Neshama Playground

Oriole Park's Neshama Playground.
Neshama Playground: Oriole Park’s colourful and full accessible playground. Loved by kids and adults alike.

Not far from our community garden is Neshama Playground, Canada’s first state-of-the-art, fully accessible playground for children of all ages and abilities.

Located in the North east corner of Oriole Park, the playground features a water play area, sensory musical features, Braille panels, merry-go-round and bounce pad, accessible swings and play structures, and colourful, springy surfacing.  There’s also plenty of shade from surrounding trees and modern wheelchair accessible washroom facilities nearby.


The playground is open year-round with a wading pool and water features running daily from late June to late August. All children are welcome and encouraged to play with one and other with no boundaries or discrimination. It’s no surprise it’s rated as one of the Best Playgrounds in Toronto by BlogTO.

The playground is celebrating its 3-year anniversary on July 20th so we encourage you to stop by and enjoy the playground  plus don’t forget to visit our garden while you’re there!


A Note of Thanks from Our Friends

We got a big note of thanks from our friend at Churches on-the-Hill Foodbank. The vegetables from our first harvest were super well received!

To the volunteers and Oriole Park Community Garden Steering Committee

Thank you for your donations to the Churches on-the-Hill Foodbank. It is hard to imagine what a difference fresh vegetables can make in changing a diet for our clients who do not have the ability to grow or purchase fresh produce on their own. The variety of vegetables that you supply is wonderful and it is all the better as it is local, fresh –you can’t any fresher  than a few hours! This allows our clients to try new food items and with the help of some of our volunteers try new recipes.

From our volunteers and most of all our clients, thank you for your generosity and hard work.

Enjoy your summer.

Ken Burns
President, Churches on-the-Hill Foodbank

You’re welcome! There’s more to come!

Our Little Free Library

Have you noticed our Little Free Library? We hope you have as it’s become a great addition to our park!

Our very own Little Free Library!
Our very own Little Free Library!

The idea for having one for the garden came not so long-ago when we noticed how fantastic the Little Free Libraries were and suggested to Josh Matlow, our Councillor for Ward 22, that we should have one in Oriole Park. Josh was very interested and Toronto Parks agreed to install it, and the rest is as they say, history.  In the first months, books flooded from the community to our little library.

The Little Free Library is a gathering place where anybody can stop by, pick up a book (or two), enjoy a read in our garden and bring back another book to share. ‘Take a book, return a book’, simple as that. You’re sure to find a new book every time you visit!

Last time we checked, our Little Free Library had books from the following authors:

The Canadians:

  • Alice Munro
  • Michael Ondaatje
  • June Callwood
  • Peter Gzowski
  • Bob Rae

And other popular authors such as:

  • Roald Dahl
  • Michael Crichton
  • John Grisham
  • And Nancy Drew mysteries

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We also regularly replenish the library and rotate the books so there is a fresh stock every week. Don’t forget to visit the other Little Free Libraries in our community. You’ll be surprised how many are just around the corner…


For those of you who are interested in donating books, but there’s not enough room in the library, please leave your books (in a plastic bag just in case it rains) on the roof of the library. There is enough space on top of the library to leave extra books and we will take care of the rest.

The Weekly Leaf-let: OPCG Garden notes for the weeks of June 30 – July 5

This was a big week for the OPCG, as it marked our first harvest of the season!  The garden is now coming in quite quickly, and regular harvests will be taking place from now on.

New plants and seeds also continue to be added to the garden, including eggplant, spinach, beets, endive, radish, and more greens.

A very smart suggestion was also made this week to help with the number of cigarette butts being left around the garden grounds.  A “butt” container has been put by the bench, and it seems to be working well!  Fewer cigarette butts on the ground = a prettier garden for everyone 🙂

Sean getting our first harvest ready!
Sean getting our first harvest ready!
Lots of lettuce ready to donate to the food bank

First batch of radishes picked for harvest
First batch of radishes picked for harvest

The Weekly Leaf-let: June 8-14

Gardeners this week: Ingrid, Michelle, Winifred, Peter, Dean, Dorothy, Evelyn, Derek

Thanks to all the rain this week, OPCG gardeners didn’t have to worry too much about watering.  We focused instead on weeding, transplanting, and finishing up the planting for the year.

The following herbs were added to the herb bed:

  • Thai basil
  • Genovese basil
  • Chamomile
  • Fennel
  • Sage

Garlic scapes were also harvested!

Some of the gardeners were lucky enough to benefit from the knowledge of a friendly fellow Ward 22-er, who helped identify some of the unknown plants (and weeds!) in the native plants bed.

Finally, several of the gardeners made note of the insect life living in and around the garden.  These included fat earthworms, spiders, and a rather spectacular brown and red moth.  Some photos of these friends, and our progress this week, are included below!

The Weekly Leaf-let: June 1-7

Despite some issues with the watering system (which led to some creative watering solutions!), OPCG members were able to accomplish a great amount of work this week.

Planting was definitely priority number one.  The following seeds and seedlings were added to our growing collection of herbs, fruits and vegetable plants:

Summer thyme
German thyme
Italian parsley
Thai basil

Fruits and Vegetables:
Mixed greens
Habanero peppers

Weeding and watering were also done this week.  Some of the members needed to transport water from the washrooms by the playground due to the broken watering system.  The vegetable garden definitely appreciated the extra effort! Hopefully, this problem will be resolved quickly so that members can get back to drenching themselves with the garden hose 🙂

Green and Growing

It's growing!
It’s growing!

After a warm period following the long 2015 winter, our garden is growing and greening up quite nicely. The native plants bed containing most of the perennials is filling out the bed with some of them already flowering. The herbs bed had a rather rough winter and we lost our lavender. We also lost most of the sage. Fortunately a single bunch for it was spared and is now doing quite well in its niche between the boulders. The chocolate mint is doing well, as mint always does.

Given the recent plantings, our vegetables bed is still a bit bare but showing progress. The beets are off to a good start and both the eggplant and tomatoes are looking quite healthy. There was a good showing of people last Saturday to help out with sowing seeds in the empty spots of the garden and to thoroughly water all the garden beds.

We also have a team new volunteers to lend a helping hand out with the garden. We are very happy to have them join us in contributing to our community with their expertise and their energy!

Here’s to a great growing season!

Thank Yous

We had a fabulous ceremony last week to celebrate the opening of our new community garden. We were pleased to see so many of our neighbours coming out to see what is going on in that southern edge of the park, and to taste the yummy treats donated by our sponsors — Bite Me Gourmet Hot Dogs, The Mad Bean Coffee House and Rachel’s Coffee House. We are also grateful to Fanfare Flowers and especially to Sheridan Nurseries for their generous gift.

Councillor Josh Matlow expressed his excitement at the prospect of Ward 22’s first garden of this kind, and our Honourable Carolyn Bennett and Eric Hoskin came to show their support as well.

We’re off to a good start. Now, we just need to get those plants in that soil!


Growing Upwards

Me, I’m at the beginning of a whole lot of new.  I’m a new member to the Oriole Park Community Garden Committee. In fact, I’m new to gardening altogether. I’m also a new mom (a pretty new mom) to twins — two little toddlers. And, I’m excited to bring these — the garden and my kids — together.

My children motivated me to get involved with the community garden. Since moving into the neighbourhood several years ago, I’ve wanted to become more involved in this community which I love. Since their birth we’ve especially taken to Oriole Park. It’s a great space, full of lively activity — kids playing, people walking, dogs and squirrels, baseball and readers. I’m happy to be a part of a group that is now working to make our green space even richer.

It’s been an exciting time for my kids. Our daily walks around the neighbourhood have afforded us the opportunity to watch the dirty browns of late winter give way to the softer hues of early spring. Bright, light greens have sprung from between the decayed leaves, and these have grown taller as my little guys have learned to avoid them with their steps. We’ve watched spots of colour emerge as the earliest flowers have bloomed amongst the grogrowing upwardsund cover — mostly purples and whites. Then, the tulips and flowering trees brightened our walks. The kids watched as buds turned fleetingly into magnolia flowers and then these into petals which fell to carpet the ground. Now, the colourful pinks of my neighbours trees are turning to green. Each morning, my children look out the window to see what has changed overnight. Each day they see something new, something different than what it was only the evening before when they said goodnight to the street.

Now, with our new Oriole Park Community Garden, on our way to the playground each day, we’ll be able to step past the flower beds and watch as plants we’ve helped put into the earth bloom and grow. I know they’ll look excitedly to see each day what’s stayed the same and what’s new. And, I’ll be excited to learn amongst my neighbours how to make a garden grow.

Looking forward to seeing you out there, friends.