Tag Archives: community gardens

Back to the Future: Lakeshore Village, one of the First Suburbs in Waterloo. Jane’s Walk, 2015

Lakeshore Sod TurningThanks everyone for the phone calls and e-mail identifying the men at the Lakeshore Village sod turning. They are George Ellis, Col. Hugh Heasley, former Waterloo mayors James Bauer and Frank Bauer, and Helmut Oberlander.

Jim Bauer was Mayor of Waterloo for six years then served as the Chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority from 1966 to 1990.  Lakeshore Men Identified from The Record.

The Jane’s Walk of Old Lakeshore attracted 31 people, most of them residents or former residents of the suburb. We started off at Albert McCormick arena where Angela Vieth told us about the arena and library and the plaque honouring Albert McCormick, well known for his work with minor hockey.

Next we walked to the Sunnydale Community Garden where two university

Sunnydale Community Garden

Jeremy and his friend dig the garden expansion for the food distribution section

students told us about their plan to have a work out group that will end up at the garden where they have a plot to raise food for the Food Distribution every Thursday at Sunnydale Community Center. They are very enthusiastic. I showed the walkers the “hundred year old” rhubarb donated two years ago that is doing very well. It came from the backyard of a 150 year old house.


Laurie Strome talks to the walkers about the social development work of Sunnydale

We then moved onto Jimmy’s Garden where community organizer Laurie Strome told us how Jimmy had died when knifed by some other boys from Kitchener while protecting his brother and sister at the roller rink a number of years ago. Sunnydale subsidized housing has come a long way with a community center, youth groups and a second community garden. The community center is helped by the House of Friendship with coordinator Linda Kruger who was on the walk as a birthday present to herself!

Heasley Park

Walkers learn about the Heasley Park Build and Col. Heasley

The walkers moved onto the Heasley Park playground. The playground was built by Lakeshore citizens. Angela pointed out a cairn for Col. Heasley which needs to be moved to a more prominent place in the park. Col. Heasley was known for his volunteer work and Rotary work. He was also a World War two hero.

We next walked by Cedarbrae Public School where I volunteer for the Breakfast Club every Monday. Children get a hot breakfast each morning along with fruit and bagels. It is sponsored by Nutrition for Learning.


Triliums in the urban forest

We next walked through the urban forest by Cedar Creek. By the forest is a crescent of upscale homes. The trilliums were out and I also pointed out some invasive species such as dog strangling vine. The forest does show some signs of degradation with a small gully used by mountain bikes. One year someone painted the trilliums red (No, they were not Robin trilliums, paint). There were a number of wild flowers and the jack-in-the-pulpits and marsh marigolds were just coming up. The sign warning of poison ivy caused some comments. Did you know that only humans and primates are sensitive to poison ivy? The wood is made up of maple trees. I also told the walkers about the naturalization of the creek by the Laurel Creek Citizens’ Committee.

Angela noted that the grass used to be mowed right down to the creek 20 years

Twin Oaks Trail

Twin Oaks naturalized trail

ago. When the area was naturalized, Angela got complaints form people concerned about weeds getting in their yards. I pointed out that moved grass led to flooding behind my house that went up to my gate. Not to mention the pesticides getting into the stream. Since willows, crab apple trees,and bushes along with other natural vegetation have grown up, the area around Cedar Creek no longer floods.

Our final stop was the Tollgate mini-mall. Developers have told me that they do not want to put stores in a subdivision like our mini-mall because it is hard to get tenants. However, walking to stores is part of the new urbanism.

Tollgate Mall

Tollgate Mall (closed on Sunday evening after the walk)

The Bread and Bretzel German Bakery has been in the mall for about 15 to 20 years under three owners. However, all owners retired, they didn’t go under. Presently the new owners are doing well, a man and his father and his wife. They are having trouble getting workers however. They have a small cafe and to make a go, all owners of the store also have a stall at the local farmers’ markets and catering. The Bakery gives day-olds to the Sunnydale Food Distribution each week. The walkers enjoyed a cookie from the bakery.

The other store that does well is the Children’s Marketplace for used children’s clothes and toys. She also has a Sears outlet. My grandchildren are well outfitted with the high quality clothing from the store. There is also a Mini-mart, hairdresser and music school, locally based businesses with local traffic.

The walkers returned back to McCormick area along a street behind Cedarbrae school that had a mix of duplexes, single family homes, townhouses, student residences, rentals and owned.

One of the first warm days of Spring, it was an enjoyable walk.



Urban Agriculture in Vancouver

A hydroponic garden sits on the top of a parking garage. A farm covers a parking lot beside a raised highway. Urban Farming was one of the most interesting study tours at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Vancouver in June.

The tour started off with a local community garden beside a school. Most of the plots were cultivated by aboriginal students at the school. Having a plot in the Sunnydale community garden, I knew about this form of  urban farming. Most interesting was the comment from one of the councillors on the tour that her city’s community gardens have barbed wire on top of the fences. Hope we never go that far. Our chicken wire fences are to keep out bunnies, though not raccoons or squirrels as I have discovered.

Beside the garden sat a transport truck trailer. A similar trailer sat beside the urban farm we visited. I asked what they were, thinking they might hold supplies for the gardens and farms, though pretty big. Turns out the trailers are located throughout Vancouver and hold several days worth of emergency supplies for citizens in case of earthquake.

Solefood Urban Farm

Solefood Urban Farm on a parking lot in Vancouver

The urban farm on a parking lot is located near the Rogers Arena. The land is owned by a developer and could eventually become condos. The farm is portable, all the beds raised just above the asphalt of the parking lot. The farm workers are recovering drug addicts, the mentally ill or homeless. The produce is sold at farmers’ markets and restaurants. Solefood, the organization that runs the farm has several throughout Vancouver though this is the largest. They have also started a fruit orchard on contaminated land with the trees in containers.

Hydroponic farm

Hydroponic farm on top of a parking garage

The hydroponic farm on the top of a parking garage shows what happens when a city moves away from car dominance. The farm grows hydroponic greens for local markets and restaurants. The farm is not yet quite breaking even. No, it doesn’t grow any of B.C.s other hydroponic crop.

One of our group asked how they paid their rent as normally each car space in a car park is pretty profitable real estate. The owner said that in fact, parking garages in Vancouver are often half empty as people take transit and don’t use their car to get to work. It was true, as we walked back down, the car park was half empty.

Our bus driver said this is because parking is so expensive in Vancouver but a glance at the Metro parking website shows parking costing about a dollar an hour, less than Toronto or even Kitchener. Another article said the maximum for on street parking is 6 dollars an hour.  Toronto is around 5.50 an hour, but I have parked for less in lots.

The ease of biking is also blamed for the decline in car use. There are separate lanes for bicycles as my husband found out in Stanley Park when he was yelled at for standing in a cycling lane. We found a pedestrian walk beside the sea and quickly moved there.

There is also a 12 percent tax on the sale of used vehicles.  The ease of using the Skytrain and transit is listed as a cause of the decline in cars. Certainly we didn’t even use a taxi in Vancouver, using transit and walking to get to our destinations.

Here is an article about Vancouver’s decrease in car use.