2009 in Review.
Cabbagetown South Residents' Association has 4 organizational objectives. Here is what we have done over the course of 2009 to further those objectives.
1. To promote the beauty, safety, environmental quality & economic vitality of this historic community.
Environmental Quality: We sponsored an Earth Hour Candle Light Walk through Cabbagetown South in March sharing information about our historic neighborhood. We provide information and tips on our website on how to conserve and save the environment. We have reduced the number of newsletters we publish in print format to two per year by focusing on growing our email readers.
Safety: We have a wide variety of information on our website specifically about safety within our neighborhood as well as personal safety tips. We invited members of the Toronto Police Community Police Unit to speak at our November meeting. We supported Reclaim the Lanes with flyers and word of mouth about the importance of reporting crimes (sexual activity, drug consumption and drug sale etc)
Economic Vitality: We have invited businesses within the boundaries of Cabbagetown South to attend our meetings and become members through individual solicitation and a direct mail drop. Thanks to the efforts of Mark Craven we regularly profile businesses on our website to let members know about their services.
Beauty: We have documented the beauty of our area in photographs. Thanks to the efforts of Patricia Smith we created a photo inventory of all the garbage bins on the front yards of our heritage homes to show we were serious about the impact of this blight on our historic Victorian neighbourhood! A small high quality photo book called ‘Millers Bins’ was created. We met with Solid Waste Management and successfully lobbied with the City of Toronto to eliminate garbage and recycling bins in the front yards. The City now permits anyone without backyard access to use bags rather than the bins. We sponsored the Community Clean-up in the spring as well as Clean-up Teams that went out numerous times throughout the 2009 Garbage Strike. We sponsored the Container Garden Competition and identified a number of residents who did an outstanding job of beautifying their homes using container gardens. They received our CSA Spirit Award Certification. We created a section on our website called Changing Seasons Photo Gallery and members can send us photos they take through the seasons in Cabbagetown.
2. To promote the quality of residential and business life in and around the area.
We have implemented a Good Neighbour Program and are reaching out to All Saints’ Church and the Friendship Center to discuss community safety and other concerns. Through the efforts of members JB Joly and Mark Craven, a clean-up of the All Saints’ gardens was successfully completed.
We have been working with the City of Toronto Parks Department to beautify Ontario Parkette and turn it from a magnet for drugs, prostitution and loitering into a family friendly park that residents can enjoy. We received a $2000 Clean and Beautiful Grant to improve the Ontario Parkette thanks to the ongoing efforts of Don Purvis and Gayle Murphy.
What’s in a Laneway Name? We provided information on the story behind the new laneway names and organized a walk throughout the laneway system to share the story/history behind the new names.
We monitor issues related to safety reported by other community associations such as Homewood, Aberdeen, Don Vale and the Garden Area.
Recently we began to look at a Heritage Designation for Cabbagetown South. CSA Board Member Wallace Immen is also a member of the CPA and has been instrumental in leading this important work.
3. To promote a shared sense of community that respects the diversity of all residents.
One of our primary and biggest initiatives in 2009 was to implement a new website. Our overall goal was to be able to communicate more effectively with our members in a timelier manner. Through our new website we have opened Discussion Forums for members to share their opinions. We also regularly Poll members on their opinion on important community issues. We share the minutes of previous meetings with members who were unable to attend.
We created a coffee table book called “The Architecture of Cabbagetown South” that shows the beauty and diversity of the area as well as sponsored an art exhibit at Ben Wicks as part of the Art Salons.
4. To organize projects and activities throughout the year that bring people together and help make this a vibrant place to live.
We sponsored a wide variety of events in 2009 with a specific focus on bringing people from all walks of life and interests together. Our ultimate goal was to increase membership and participation in Cabbagetown South.
- Earth Hour Candlelight Historic Walk – focused on connecting with people interested in the Environment and our Historic Community.
- Paws in the Parkette – focused on people in the community with dogs.
- Project Chirp – introduced bird and nature lovers to the concept of attracting songbirds and butterflies to our urban backyards.
- Container Garden Competition – We documented all of the beautiful containers on display throughout the spring, summer and fall.
- Guided Garden Walk - got neighbours together who enjoy gardening and mingling in a relaxed setting.
- Cabbagetown Art Salons – allowed us to connect to the many art lovers within the community and also to work with the Aberdeen Association.
- Community Yard Sale – allowed residents to sell unwanted items to sell from their front yards or set-up a table at Central Neighborhood House.
- Halloween Pumpkins – were delivered along with a welcome letter to every new home owner within the community over the last two years! A total of 75 pumpkins were delivered.
- Holiday Cheer – We ended the year with Holiday Cheer at the Ontario Bistro with over 50 people in attendance! Thanks to the efforts of Don Purvis we brought the sparkle to Ontario Parkette with our Victorian Decorating party. We ended the year on December 23rd with a guided Holiday Lights Walk through the neighbourhood. This walk featured information about the historic homes and laneways in the area and ended with a complimentary cup of hot chocolate from the Starbucks at Aberdeen and Parliament.
We want to thank all those members of the Association, and the Board, and members of the community who worked so hard and so successfully, making 2009 a truly positive year. Look out 2010. Here we come!