Thursday, December 27, 2012

We have a rink! (almost)

A new 25'x35' rink has been built and filled with water in the parkette. Now all we are waiting for is it to freeze which will probably take until the new year.

Home Hardware on Morrow generously donated the liner and half of the lumber costs. Consider showing your gratitude for their neighbourly gesture by thinking of them next time you visit the hardware store. At very least thank them if you happen to run into them.

We need your help in a couple ways:

1. Please keep off the rink until the large "PLEAAE KEEP OFF" sign has been removed. It will take a few days to freeze and stepping on the surface too early will undo the hard work of your fellow neighbours and ruin the ice. Repairing it will mean a further delay so feel free to speak up if you see dogs or kids tempted to test it.

2. $200 dollars in material costs and an as yet unknown dollar amount in water (generously supplied by the Fortis family next door to the park) will hopefully be recouped by those who use it. We will plan a skating party once the rink is underway to fundraise but in the meantime if you plan on using it consider donating between $10 and $20 to the cause depending on how much you think you will use it. You can put it in the mailbox at 75 Ritchie.

Thanks and happy skating...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Parking warning

Beware of accidentally parking in the new handicap parking spot just down from the parkette. I noticed a ticket on an illegally parked car and was astonished at the preposterous fine amount. $450!! Wow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Parkette Meeting Summary

Thank to those who came for the meeting last night. Although a unanimous consensus wasn't achieved in all areas I will attempt to summarize where we landed on things anyway.

1. Sand retention. We liked the idea of using natural logs (similar, albeit smaller than these) to enclose the sand area on 2 sides (see attached photo). This keeps the sand off the path, which will protect the new sod and they will make an attractive barrier which can be used as seating by little ones. The downside is they will have to be replaced after a few years once they start to rot.

2. Widen pathway. Although this will cut into the green space there isn't much we can do about it since government law requires approx. 1.5 m wide paths so that potentially two wheel chairs can pass simultaneously. We did talk about angling the path a little as per attached diagram.

3. Move bench. We'll move the bench closer to the twirly slide to allow for more green space. Also we'll add a bench back onto the small concrete pad where there used to be one.

4. We all agreed to replace a baby swing with an accessible swing (can also be used by babies).

5. Relocating the water fountain closer to the entrance of the park to 1. save money and 2. keep it away from the sand. Also we'll be able to tap into it for occasional slip and slide misadventures.  It would be amazing if we could bury the waterbox below the frostline to use the water for flooding a rink but the City will get back to us on whether it is possible once they determine the depth.

6. Add new sod where needed and try to level of green space as much as possible.

7. New lighting at the rear of the park (similar to old lighting but with lights that can focus a little better). Position indicated on diagram although should probably sit right along the middle of the edge of the concrete pad.

8. The latched gate at the back was a controversial one. A few parents were quite adamant that it was not a good idea so unless there is a strong voice I think we can safely assume that it isn't going to happen.

9. Retaining wall and fill to try and slightly level off the corner of the park. This is still in the air. We've been told it will be expensive and would only give us 1.5 feet higher at the lowest point. I don't think anyone would object to this but it is a lower priority ask.

10. Toy corral. This would probably be better situated where there isn't much activity anyway - in either of the back corners.

11. Additions to play structure. This could happen although personally I don't substantially see a huge benefit. The ideas of clocks and tic tac toe boards seemed not to interest too many adults and I never see any kids play with them in parks that do have them. A net or a mini-climbing wall up one side of the structure (ostensibly replacing something that is already there) is possible though.

12. Lastly, the ping pong table. We are limited to what we can do on the pad. Removing the concrete pad is too expensive and basketball nets were ruled out. Both the Councillor and the park designer thought a new concrete table would be an easy fix and inexpensive use of the space. It would also be Toronto's first table in a public park! There was not unanimous support for it though. One issue is that it wasn't an activity devoted to fitness (obviously spoken by someone that hasn't seen me play when the jacket comes off). And also it isn't suitable for the under-5 set (although I'm not sure what would be on a concrete surface.

So now is our final chance to brainstorm any other concrete pad ideas and get consensus on a new direction otherwise the table looks like it will be a go.

One major qualifier for a new table is the requirement for it to be a good table. There is no point in a having a big, cracked hunk of concrete with a corner missing junking up the park. We need to ensure that it can withstand Canadian winters and Canadian teenagers. I've seen other tables made for parks in Europe and the U.S. but the Parks people are looking at a local option. As long as it is the proper, size, height and has been tested to withstand the abuse it will undoubtedly take - I think we are good.

I apologize if I have missed something. Please let me know in the comments. Let's having a discussion about the particulars so we can send a revised plan to the Councillor's office in a week.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Owl spotted

This snoozing predator was spotted in the parkette on Remembrance Day. Keep an eye out for it in the trees in the back corner above the ping pong table.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Park meeting rescheduled - exciting things are happening!

After having to cancel the previous meeting due to hurricane Sandy, on November 13th, 2012 we will be holding a second meeting to go over some possible opportunities and improvements to Ritchie Parkette (rain or shine). The meeting will be from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Ritchie Parkette. Councillor Perks, Ray Stukas (Parks Manager) and one of the City’s landscape architects will be on hand. Subsequently, to get us further alone, PFR has been kind enough to draft some potential landscape design options we can talk about (although additional ideas are more than welcome).

Link here:

Please come and join the conversation as this is our chance to have a say in the future of our Parkette.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sod delayed

I know we were told that new sod was to have been installed this fall. Here is the explanation as to why it has not and will not happen this year from Michael Butler of Gord Perks' office:

I have chatted with ray and other parks staff and I am told,
"The problem is predicting the weather. Ideally sod needs a few weeks to knit under ideal growing conditions. We would need the area fenced off until the roots penetrate the soil underneath otherwise foot traffic, bicycles etc will ruin the job. If it gets cold quickly this will not occur until the spring.

Also if we do it now and fence off the area until the spring we won't have access for the other work."
As well they also highlighted that in terms of some of the options we are looking at and could possibly choose,

"It would be smarter to do the other work such as bring in a ping pong table (which probably needs to be brought in with a forklift), relocate the water fountain (which will require trenching), install the light pole(which will also need trenching for electrical wiring) and grade the back corner before we sod."
I hope that answers your question sufficiently and I look forward to chatting with you and the rest of the ritchie folks at the upcoming meeting about the improvements.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gourds Galore

Thanks to all who braved the weather.  See you next year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Parade

Last year's inaugural Pumpkin Parade was a small and intimate affair. Just how we like it in this neck of the woods. No need to drag your pumpkins and kids for miles in the rain and wind when Ritchie Parkette is much closer to be dragged to.

The pumpkin dropping off action starts at 7PM, November 1st. Or anytime that evening which suits you. That's how our pumpkins roll in the G.S.R.H.M.D. triangle. Please place your vegetables along the walkway from the park entrance back to the rear of the park.

insert pic of Gord Perks crouching beside pumpkins

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meeting tonight cancelled

From the Councillor's office:

From the Councillor's office:

After speaking with City Staff and some of the members of Friends of Ritchie Parkette, we have decided to cancel the meeting for tonight. Sorry for the late notice but it does not look like the weather will be cooperating. We are planning to re-schedule for November 13th, 2012 at 6:30 with Councillor Perks and the same city staff being present. Please let your neighbours know about the cancellation.

Batten down the hatches and stay dry.

Take care and let me know if you have any questions.
Michael Butler
Councillor Perks
100 Queen St w Suite A14

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Spooktacular Halloween Party has been postponed until Sunday October 28th at 2pm.

If it is raining on Sunday then unfortunately the party will be canceled.

Loot bags will be delivered to all the homes on Sunday the 28th if it is raining

sorry folks!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Park meeting - Monday 29 6:30pm

From Councillor Perks' office:

On Monday October 29th, 2012 we will be holding a second meeting to go over some possible opportunities and improvements to Ritchie Parkette. The meeting will be from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Ritchie Parkette. Councillor Perks, Ray Stukas (Parks Manager) and one of the City's landscape architects will be on hand. The landscpae architect is working on some potential designs right now and will hopefully have some drawing available to you before the week is out; I will send these along once I receive a copy.

Come with you ideas and please let your neighbours know if they are not on the mailing list. If you unable to attend please send me your suggestions prior to the meeting for review and I will share them with Parks.

Take care and let me know if you have any further questions.

- - - you can contact Michael Butler at the Councillor's office at:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's time again. Time for the 2nd annual
Extravaganza Bonanza Spooktacular Halloween Bash 

at Ritchie Parkette!

So slap those costumes that set you back $39.99 on to the kids and come on down!

Saturday October 27th at 2pm (rain date Sunday the 28th at 2pm)

There will be face painting, a haunted house, costume swap, spooky crafts, loads of food and drink and general merriment and running around.

How can I help?
Here's what we still need:
food-anything you'd like to bring will be happily accepted
drink-see above
Stuff for the loot bags-We need Halloween trinkets, generic trinkets/small toys and small bags of chips to fill 51 loot bags.

So plan to be here on the 27th for a frightening good time!!

A shout out to Laura MacMahon who has spent a lot of time knocking on shopkeepers' doors trying to get them to sponsor our little party.

 We'll be sure to let everyone know about any of our sponsors.

Questions? Please email
Lillian Canini-Almonte  at

or Laura Hurst at

Friday, September 28, 2012

Save The Date!

Our 2nd annual Extravaganza Bonanza Spooktacular Halloween party is next month

Saturday October 27th at 2pm (rain date is Sunday October 28th at 2pm)

We have already secured (fingers cross) media and local politicians as well as soliciting Loblaws for some freebies (toes crossed!)

We hope to make this event as spectacular as last year. More information to follow in the coming weeks but please save the date

And as always, this is a community event so we need everyone to make it a success. We'll be asking for snack foods, appetizers, heading up kid's games, drinks, and Halloween trinkets and treats for the loot bags

We will send out a wish list soon

Until then, pencil it into the calendar and stay away from goblins!

Laura and Lillian are co-chairing this event again so feel free to contact either of us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Potluck success!

It was an awesome Sunday - good call on the rain date!

Thanks everyone for coming out and bringing all your delicious yummies and appetites! I think I actually tried everything! Stand-outs for me were the simosas, lasagna, Queen Elizabeth cake and those round balls of heaven masquerading as potatoes. Oh and the chinese mountain green tea to watch it all down. It was a total success and Laura and Sonia deserve a big round of applause.

Also, thanks to all those little hands helping us welcome our new neighbours, Lorena, Gord and Bryan, of the soon to be finished 96 Ritchie Ave.

If you have any pics online that you want to share just leave a comment with the link.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fall Potluck!

Saturday September 8th. 4pm-7pm
Rain date Sunday September 9th. 4pm - 7pm

Let's get together and tell tales from our summer adventures and ring in the school year. 

Laura (#19 Golden) and I (#24 Golden)  are your hosts (a.k.a. organizers/suckers) for this year's get together.

Pass the word on. 

Food: Bring enough to feed 10 people. We need everything. If you are on the evite please select something. If not, just bring anything you wish!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Park meeting - July 11th 6:30pm

If you can please come to a meeting tonight to address latest parkette-related concerns. See the note from Gord Perks' office below.


I spoke our Parks Manager Ray Stukas this morning regarding some concerns he has received about changes they are planning for the walkway. Currently, new sand is being put in and an additional swing is being added, but it is my understanding that this has moved the walkway slightly to meet required distances to stay within CSA standards for playgrounds.

As the Parks crew is currently onsite, Parks thought that due to concerns it would be a good idea to hold a meeting tonight at 6:30 in Ritchie Parkette to discuss ways to implement the walkway and additional swings while mitigating the loss of open space (other issues and improvements will be discussed at the next community visioning meetings). While this is short notice, in my conversation with Ray he stated this should help ensure the work is completed earlier in the summer and not be bumped back until a later date.

So, if everyone could knock on their neighbours' door or give you friends in the area a call about the Parks meeting tonight it would be appreciated.

See you tonight,

-Michael Butler

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Squeaky Wheel!

Ritchie Park is now under construction!

Construction has begun in earnest.
Sadly, it's closed until all complete, but hopefully we won't have to wait too long

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sand's a Comin'!

According to Michael Butler of councillor Perks' office, the arrival of the new sand is imminent! By the second week of July, the sparrows should be bathing in fresh sand. Hooray!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Response and Plans From our Meeting

I've heard back from councillor Perks' office's Michael Butler. Please have a read and feel free to add any recommendations or ideas in the comment field. The wheels are in motion, hopefully we will see the sand soon and the next meeting should firmly set what is to come over the next year or so.

Hello Ritchie Parkette folks,
It has been approximately a month since our meeting and Parks staff has followed up with me on some of the questions asked.  Below are my minutes from the meeting if you need a reminder of the topics discussed, and further below is the information Ray Stukas from Parks has provided me with.  As well, there is also a link to some possible purchases we could look at; take a peak, chat with your neighbours, and let me know what you are thinking.  I will schedule a meeting at some point further along in the summer once people have had time to brainstorm with their community.  As always, don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions and please feel free to share this email with your neighbours.
Take care.

"May 22nd, 2012 6:30-8:00 Community Meeting Notes:

Meeting started off with Mike explaining why we are having a meeting, to get the knowledge and input of the parents and children who use the playground daily on ways to improve Ritchie Parkette. Over 25 people in attendance plus their children.

Ray Stukas spoke about his experience in the City and what he does.

Mike spoke about new sand coming in 2012, the possibility of additional back lighting in the 2013 minor capital budget.  As well staff has been asked to look into the broken water fountain.  Briefly discussed the possibility of a new lexan ping pong table.

Things the community likes about the park:

• People noted they liked the location and intimate feel, the fact that it is closed in and a safe place, no through traffic on street,  that there are trees, a mixture of different types of space,  a great selling feature for buying/selling a house, a hub for community events and building, and that there is one entrance so it is easier for parents to watch kids.

Aspects that could use change or improvement:

• It was noted that kids can hide in the back corner (aprox north-east corner) where there is little visibility and people pee back there.  There was a comment that this area needs to be utilized better maybe by levelling it off, putting a picknick table there, sod, aerate soil.  Ray stated he could look into this but that he would have to be conscious of damaging the trees.  Later there was discussion about removing one of the trees in this area or other areas to make more space,  Councillor Perks clearly stated he would not support such an initiative.
• There is sometimes an issue with young ruffians coming to the park later in the evening who scare away little kids and take over.  Police have not been coming by on patrols in the evening as often as they used to.  Mike noted he would let the community police liaison know about the issue so they can act accordingly. 
• There was unanimous consensus to take the pergola down and open the area up for the time being as a green space.  The pergola is wobbly, older teens climb on it, no plants are growing on it, etc, it does not have a us for the community.  Ray stated it wouldn't be too difficult to have the pergola removed.  Councillor Perks asked again if everyone is ok with this, the community confirmed.
• There was discussion about the water fountain which due to its proximity to the sand is always broken.  Residents expressed interest in having the water fountain moved to another location that is not right beside the sandbox. Ray will look into this.
• There was some talk about the possibility of woodchips vs sand, there was no clear consensus on the issue.  Councillor Perks noted the city has 'new sand technology' that he is told supposedly is better than the current sand we have, the new sand coming in will be this.
• A resident mentioned that the red spiral climber was coming loose, Ray will look into this.
• It was noted that although the parkette is not very large residents would like to see if there was a way to expand green space so smaller kids could play soccer, football, running room, etc.
• It was brought up that another swing set, or additional swings might be worthwhile as there is a high demand from kids.  Ray will look into this.
• In the back there is currently lighting being run from one of the houses, this will need to be removed.  This lead to a discussion about additional directional lighting for the back pad.  Ray will look into this for the 2013 minor capital budget.
• There was discussion of removing a one of the picknick tables to create more space, or if the back corner is re-landscaped, putting it there.  Ray will look into these options.
• Concerns were raised about the parkette becoming a place for older teens or adults to hang out at and have noisy social events (as opposed to family community events) in the evening.  The group agreed it should remained focused on young children and families in the community.
• The community would like to see a list of possible purchases (i.e. ping pong table, climbing wall, etc) they could have for the parkette.  A list/catalogue will be provided.
• A question was asked if section 37 funding from proposed near by developments (i.e Howard Park, etc) was the source of the funding.  Councillor Perks stated that the money has come from juggling budgets around, ward wide section 37, and that any money from near by developments would not be available for numerous years as they have not yet even had site plans approved.
• There was discussion about getting an additional entrances at the back of the park.  Residents had a mixed opinion on this proposal; some felt it would allow a wider amount of people to enter, others felt that they felt it was easier to supervise children and safer without a back entrance.  Councillor Perks spoke to the fact not having an entrance at the back makes policing easier (and the park less attractive for illegal activity as there is no easy escape), traffic safety concerns with vehicles coming down the alley and not being able to see children as they run out.l
• Finally, the group mentioned the list on the friends of ritchie parkette website and the possibility of getting some cost estimates (the list includes: new sands or wood chips, new benches, a functioning water fountain, water access in the winter for the skating rink, a weatherproof ping pong table, tearing down the pergola for more usable green space increased maintenance, bbq, climbing wall, Roofed area, latch door access to the laneway, bulletin board for community notices, imax theatre, new grass, tether ball.  Ray stated he could help provide some cost estimates and further expertise.
If you or your neighbours have any further ideas or questions please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to answer them or for more technical questions forward them onto Ray Stukas."
June 22nd, 2012,
"I have received an update from Ray Stukas ( on some of the questions that were asked at the meeting.  He states,
• Our Parks Construction Supervisor has advised me an additional swing bay (1 strap and 1 baby swing) can be added. This will be done in July.

• The requests to move the water fountain and additional lighting in the back of the parkette have been added to the 2013 Minor Capital list. Priorities for the coming year are set for the District towards the end of the year. Please note Health and Safety issues are given priority. In this case we would consider the lighting a Health and Safety issue.
• Will be meeting with Forestry to have their input on how much fill we can add in the back corner before we affect root zones of the adjacent trees. Relocating the table will depend on how much level area we can create in the northeast corner. (We have a new Parks Supervisor for this Ward and I will take him to Ritchie once he gets settled in)
• The  pergola roof was taken down Wednesday. The posts are in saddles which have to be ground down. Should be done today. We didn't want to lift the concrete footings out of the ground because large holes would be left which would be filled now but not seeded or sodded until the weather cools.

• There is a good comprehensive website at which is one of the companies that provides playground equipment to the City. Click on the Ontario section. Please remember that any playground equipment bought and installed in Toronto Parks must follow our Purchasing procedures. It is very difficult to Sole Source this type of item so we may not be able to obtain the exactly model identified. The website will give residents an idea of what is out there and when the time comes we will write the specifications accordingly."
Michael Butler
Constituency Assistant
City Of Toronto
Office Of Councillor Gord Perks - Ward 14
100 Queen Street West, Suite A14
Toronto, ON  M5H 2N2
Phone: 416-392-0202
Fax: 416-392-0398

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ritchie Walkway to Loblaws is moving

We were about to see a sudden decline in pedestrian traffic past the parkette with the removal of the pathway to Loblaws to make room for the new Habitat for Humanity house. As it turns out the Herman plan has been scrapped and a new walkway will be created at the end of Ritchie Avenue.

See the plans here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

If anyone is around on Victoria Day (Monday May 21st) we will be having a small fireworks display.

Please meet at Ritchie park around 6:30 or 7pm and we can have some snacks and then when it's dark enough we'll begin the display!

Feel free to bring peanut free snacks/juice/water to the park for all to enjoy. Thanks to the generosity of many neighbours we will have enough fireworks!

Thanks everyone and hope to see you there!!

Rain date TBD-possibly Canada Day??

And don't forget to come the following day (May 22nd) to meet with Gord Perks-see post below

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Community Meeting in the Park!

Great news everyone! Councillor Gord Perks, Parks Manager Ray Stukas and hopefully you will all be attending a community meeting at the Parkette on Tuesday May 22nd at 6:30pm. (Rain date on the following day). Read notice here. This is a rare case where politics, usually an abstract concept, makes its way down into our day to day lives. This is an opportunity for us to interact with our government and see change right in our neighbourhood.

Gord is looking for ideas, suggestions and creative thoughts to help guide "future enhancements". Our little green patch of parkette looks like it might get a little financial love. It has been busier and busier these last few years and 77 Ritchie hasn't gotten bigger despite all the new developments in the area. Perhaps that is where the money is coming from? Come next week and find out.

A lot of ideas have been floated by various neighbours and it would be great if we could come prepared to the meeting with a few ideas in hand. Some proposals that have been consider so far:

  • new sands or wood chips
  • new benches
  • a functioning water fountain
  • water access in the winter for the skating rink
  • a weatherproof ping pong table
  • tearing down the pergola for more usable green space
  • increased maintenance
  • bbq
  • climbing wall
  • Roofed area
  • latch door access to the laneway
  • bulletin board for community notices
  • imax theatre
  • new grass
  • tether ball
That's just a few but I'm sure we can do better. Please come with your thoughts and enthusiasm and show our councillor we care.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Egg Hunt Photos

From all accounts it seems the 2nd annual Easter Egg Hunt in Ritchie Parkette was an unqualified success. Many thanks to the Almontes for spearheading as well as all those that helped out in one way or another. Feel free to share any photos of your own too.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Egg Hunt!

This guy is coming to Ritchie Park on Good Friday

And this is what the park will look like at 2 pm that day

So if you want one of your kids to be grabbing some eggs from the limb of a tree come on down!!!!

Friday April 6th at 2 pm

Rain date will be Sat. April 7th at 2 pm

Kids can hunt down some plastic eggs filled with peanut free chocolates. They can also bash the crap out of an Easter egg pinata stuffed with small toys

And they can also decorate hand made bunny masks and run around the park smashing into each other because I didn't cut the eye holes properly

So come one, come all!!!

Any parent who can help set up please meet me in the park by 1:45 bunny costume optional

Questions? email me at

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This is a test


Thanks for the rink, sorry for the weather.

On this glorious spring day I think it only fitting to bid farewell to the rink for another year. El nina certainly didn't help matters out this season with the warmest winter I can remember. The rink only had a few operational days but they were enjoyed by quite a few - including my daughter Camille who learned to skate. Instead of showing the pathetic shape of the rink as it lies in state today I thought I'd post a couple pics of happier days.

With equal billing taking effect, next winter we will have to come up with a solution for the increased water bill that our charitable neighbours next door will have to endure. We have a few sunshine-filled months to think about it though...