What’s New in the Church-Wellesley Village?
It’s Pride Month in Toronto, and while the annual outdoor festivities won’t be happening again this year, that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to head to The Village anyway as there’s still lots of fun things to see and explore. See below for a list of the latest happenings and developments, and be sure to check out the Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Association for all the latest news.
Cafe TO 2.0
Cafe TO is back this year and the timing couldn’t be better, as restrictions have been lifted to allow outdoor dining. Many of the restaurants and bars on Church are open, with outdoor table service on the street. There’s also seating to the north and south for people getting take out — or just enjoying the company of friends. If you haven’t wandered down Church Street lately, it’s time to get out there!
Barbara Hall Park Animated
This summer in Barbara Hall Park expect to see — and take part in — cultural programming well beyond the usual Music in the Park series. There are plans (still to be finalized and in accordance with pandemic rules) to transform the park into playful environments for social interaction and shared experiences, spaces for small gatherings and games, an area with movable furniture, and an herb container garden.
Music in the Park will continue its commitment to showcase local performing artists, but with a broader range of music genres and performance types. Additional activations may incorporate sports, fitness and active play, children’s content, an artisans’ market and picnics in the park.
Showing Our Colours
There are are more rainbow and pink/blue crosswalks appearing on our pavements, benches bursting with colour in Barbara Hall Park — and many more on the way. Residents and visitors alike can’t miss the message: this is a place to honour and celebrate our differences.
Murals of Joy and Remembrance
in April, artist Tim Singleton was commissioned by the Church-Wellesley Village BIA to create a piece intended to “brighten your day and fill you with a sense of pride.” Anyone passing by our main intersection will take delight in the joyous rainbow typography wrapped around the old drugstore on the northwest corner.
A memorial to the life and works of human rights activist Sarah Hegazi, by Keitha Keeshig-Tobiaswas, now graces the southwest entrance to Barbara Hall Park.
Illuminated Fence at Church Street School
Work is progressing week by week, and we’re optimistic that the west side of the Church Street Junior Public School grounds will soon be bordered by an astounding piece of light art. The colourful wall will span 40 meters and consists of 144 panels, about 2.4 metres high. The tempered glass fence will have different coloured, programmable LED lighting. It’s the pièce de résistance to a years-long school ground transformation that has been embraced by school kids, parents and the community at large.
James Canning Gardens Opens
James Canning Gardens, between Dundonald and Gloucester, is the first of four small parks to the east of Yonge Street to see its redesign come to life. The park has been open for a few months now, except for the childrens’ play area, which is coming soon. In 2020 and 2021 consultations were held for the redesign of George Hislop and Norman Jewison Parks and Alexander Street Parkette. George Hislop Park, which is currently closed, will be the first of the three to be rebuilt.
It’s a bit too early for any in-person festival, so Pride Month will be largely virtual again this year. For its 40th edition, there are over 70 individual events showcasing more than 130 2SLGBTQ+ artists and 14 party collectives. While programming runs all month, it culminates on two Festival Weekends, June 18-20 and June 25-27. Check out the Pride Guide for more info.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.