Last night, the David Suzuki Foundation in collaboration with North American Native Plant Society and other partners, held a Homegrown National Park event at Fort York National Historic Site in Toronto. The idea is to boost urban green space, and quite a number of people came out to see how an unused corner of greenspace could be transformed into a garden.
Starting with a beautiful song, the event was linked to National Aboriginal History Month, as a canoe was portaged to the new garden site (which was also a territory of the Huron-Wendat First Nation).
The canoe itself was filled with sand, gravel and compost and filled with a variety of native plant species that could sustain the harsh environment of the interior of a canoe :-) North American plants such as Prairie Smoke, Blue-Eyed Grass, Little Bluestem, Beard-tongue, Columbine, and Canada Anemone are included in the garden.
Afterwards, people laid blankets out on the grass at Fort York, amongst the condos, and the clamour of traffic which started to die down for the day. Vendors sold food and drinks and we prepared for the evening's movie in front of a 40' inflatable screen from Fresh Air Cinema.
A bonfire was constructed to roast marshmallows as we watched "Lost Rivers", a great documentary on the river systems that run under cities that were covered up during the industrial revolution, and only now being unearthed. The message of the movie was that for healthy cities, we need healthy waterways, and it was great to see other metropolitans forward progress, yet disheartening to see that Toronto was actually making backwards progress.
It was only just this Spring that I leaned of the term "Daylighting" at a Jane's Walk in Peterborough, and so I was enthused to watch this movie as I found the whole concept quite interesting. It's pretty amazing what goes on in a city around you, thanks to everyone involved in organizing this free event.