Monday, March 19, 2012

The Word on Willow Square

 After all the work of the last two years getting the first part of the square built and installed in front of the WIA, we took a few months rest to savour the achievement that so many people brought to life.  Then we got back to work with the city to see if we could make Phase 2 happen this spring and summer. Phase 2 of Willow Square refers to the area on the other side of the square in front of the Willow Garden, the proposed location of the restored Landing Stage and pebble mosaics squares made in the workshops last winter. This is City land and we wanted to make sure that the Landing Stage would be under their future care (and insurance) once it was restored.

We have met with City Planning (Public Art), Economic Development and Culture (Cultural Assets), Heritage Toronto, City Parks (Warren) and Pam McConnell’s office. We were thrilled to find there was a lot of interest in the project and the Landing Stage and we received some helpful advice on how to move forward. Some money has been made available to start the project by hiring an historical engineer to research the Landing Stage and develop a plan for its restoration. Parks will be able to provide some in-kind services and we are hoping that the City will recognize the cultural value of the Landing Stage and commit to its reconstruction. We will still have to raise some money for installation but it seems a manageable amount, somewhere around $12,000. Heritage Toronto has offered to make their charitable status available to us for fundraising. All very hopeful but the timing is unclear right now until we have the engineer’s plan.

We have also been working with the WIA to look at joint fundraising for this project and the work that will need to be done to repair and renovate the clubhouses over the next several years. Meanwhile we have spray painted the design of Phase 2 on the ground of the former parking lot and garbage transfer site. Take a look. And with our early spring, all those thousands of bulbs that were planted last fall in the gardens have been uncovered and are starting to poke through the mulch. Keep a look out for those flowers – they should be spectacular. Jerry Englar has done a beautiful landscape design for the Phase 1 gardens, with small trees, shrubs and perennials and we are hoping to get those in the ground in the spring.

Penny, Kathleen and Jerry

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