The "Greening" of San Romanoway, Jane/Finch, 2013 --->2014
Last September the Toronto and Region Conservation, through their SNAP project, held a wonderful public engagement event at the densely populated San Romanoway apartment complex, located at the corner of Jane and Finch. More than 400 residents came out to share their dreams for the Property. Those dreams are now starting to take shape!
Revitalization and Greening of Open Spaces:
Based on the residents input, a design competition was launched in the internet last May through a crowdsourcing website, to gather proposals from designers around the world, to revitalize and green the open spaces around the towers. The competition is now open, and the general public will be able to vote on-line on their preferred proposal. Best voted proposals will go to a jury, for the selection of the winner. The jury is comprised by residents and the project partners: property owners and managers, the City of Toronto’s Tower Renewal Office, San Romanoway Revitalization Association, the Black Creek Community Farm and the Toronto and Region Conservation.
The design will include the following elements:
Plantings of native trees, shrubs and flowers to attract wildlife and contribute to the urban forest, complemented with sitting shaded areas, educational signs and trails for the community to enjoy.
A small greenhouse with rainwater harvesting and compost facilities, to support the green features of the project
A beautiful community garden and fruit orchard, designed as a vibrant hub, with sitting and shaded gathering areas, that will generate food, jobs, skills training opportunities to residents and activities for all ages.
Pollinator gardens for butterflies and bees, providing ecological functions to help sustain the vegetable gardens and fruit orchard, while beautifying the space.
A small seasonal market to sell locally grown food and flowers and other items produced by residents
A simple outdoor theatre, integrated into the landscape to facilitate outdoor environmental education for children and to allow for cultural activities
Opportunities for art installations
Lighting with renewable sources
Low Impact Development elements for the sustainable management of stormwater
We are encouraging everyone to VOTE especially residents of the San Romanoway towers. Make your voice heard by voting online for your favourite proposed design between July 2 and July 16 here: https://projexity.com/greeningthegrounds#/main/designs
Need help? Don’t have a computer? Have questions? The Black Creek SNAP team will be in the lobby of each building (5, 10 and 25 San Romanoway) on July 10 and 14 from 5pm to 7pm to answer your questions and make voting easy for you.
Implementation of the project is anticipated to start in the spring of 2015!
Balcony Vegetable Gardening:
Beyond sharing their dreams towards improvements of the outdoor areas, through a survey, 85% of San Romanoway Residents expressed their interest on learning how to grow vegetables on their balconies. The Project Team partnered with FoodShare to implement a “Grow Food on your own Balcony” pilot project. On May 17, around 60 residents were trained on container gardening and on how to build self-watering containers. Free materials, including containers, soil, seeds and seedlings were distributed. In exchange, participants were asked to track and report back on the amount of food produced, and their general experience.
San Romanoway residents Adina James, Charity Fedjilawn and Cassandra Alexander, were coached by FoodShare and hired throughout the growing season to mentor their fellow neighbours on gardening issues. The three community leaders are providing technical support; creating networking opportunities for gardeners, and recording food production amounts. They are also recording gardeners’ experiences in the process.
Working with local Talent:
Joel Kamalando, a talented resident from 10 San Romanoway with passion for photgraphy, was hired to capture with his camera the project progress.
This project has been funded by the Metcalf Foundation.