with us and to tell us all about the wonderful things happening here in Kitchenland


  • It’s my pleasure! I’m always happy to share my enthusiasm for the Sun and the energy it brings us, both for our veggies in the garden and the Kitchen we cook them in.

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4 responses to “A Sunny Epilogue”

  1. An Interview with a Solar Wagon | Children's Eco Programs Avatar

    […] For more information on how the solar panels work check out the final installment of our Teaching Kitchen Saga – A Sunny Epilogue. […]

  2. Maria S Avatar
    Maria S

    This is so creative and fun and hilarious way to tell the story of the kingdom. I love what you guys are doing over there. I miss the kitchen and garden.

    1. torontochildrensgarden Avatar

      Thanks 🙂 and we miss you too!

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