On January 18, 2014, the Storefront hosted a charrette for the youth of Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park as well as the residents of 4000/4010 Lawrence Avenue East to envision three community spaces: 1) the site of 4000/4010 and 4040 Lawrence Avenue East, 2) the community garden located at the Storefront, and 3) A-Z Variety Store located at the base of 4000 Lawrence Avenue East. With over 50 people in attendance, including local youth, residents, urban planners, architects, designers, and public service workers, the group took the opportunity to envision the spaces without limitations.
Participants were able to spend the day envisioning the space that they felt most connected with. As a result, they were able to dream big and design a space where the community could connect with and thrive in.
The site plan group envisioned a more connected, accessible, family-friendly site, which included community gathering spaces, various sports and play areas and more green spaces.
This healthier, more active lifestyle was aligned with the community garden group’s vision of a more connected community. Their ideas included community led, knowledge sharing workshops, community gathering areas (such as benches, fire pit/BBQ and picnic tables) as well other improvements on practical matters, such as open space pollinator plantings, gravity-fed drip irrigation and more electrical and water access points.
The A-Z Variety Store group, new to the Storefront’s visioning sessions, was really excited to re-envision what a convenience store could mean to the community, especially because Lucy, the owner of the store was also present. Lucy had already been working with the Toronto Public Health on their Health Corner Stores initiative but this was an opportunity to include the community in the ideation phase. The group also envisioned a more connected community, connected through healthy lifestyles and healthy food choices. This was the opportunity to dream big and potentially propose zoning changes in the renovation. Their ideas included opening up the entrance to the public and creating an accessible outdoor seating area, bringing in fresh produce and partnering with the Storefront to access the community kitchen to educate about healthy food choices.
The ideas generated from the charrette were inspiring and yet also quite possible. This was the just the beginning!
On November 18th, an Open House was held to celebrate local planning projects in the KGO neighbourhood, and to present information about Community Planning Boards. Thanks go out to our presenters from CDI (Community.Design.Initiative.), Youth-Friendly Initiative, TENT (Tornto Envisioning Neighbourhoods Together), CCE (Centre for City Ecology) and University of Toronto, with a special thank you to our keynote speaker Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto Chief Planner for coming out to address the neighbourhood and experience the energy and enthusiasm that KGO residents have been building.