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East Scarborough Storefront aims high with launch of new community sports pad and Sky-O-Swale

Community members enjoying and celebrating the launch of the sports pad and Sky-o-Swale.

Community members enjoying and celebrating the launch of the sports pad and Sky-o-Swale.

Tides Canada project East Scarborough Storefront is aiming high with a collaborative undertaking – the Multi-Sports Pad and Sky-O-Swale – in the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park neighbourhood of Toronto.

Launched on August 20, 2014, in what was once the Storefront’s parking lot, this unique space combines an elevated bioswale and a performance stage with a multi-sport pad.

As part of the Storefront’s Community Design Initiative, local youth and their architect mentors from archiTEXT, SUSTAINABLE.TO, and ERA Architects were set with the challenge of revitalizing the Storefront area to engage and support the local community. One plan to further this goal was to build a simple bioswale to filter the rainwater from the parking lot to use for the Roots of Scarborough East Garden with funding from Live Green Toronto. They soon discovered that the soil was untenable and came up with the creative solution to put the bioswale in the sky.

From there and in true Storefront fashion, the project began to expand and take shape through complex collaboration from a number of partners and funders. TD Friends of the Environment provided Storefront with funding to bring together partners including Venice Biennale’s Migrating Landscapes, Toronto Hydro, Orbis Corporation, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Blackwell Engineers, Tensile Integrity, AtomsEco, to supply component parts and creative ingenuity for the Sky-O-Swale, along with an incredible amount of people power from local residents and Telus and RBC volunteers. The collective effort rounded out with additional funding from Toronto Community Foundation fundholders the J. Douglas Crashley Fund and the James Rutley Grand Memorial Fund.

Together they worked and reimagined the space around the Sky-O-Swale to encourage public gathering, celebration, and play. Sponsored by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment/Jumpstart, a sports pad was added, which fulfilled the local need for a safe recreational place for kids. And the raised bioswale offered a natural space for performances and a shaded public area.

Storefront has high hopes for the new Sky-O-Swale and the community sports pad to become iconic in the neighbourhood, demonstrating to the community and the world at large just what can be accomplished when we start by investing in local youth and sharing talents and resources to support them and their dreams.

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