January 14th Meeting Summary

Sally giving a pitch for Black Oak Triangle.Sally giving a pitch for Black Oak Triangle.

The January Fuzzy Boundaries meeting at the new Boys and Girls Club on Ernest was a great success and was moderated by Fuzzy member Warren McPherson. About forty people, kids and adults alike, gathered to make their pitch for names. There were no guest speakers -- just a group of neighbours discussing the community and what it should be called. Suggestions ranged from Black Oak Triangle to the Nook to Perth Square and the Wedge. The list goes on. One attendee commented that it was an "amazing" community meeting. "People shot each other down in the politest way possible."

Special Screening of NFB Documentary "The Travellers" (Nov. 12)

Special screening on Thursday, November 12 at 6:45 p.m. of the NFB documentary The Travellers at the Perth/Dupont location of the Toronto Public Library (1589 Dupont). The film tells the story of Canada's first folk group which included a longtime neighbourhood resident. If you remember the song "This Is Your Land, This Our Land" you will know The Travellers. Come early, seating is limited.

All 180+ names listed on the Railpath

September 15th Meeting Summary

Fuzzy Audience: Approximately 60 people came to the meeting.Fuzzy Audience: Approximately 60 people came to the meeting.

Fuzzy Boundaries featured on Seneca @ York News

West Toronto Neighbourhood searches for an official name, S@Y News, September 8, 2009. Seneca College Television student and neighbourhood resident Chantal Saxe reports on the naming process that officially begins on September 15th.

Maps of neighbourhood boundaries

How do you define your neighbourhood?

There seems to be some general agreement to the idea of the "fuzzy neighbourhood" being more or less bordered by the train tracks on all sides of us. But all around that triangular shape there are countless personal neighbourhood boundaries, each one tied into a particular lifestyle and routine. They narrow and widen depending on which stores we shop at, which parks we frequent, whether we have kids, dogs, kites, bikes, or cars, and which direction we travel when we head out of our area. In these ways neighbourhood boundaries will never be a fixed thing for all -- and surely they even change for individuals over time.

Click here to see how University of Toronto map librarian and local resident Marcel Fortin has created a multi-layered map, reflecting the borders of some of our neighbours.

You can help us add to the layers by contacting Marcel (marcel.fortin@utoronto.ca) with details about your own neighbourhood boundaries, or discuss everyone else's maps by leaving a comment here.

FBI at the Railpath Parade and BIG Festival

FB at the June 20th 2009 Railpath Parade: Bruce Ward and Kevin Putnam at the Railpath opening parade, starting under the Wallace Ave. bridge.FB at the June 20th 2009 Railpath Parade: Bruce Ward and Kevin Putnam at the Railpath opening parade, starting under the Wallace Ave. bridge.
The friends of the West Toronto Railpath rallied a crowd on a rainy Saturday to welcome the first phase of the new linear park that spans the entire Western side of the [insert name here] neighbourhood. We owe this dedicated group a huge thanks for their effort to encourage the City of Toronto to build this amazing park at a cost of almost $6-million.

While the official opening is still a few months off, the freshly paved trail already offers a car-free cycle from Cariboo to Dundas through a sculptured landscape with hundreds of new native trees and plants.

The Railpath gathering was high-spirited despite the rain and provided a chance to chat about the Fuzzy Boundaries naming project with some who already knew about the effort and others just learning about it for the first time.

The rain also made an appearance at the 2nd Annual BIG On Bloor Festival. While local history buff Michael Monastyrskyj came better prepared than we did and lots of people stopped to look at his archival photo exhibit, the rain forced us to keep our photo display under-wraps and made it tough to sign-up for the FBI (that's Fuzzy Boundaries Information!) e-mail.

When the rain let up, the streets filled again and we talked about the naming project in front of Yasi's roadside eatery and the Perth/Dupont Community Garden tent until dinnertime. You can still join the FBI and our archival photo display of matching old and new photographs by Vic Gedris is on all summer at the Perth/Dupont branch of the Toronto Public Library.

Fuzzy Boundaries at the Perth Park Festival

Perth Park was busy on Saturday, June 13, with the second annual summer festival, a resident-led effort supported by the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club. Thank you to Carla Heavenly and her team for bringing this great event to the community.

Members of Fuzzy Boundaries had a table for the afternoon event, featuring information about the naming project as well as a display by Vic Gedris matching old and new photographs of the area. Though response to the naming project was extremely positive, one long-time resident grumbled that he’d given up on such community initiatives years ago, “but I could look at these photos all day,” he said.

Plenty of people stopped to chat and signed up to receive email notices of future meetings and events related to the project. Click here to join the growing mailing list.

How things went at the first meeting

The first Fuzzy Boundaries community meeting, held at Perth Avenue Housing Cooperative on May 13, proved a great start to our name-finding process. The room was full and the discussion, as expected, was lively. Before the talk got started, people milled around and looked at the various photo displays that offered a glimpse of the community in bygone days.

After introductions by Fuzzy Boundary member Chris Kwaczek, Kevin Putnam set the tone by laying out the group’s intentions: to inspire the community (newcomers and old-timers alike) to find a name; and through that name to foster a sense of collective identity. He addressed concerns about gentrification – “We could start calling the neighbourhood Rosedale tomorrow, but it won’t make the houses any bigger” – and underscored the fact that this is a resident-led initiative, rather than one driven by real estate agents or developers. Whether we act or not, this “orphaned zone” won’t be nameless for long. A growing number of residents like the idea that we should be the ones to choose a name for our neighbourhood – if we don’t, the developers will.

Next up, life-long area resident and local history buff Michael Monastyrskyj spoke about his personal experience growing up in the neighbourhood, and how he has seen it change over time, moving from a largely Ukrainian and Italian population, to a predominantly Portuguese population, to the highly diverse community we have now. He made interesting observations about how one defines a neighbourhood, and how our personal interpretations of this will differ depending on our lifestyles, our routes to work, and so on. (You might also be interested in his blog, http://bloorlansdowne.blogspot.com/, which he bills as “My personal take on life in a unique west-end Toronto neighbourhood.”)

After Michael, former City of Toronto Planner Beate Bowron spoke to the group about the various elements that might come into play when defining a community. She listed nine of these including old municipal boundaries, historic figures and cultural or ethnic groups. Ms. Bowron offered valuable, objective insight from a planner’s perspective, and suggested that the area’s railroad tracks form a well-defined (rather than fuzzy) boundary.

More photos from the event can be found in our Photo Gallery. Bios of our guest speakers can be found here.

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