Why trees don’t grow, even in parks …

  The tree in the centre of this picture was planted c1981. Notice that it hasn’t grown much since then. This might be due to the hard packed soil. Or the “rain permeable” unit pavers that used to pave the surface around it. But as the new excavation clearly shows, it hasn’t much in the line of roots. Certainly none that spread more than two feet from the trunk. I wonder what type of soil will go above the gravel base just installed beside it. Will its roots face a better tomorrow? And this is in a park. Imagine what … Continue reading Why trees don’t grow, even in parks …

Getting under the skin

There is a c1902 house at the corner of Primrose and Booth. It’s actually a semi-detached, with one door facing Primrose and the other Booth. For as long as I can remember it has been sagging at the front corner. This is probably due to the line of peat that traces the foot of the escarpment / Nanny Goat Hill that runs from parliament, Cathedral Hill, Bronson Hill, and eventually peters out somewhere mid-Dalhousie neighborhood near Gladstone, interrupted by the syncline of the Nepean-Gloucester fault line. All along the foot of the escarpment you can spot houses that sag (these must be … Continue reading Getting under the skin

Rearranging the benches on RMS Primrose

 Two neighborhood parks on the west side are getting major surgery this year. The redo of Chaudiere Park on Elm Street seems to have found a winner design. An especially innovative feature will be the expansion of the small park to take over a few parking spaces on Elm Street, although that feature may not be constructed until 2014 while bureaucrats fret over jurisdiction (it’s good to keep them busy on the innocuous). The remake of Primrose Park, a larger site just a block further north, is much more curious. The park was originally designed in the early 1980’s as center piece … Continue reading Rearranging the benches on RMS Primrose

Park planning (i)

Last week, the City and Councilor held a public meeting regarding the upcoming renewal / rebuilding of Primrose and Chaudiere Parks (Chaudiere is on Elm Street, is an oversized pocket park). Today: Primrose Park. A number of residents had heard the project was coming, and had already submitted some comments to get the hired planners’ juices going. Unfortunately, some people at the meeting thought this meant that the “fix” was in. A great deal of the divide was between the proponents of the “dog park” and the “kid park”. Primrose Park is a popular dog park. Has been for years. Many years. … Continue reading Park planning (i)

Waterparks in the City

Dufferin Park in Toronto is justifiably well known for its innovative features. The boy on the left (picture, above) is by the spigot that flows water into this large sand lot, complete with oversize logs that seem perfect to stimulate little imaginations while containing the mess and providing bum rests for parents. Can’t you just hear Ottawa park bureaucrats commenting on the “safety” of that big log bridge? (shown above) Actually, watching the baby crawl up out of the ditch was hilarious and inspiring. The Dufferin Park neighborhood and adjacent Trinity Bellwoods neighborhoods appear to me to be in the “Glebe” level of affluence. A number of … Continue reading Waterparks in the City