Plagued by crime and patrolled by drug dealers, Christie Pits’s green spaces seemed doomed—until fed-up neighbours did something about it. Angela Burns, who’s lived in the area since the ’70s, founded the Christie-Ossington (now the Christie Pits) Residents’ Association in 2006. One of the group’s early campaigns was a cleanup of Irene Parkette, off Shaw Street. Burns convinced fellow residents that they would have to use the park or lose it to the dealers. They organized picnics, cleared trash, installed new playground equipment and convinced police to patrol the space during periods of high activity. Within a year, the park was littered with sandbox toys, and toddlers had taken over the playground.
Burns says there were hardly any kids around when her daughter, now 20, was growing up. But in the last five years, she’s seen a steady rise in stroller traffic. A community garden and summer movie nights are also animating Christie Pits Park. “You go to residents’ meetings and weed the parkette garden together,” she says, “and the next thing you know, you’re having a drink with neighbours on their patio.”
From Ossington Ave. to Christie St.; from the railroad tracks north of Dupont St. to Bloor St. W.
*2011 averages reflect most recent data from January to August