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Our International Women’s Day shout out to the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee

Our city is full of inspiring people, and you can find a bunch of them at the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee. If you’re not familiar with Thorncliffe, it’s a high-rise dominated corner in East York, which the Toronto Star’s Catherine Porter once described as “the city’s version Hong Kong.” It’s a popular neighbourhood for newcomers, and incomes are lower than the Toronto average. And while there’s not a lot of green space, there are a lot of determined women.

A few years ago, the neighbourhood’s RV Burgess Park  was full of dirt, had no sod, and kids always had to line up for the few swings which were available. “The water wouldn’t work,” Sabina Ali, a key member of the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee, and a mother of four, told CBC radio’s Matt Galloway on Metro Morning.

thorncliffephoto via Toronto Park People

The Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee came together after a group of six mothers and professionals met in the park back in 2008. Ali says they had a common vision to “build a beautiful and engaging place for families and children.” Now, thanks to the committee’s determination, R.V. Burgess has transformed into an amazing community space, with a splash pad, swings, sod, picnic tables, benches, a community garden, arts programs, a thriving weekly bazaar, a tandoor oven and a winter carnival. It has also become the first park in Canada to win a “Frontline Park” recognition from the City Parks Alliance, considered to be the most important city parks advocacy group in the U.S. Meanwhile, the women at the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee are still going strong, and have plans to bring in new playground equipment to the park in 2015, and absolutely are an example of the amazing things determined women can do when they work together. 

Sabina Ali quotes via CBC Radio Metro Morning interview on February, 21, 2013

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