Volunteers restore park used for 'Occupy' encampment
Published Thursday, December 8, 2011 1:03PM EST
The park that hosted Occupy Toronto protesters for 40 days this fall was restored in less than 48 hours, thanks to dozens of volunteers and hundreds of donated rolls of sod.
The project began Wednesday and was done by mid-day Thursday, as about 150 volunteers from Landscape Ontario and the Nursery Sod Growers of Ontario laid 11,000 square metres of donated sod in St. James Park -- which had become a muddy mess after the lengthy encampment.
Now, the downtown green space looks inviting once more, a transformation made possible because of the relatively mild weather. If the ground had already frozen, the sod wouldn't have been able to properly send roots into the ground.
The new look was a welcome sight to those in the neighbourhood who weren't pleased to see what it had become over the duration of the live-in protest.
"I think it's good... When it was Occupy Toronto, it was really nasty," said one local resident.
"They've done a wonderful job," another told CTV News. "I wish I was here to help them."
The donation -- worth about $60,000 -- was a welcome surprise to the city during a time of budget cuts. Coun. Norm Kelly was on hand to thank the group for its donation.
"It was an unexpected but delightful contribution of your organizations," said Kelly, a Scarborough councillor and chair of the city's parks and environment committee.
The brainchild behind the donation, Kyle Tobin, said it didn't take much to rally his colleagues to lend a hand.
"We're making sure this is done right," said Tobin, founder of the Landscape Design Group and organizer of the project. "We've prepared the ground. We've aerated it."
With a report by CTV Toronto's Ashley Rowe