Downtown east end gets ready for a cleaning

Beach Mirror By Joanna Lavoie April 24 2014 While spring may be the ideal time to clean your home and/or yard, it?s also a perfect occasion to give the community a good scrubbing by taking part in one of dozens of local clean-up events, set to take place throughout Riverdale, Leslieville and the Beach this weekend and in the weeks to come. Over in Riverside, the Riverside Green Initiative (RGI), a grassroots community group made up of people who live, work and play in the Riverside area, with the support of the Riverside Business Improvement Area will be hosting a community clean-up event of the new Joel Weeks Park and the surrounding area on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to noon. Those interested in taking part should meet at 50 Mathilda St., which is located at the north end of Joel Weeks Park. Participants should bring garden gloves, a rake and/or a broom and dress accordingly. The Riverside Green Initiative was formed in early 2012 with the goal of doing outreach, education and community-building around green initiatives, specifically guiding the development of a new community garden space in the redeveloped Joel Weeks Park, which is located north of Queen Street East and west of Broadview Avenue. While community gardening is the core focus of the group, current and future activities include seasonal neighbourhood clean-ups, workshops on nutrition, container gardening, a farmers? market and other complimentary green community initiatives in partnership with Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, the Riverside BIA, the Ralph Thornton Centre and other community partners. ?We?re people who live in the area who come together to green the area, grow some food and get the community involved,? said the group?s co-coordinator Jennifer Lay during a recent interview. ?I think our group gives a chance for people with common interests to come together.? Lay said the group is also working to organize the painting of a mural on its concrete garden shed in May, which is also when the community garden at Joel Weeks Park will be opening for its second season. Stay tuned for more details. For the last four years, local dog walker and resident Kelly Manis has worked to bring people together each spring to clean up and maintain Cherry Beach. ?I use the park every day so I wanted to set an example for other dog walkers and owners,? said Manis, who has lived in Riverdale for the last six years and will soon be calling Leslieville home. ?We need to give back. The clean-up is a sign of good will from the dog owners and walkers.? Manis usually holds her clean-up event to coincide with the city?s Community Clean-Up Days. This year?s Cherry Beach Cleanup will take place Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to noon. Bags and gloves will be provided as will coffee and sweets compliments of Kelly?s Dog Walking and Pet Sitting. Those interested in taking part should meet at Cherry Beach Dog Park, 1 Cherry St. ?As a dog walker, I just want people who frequent the (Cherry Beach dog) park to know we?re accountable and we respect the people who use the park and everyone in it,? Manis added Scores of local groups will be holding Clean Toronto Together events the weekend of April 25 to 27. Community Centre 55 at 97 Main St. at Swanwick Avenue will also be holding an Environment Day on Saturday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in its parking lot. This event, which will go ahead rain or shine, will give community members the opportunity to get rid of used electronics, which will be properly recycled or reused. Proceeds from this e-waste collection will be directed to CC55?s year-round programs in the community. The environment day will also include a hazardous waste disposal area for products labeled corrosive, flammable or poisonous like aerosol cans, antifreeze, bleach, cleaners, fertilizers, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, gasoline, medications, nail polish and remover, paint, pesticides, pool chemicals and propane tanks and cylinders to name a few. Gently used furniture, which will be donated to the Furniture Bank for families in need, will also be accepted. People can also donate yarn, art supplies, markers, pencil crayons, paint, paint brushes, corks, cork boards, costume jewelry (including broken watches and clocks with hands), dress-up clothing, buttons and keys. Anyone with questions is urged to visit or call 416-691-1113. Area councillors Paula Fletcher and Mary-Margaret McMahon will also be hosting Community Environment Days this spring. The Ward 30 event is set to take place Saturday, May 10 at Riverdale Park East, along Broadview Avenue and south of Danforth Avenue, while the Ward 32 event will be taking place Saturday, May 24 at Ted Reeve Arena, 175 Main St. For more details about the city?s community Environment days program, visit It should also be noted that a number of Great Shoreline Clean Up events are set to take place in the community this spring including the Lower Don River on April 25, Tommy Thompson Park North and Woodbine Beach on April 27, and the Eastern Beaches on June 7. Visit for more information.