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Skeezix

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I was curious as to what you said. Banning dogs would, in fact, be excluding people and would make for less inclusive spaces. Dogs don't dominate anymore than any other park user. For those people who want some quiet moment in a nice garden, we'd probably better serve them by banning children and teenagers - far more noise and boisterousness coming from them than dogs. And joggers - their constant footfall, huffing and puffing is generally louder than most dogs. And, while we are at it, we should ban people engaged in lively discussion. If the goal is to ban activities in order to achieve quiet moments, these are some far more effective means of achieving that than banning dogs. I can think of many other we could ban if we go down that road. We shouldn't be picking and choosing which park users we, subjectively, think might happen to lead to a better park experience. The parks are for the public, paid for by the public, and the whole underlying notion is that they are a space for everyone. The whole notion of the public realm is not about carving it up so that people who don't like dogs have their own space, and people who don't like children have their own space, and people who don't like frisbee playing or other park sports have their own space, and people who don't like people from outside the neighbourhood have their own space, and people who only want to be with other seniors have their own park, and so on, and so on.

And your smoking analogy doesn't make a lot of sense. We ban smoking in restaurants because it is ruinous to the smoker's health, and unhealthy to everyone around him/her, particularly the serving staff, which is not comparable at all to banning dogs from a park because someone might happen to think it makes for a quieter space. So, no, me saying that banning specific users from parks is less inclusive is not in any way like saying banning smoking from restaurants is less inclusive.

Allan Gardens isn't dominated by dogs. The one spot where dogs and their owners do congregate, the off-leash area, seems to be one of the most active, well used portions of the park. If only the rest of the park were as well loved and safe.

Just to add, some spaces within parks are dedicated to specific activities. I'm not saying one should be able to bring dogs into the Allen Gardens Conservatory or into a children's splash pad (anymore than one should be able to have a pick-up game of hockey or a ball picnic in the splash pad, or play frisbee in the Conservatory). But banning dogs from entire parks simply on the dubious grounds that it allows for a quieter experience, or on the notion that we somehow need one downtown park without dogs, just doesn't make sense.
 
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Tewder

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Yeah, I have a problem with equating children to dogs (oh brother!)... and banning dogs from a place doesn't stop dog-owners from enjoying a place. They can leave the pooch at home!! You can still enjoy the opera without trotting out Fido, for example.

This would be more of an issue if it was a park-wide policy. There is nothing wrong with creating a beautiful dog-free space. It's not like the dog is going to miss it.
 

Skeezix

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I didn't equate children to dogs (oh brother!). I said a ban on dogs would be as dumb as a ban on kids and other things. Just comparing the two to underline how asinine the former would be. Not at all the same thing as equating kids to dogs.

And the whole "banning dogs doesn't mean banning dog owners/dog owners can still go to the opera without fido" notion misses the point. It's true on its face, but it's true the same way banning sports or games from parks (rowdy! dangerous!) doesn't mean the athletically-inclined can't enter the park, or how banning community gatherings or events (unruly! disruptive!) doesn't mean area residents can't enter the park, or how banning children's activities (noisy! deafening!) doesn't mean kids can't enter the park, and so on, and so on, and so on. All these people can still use the park, they simply can't enjoy it the way they'd like to. If you start banning normal park activities, and thus start depriving people of many of the reasons why they use/enjoy/cherish our parks, you are excluding people from our parks. There is no getting around it. Comments like "beautiful dog-free space" are inherently exclusionary, because they are no different than "beautiful [insert any common activity here for which people enjoy our parks]-free space". The former is no more principled than the latter.

And, yeah, the dogs and their owners would miss it. It's bad health policy (from both a human and canine perspective), it's crappy planning (in a city where 50%+ of the population lives in apartments) and it sends a pretty terrible message about our public spaces. Dog-owners are as entitled to enjoy our parks as anyone else.

And there doesn't even appear to be any rationale to this notion of banning dogs from some parks, other than the personal preferences of some people (which shouldn't be a basis for park planning, otherwise we'd start banning all kinds of stuff). The topic of this thread is Allan Gardens, and like I said above, if only the rest of Allan Gardens were as well loved and used as the off-leash area. And dogs certainly don't appear to be having an undue impacts on the rest of the park. Unclear how a ban on dogs, in this or any park, does much of anything, other than to draw focus away from areas that are in real need of improvement. I find it hard to believe that dog bans are anywhere on the list of most urgently needed improvements to our downtown parks.
 
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Tewder

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I didn't equate children to dogs (oh brother!). [...] Just comparing the two to underline how asinine the former would be. Not at all the same thing as equating kids to dogs.

It kinda is. This would be an entirely different issue if we were talking about banning kids. The comparison isn't justified, in other words.

All these people can still use the park, they simply can't enjoy it the way they'd like to.

That's ok. There are plenty of other parks for them to enjoy in the way they want to enjoy them. Again, if this were a park-wide policy issue I would agree. Allen Gardens is unique and the uses/activities there can reflect this uniqueness without it being considered exclusionary. Again, banning dogs doesn't preclude dog-owners or anyone from enjoying the specific activities of Allan Gardens. Leave the dog at home or enjoy a different park that allows them. Berczy Park for instance will be a lovely distinctive park, one that is literally tailor made for dogs and their owners. Great! As a cat lover I don't feel excluded.

Comments like "beautiful dog-free space" are inherently exclusionary, because they are no different than "beautiful [insert any common activity here for which people enjoy our parks]-free space". The former is no more principled than the latter.

Again, this isn't exclusionary to people... and we've already agreed that we are not equating people with dogs. It's perfectly reasonable to delineate public spaces that are acceptable or appropriate for animals or not... not only reasonable, it is current policy. Dogs are not allowed everywhere or in all parks. It's ok.
 

Skeezix

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It kinda is. This would be an entirely different issue if we were talking about banning kids. The comparison isn't justified, in other words.

It kinda isn't. The comparison is justified. If one is going to take the drastic step of banning a very common park activity (for reasons you haven't quite articulated, other than it would be "beautiful" - at least ksun was able to point to quietness), it's perfectly valid to point to other extreme measures which could be justified on the same terms are are equally plausible if you start down this road (banning kids' activities, or eliminating the facilities they enjoy, being just one of the examples I mentioned). Restricting the use of parks by dogs and restricting the use of parks by kids are both nutty ideas.

That's ok.

I'm glad you think it's ok to prevent users from enjoying their local park, but it's actually a fundamentally troubling concept that we would simply arbitrarily be restricting commons uses in the public realm. There need to be compelling reasons to restrict accepted and common uses.

There are plenty of other parks for them to enjoy in the way they want to enjoy them.

If this is their local park, or even if it is not, a dog owner who wants to walk his or her dog is as entitled to use it as any other citizen. While we're at it, why not ban picnics, jogging, tai chi, frisbee, kids games, etc. on the basis of "that's ok, there are plenty of other parks for that". I'm sure that would go over well.

Not every park can accommodate an off-leash area. But if a dog-owner wants to walk his or her dog through their park, on leash, you still haven't explained what justification there is for preventing them from doing so, or why doing so would be any different from banning other common activities of any other groups of users. Are we basically just talking about banning stuff from parks that you personally don't like?

Again, if this were a park-wide policy issue I would agree. Allen Gardens is unique and the uses/activities there can reflect this uniqueness without it being considered exclusionary.

Sure, it's a great park. How is people walking their dogs inconsistent with that? What studies or reports have been done demonstrating that dog users have an undue adverse impact on the park? And given that the off-leash area seems to one of the most well used, safest and dynamic parts of the park, why again would stop all these users from enjoying it the way they want to?

I've now said it three times - if only the rest of Allan Gardens were as well loved as the off-leash area. Unclear what your justification is for wanting to see it all gone and the dog owners preventing from using Allan Gardens in the manner in which they always have.

And, yes, when you start talking about banning uses/activities on some vague and subjective notion of "uniqueness", and such bans don't seem to have any rational or objective connection to this uniqueness, it's pretty damn exclusionary. It's not the inclusionary space that a public park should be.

Again, banning dogs doesn't preclude dog-owners or anyone from enjoying the specific activities of Allan Gardens.

Yeah, it does. People who enjoy the park with their dog suddenly can't. If you rip out all the play structures and other facilities for kids, you similarly are impeding the ability of kids, and their parents, from enjoying the park. You prevent people from jogging or running through the park, you are restricting the ability of people who use the park for exercise to use it. If you start banning normal park activities, and thus start depriving people of many of the reasons why they use/enjoy/cherish our parks, you are excluding people from our parks. Telling all these folks that they can still use the park, just not in the manner they would like to and always have, is flippant and glib.

And given that people have undoubtedly been walking their dogs through Allan Gardens for as long as there has been an Allan Gardens, then yes, banning dogs would, quite evidently, be preventing people from "enjoying the specific activities of Allan Gardens". Enjoying the park with one's dog is as much an activity of Allan Gardens as any other.

Leave the dog at home or enjoy a different park that allows them.

Or, just use the park you want to, as you are perfectly entitled to do. If you want don't want to walk a dog, or you want to use a different park, feel free.

Berczy Park for instance will be a lovely distinctive park, one that is literally tailor made for dogs and their owners. Great! As a cat lover I don't feel excluded.

Why should anyone have to walk to a significantly smaller park, 8 blocks away and with no off-leash area, and for no real reason, when Allan Gardens is perfectly fine? Why should any group of park users have to do that?

"Hey, you old ladies! The ones doing Tai Chi. Berczy Park is tailor made for you. Starting hiking south, and stay out of Allan Gardens from now on!"

And, why wouldn't some folks near Berczy Park also claim that park is also "unique", and start sending unwanted users north to Allan Gardens? What's the thresholds for sending unwanted park users to other parks? How do we decide which activities will still be permitted and which ones will suddenly be verbotten? In your mind, is this a neighbourhood decision or do individual park users get to chase out the undesirables with sticks?

Again, this isn't exclusionary to people...

Yeah, it is. If you restrict certain uses for which parks are widely used, you're restricting the ability of those people who use the park for that purpose to enjoy the park. Kind of scary you don't get that. It pretty fundamentally at odds within the principles behind having public parks.

It's perfectly reasonable to delineate public spaces that are acceptable or appropriate for animals or not... not only reasonable, it is current policy. Dogs are not allowed everywhere or in all parks.

Sure. Dogs shouldn't, for example, be allowed in, say, a kids' splash pad. I'm not sure dogs and botanical gardens are a good mix (nor, for obvious reasons, are games of flag football and botanical gardens a good mix either - dogs aren't the only park use which can give rise to conflicts). In Allan Gardens specifically, I don't think dogs should be permitted in the Conservatory. I assume they are not.

In my local park (Withrow), there are two children's play area, one of which is fenced off so the kids can run free, and dogs are quite rightly not allowed within that enclosure. Nor are adults unaccompanied by children particularly welcome. And, for reasons I think we all understand, I don't think adults are allowed to, say, start a game of touch football within the kids' play enclosure. Similarly, people can't picnic on the tennis courts. Or walk through the soccer field when there is a game happening (which, in the warm months, is all the time). Or play baseball at the north end when the Farmers' Market is on. Or bring toddlers onto the rink in the middle of a ball hockey tournament.

But those are all reasonable restrictions, tied to safety conflicts between uses, which apply to specific facilities that occupy small portions of the park. That is very different from what you're advocating, which is arbitrarily banning certain activities from the entirety of large city parks.

What public parks in Toronto ban dogs?


No, this notion you have that we should be restricting park usage really really really isn't ok. They're public parks. The public gets to use them, even for activities that bother you. This is a pretty important principle that goes well beyond dogs.
 
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Register123

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^ wow. You really don't get it do you? The only people you are fine excluding from this park are people who don't like dogs, are allergic to dogs, don't like the smell of dog's urine and feces, etc. Can these people have just one park in the entire city where dogs would not be allowed or should they start hiking to Halifax?
 

Tewder

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The comparison is justified.

No it isn't. We already agreed that dogs are not people. Yet you are suggesting that restrictions on people equates to restrictions on people-with-their-pets. It doesn't. The very foundation of your argument falls apart here. The rest of the debate is moot.

If one is going to take the drastic step of banning a very common park activity (for reasons you haven't quite articulated, other than it would be "beautiful" - at least ksun was able to point to quietness), it's perfectly valid to point to other extreme measures which could be justified on the same terms are are equally plausible if you start down this road (banning kids' activities, or eliminating the facilities they enjoy, being just one of the examples I mentioned). Restricting the use of parks by dogs and restricting the use of parks by kids are both nutty ideas.

See above. People are not dogs. Restricting dogs is not the same as restricting dog owners. Restricting play areas is not the same as restricting children. Again, your argument falls apart.

What's more, it is perfectly acceptable - desirable in fact - to offer a variety of parks with a variety of uses throughout the system. Not all parks 'must' include a playground or an off-leash area. There is no law in the land that mandates this because the system as a whole accommodates all.

If one is going to take the drastic step of banning a very common park activity (for reasons you haven't quite articulated, other than it would be "beautiful" - at least ksun was able to point to quietness)[...]

I'm glad you think it's ok to prevent users from enjoying their local park, but it's actually a fundamentally troubling concept that we would simply arbitrarily be restricting commons uses in the public realm. There need to be compelling reasons to restrict accepted and common uses.

See above. Nobody is 'preventing' anyone from using the park. There would be no sign that says 'if you own a dog you cannot enjoy this space' or 'there is no swing set so children are not allowed'. A park that celebrates or features certain functions or uses over others is still available to all who want to appreciate these attributes, to wit...

As for compelling reasons, there is indeed a case to make that Allen Gardens is not like just any other green space. It is a historic/heritage site. It is a botanical gardens. It is an haut lieu of garden/landscape design in Toronto, high concept, and a rare example of same for Toronto and many other North American cities for that matter. In this sense aesthetics is very much at the heart of its design identity and part of what it sets it apart. I agree this may not be evident in its current condition but that's the whole point of the revitalization! Highlighting this particular function may mean limiting some other functions... or maybe it doesn't. It's a choice. It simply isn't a civic injustice to elevate this site in a way that is different from other parks.


If this is their local park, or even if it is not, a dog owner who wants to walk his or her dog is as entitled to use it as any other citizen. While we're at it, why not ban picnics, jogging, tai chi, frisbee, kids games, etc. on the basis of "that's ok, there are plenty of other parks for that". I'm sure that would go over well.

No, there is no 'entitlement' here. This is not a park-wide policy. Parks come in all different concepts. Some are highly ornamental and formal - in the French or Japanese style for example parks are more contemplative or about high design (yes 'beauty'). Activities aren't allowed in the way you are insisting, you stick to paths. Not all 'enjoyment' means tossing a frisbee! A contemplative park can be appreciated in a different way, by all. In England parks are romantic and wild, places for more boisterous activities. Some parks just feature natural beauty. Some are a combination. Some are just green spaces to give people a chance to play, no aesthetics on display at all. A diverse city has fine examples of all these parks and all these uses. They are available to all!

Sure, it's a great park. How is people walking their dogs inconsistent with that? What studies or reports have been done demonstrating that dog users have an undue adverse impact on the park?

This is irrelevant. This isn't an anti-dog position it's a position that is pro featuring a type of park style in Toronto that is rare and that has heritage justification. Again, I come back to the singularity of this park. In Toronto the vast majority of park space does feature the sort of function over form design you insist on. Great. A park that is unique will be an asset to the system - and for all people to come and enjoy!

if only the rest of Allan Gardens were as well loved as the off-leash area.

Allan Gardens is a shadow of its former self. It is do for revitalization. The potential here is enormous for a major heritage site. If we build it the people will come!
 
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Admiral Beez

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Allan Gardens is a shadow of its former self. It is do for revitalization. The potential here is enormous for a major heritage site. If we build it the people will come!
Ah! My eyes. Due, not do, or for that matter dew. Homonym-ignorance strikes again.

IMO, Toronto could benefit from one park south of Bloor, west of the DVP and east of Dufferin that is dog-free, gated, akin to what Halifax (and many cities) have.
 

Skeezix

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IMO, Toronto could benefit from one park south of Bloor, west of the DVP and east of Dufferin that is dog-free, gated, akin to what Halifax (and many cities) have.

How would that possibly benefit anyone? How does Toronto benefit by excluding a large group of park users and making our parks more exclusionary?
 

Skeezix

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No it isn't. We already agreed that dogs are not people. Yet you are suggesting that restrictions on people equates to restrictions on people-with-their-pets. It doesn't. The very foundation of your argument falls apart here. The rest of the debate is moot.

Yes, it is. Has nothing to do with dogs not being people. If you ban the activities for which people use parks, you are excluding them from our parks system. And, no, you don't get to declare the debate moot – you’re not the moderator.

See above. People are not dogs. Restricting dogs is not the same as restricting dog owners. Restricting play areas is not the same as restricting children. Again, your argument falls apart.

See above. Excluding some of the most common activities in our parks does, in fact, mean that you are excluding users. You tell people who use their local park to walk their dogs that dogs are no longer permitted, you are excluding those people because you’ve deprived them of the reason they use the park.

This whole "If I ban jogging, I am not banning joggers, etc." argument of yours is just utterly disingenuous and facile.

Go ahead. Rip the splash pad, the swing set, the sandbox and the play structure out of a neighbourhood park, and then tell the area residents that your actions had nothing to do with excluding young families from the park. And then, and I dare you to do this, tell those families that they are still perfectly free to use the park, notwithstanding the fact that the activities for which they used the park with their kids are gone. You know very well how that will go over. Hope you know how to get tar and feathers out of your hair. You'll have turned a public asset upon which those people rely into one for which they have a lot less use, and they will see right through you.

Parks serve people. The problem here is that you quite evidently think that people serve parks, that we should have parks that are unsullied by the activities for which we value our parks.

it is perfectly acceptable - desirable in fact - to offer a variety of parks with a variety of uses throughout the system.

Agreed. And that in no way requires us to ban people from walking their dogs in that lovely variety of parks.

Not all parks 'must' include a playground or an off-leash area.

Agreed. Not having an off-leash area has no rational connection to banning people from walking their dogs. Any more that the lack of a running track means somehow a jogger can't have her morning run through the park.

because the system as a whole accommodates all.

Absolutely. So why in heaven's name do you think the system should be more exclusionary? You are actually arguing that we should be accommodating far fewer people (with the asinine excuse "you can still use the park, just not for the reasons you always have").

See above. Nobody is 'preventing' anyone from using the park.

See above. If one excludes the activities for which a park is enjoyed, it’s disingenuous and patronizing to then suggest to those users that they themselves are not being excluded.

A park that celebrates or features certain functions or uses over others is still available to all who want to appreciate these attributes

Yes, and should also still be available to people who want to walk their dogs while they appreciate these attributes. The two are not mutually exclusive.

there is indeed a case to make that Allen Gardens is not like just any other green space. It is a historic/heritage site.

Sure, and people have been walking their dogs through it as long as there has been an Allan Gardens. How does banning dogs enhance its heritage character?

It is a botanical gardens.

No. It contains greenhouses which are home to an impressive botanical collection. Nobody is suggesting that dogs run amok in the conservatories.

It is an haut lieu of garden/landscape design in Toronto, high concept, […] I agree this may not be evident in its current condition but that's the whole point of the revitalization! Highlighting this particular function may mean limiting some other functions... or maybe it doesn't. It's a choice. It simply isn't a civic injustice to elevate this site in a way that is different from other parks.

Revitalization means enhancing what makes the place special to people, not eliminating the aspects of the place which make it special. We will do Allan Gardens a much better service by maintaining the reasons why people love and use the space, rather than dropping terms like "haut lieu". You don't elevate the park by arbitrarily banning activities which attracted people to the park in the first place, particularly when those activities are not mutually exclusive whatsoever from the revitalization.

It is very telling that the off-leash area was opened in 2008 as Phase 1 of the ongoing revitalization of Allan Garden. The revitalization process actually recognizes dogs as a key to improving the park. The off-leash area, with its nice fencing and public art, is one of the best used, safest and most dynamic parts of the park. Yet you bizarrely want to do away with it, without any real justification.

No, there is no 'entitlement' here.

Banning a popular park activity for no real reason speaks to a pretty inflated sense of entitlement, actually.

Public parks serve the people. That's the primary objective.

Parks come in all different concepts. Some are highly ornamental and formal - in the French or Japanese style for example parks are more contemplative or about high design (yes 'beauty'). Activities aren't allowed in the way you are insisting, you stick to paths. Not all 'enjoyment' means tossing a frisbee! A contemplative park can be appreciated in a different way, by all. In England parks are romantic and wild, places for more boisterous activities. Some parks just feature natural beauty. Some are a combination. Some are just green spaces to give people a chance to play, no aesthetics on display at all. A diverse city has fine examples of all these parks and all these uses.

Fine. Dog walking isn't inconsistent with any of that. As I said to ksun above, most other common park activities, like kids running around and people playing frisbee are for more disruptive to this concept of a contemplative park of pathways that you envision. You'll have to ban a lot of activities from Allan Gardens' 13 acres to achieve this beautiful garden of yours, but happily dog walking is quite compatible with it.

They are available to all!

That's a little rich since you're all about banning park activities. This ornamental garden you seem to be envisioning for Allan Gardens would actually preclude people using the park as they always have. Yours is an approach of exclusion.

This is irrelevant. This isn't an anti-dog position it's a position that is pro featuring a type of park style in Toronto that is rare and that has heritage justification.

Ha ha ha! That's hilarious. I ask you how people walking their dogs is inconsistent with achieving a great park, and what studies or reports have been done demonstrating that dog users have an undue adverse impact on the park, and your response is "that's irrelevant"?!?!?!

So, in this world of yours, facts are irrelevant and the park users are irrelevant. What, may I ask, is relevant?

You can't even show how this rare park style of yours is inconsistent with people walking their dogs, or how it justifies eliminating some of the best used portions of the park. Yet somehow you think this objective of yours nonetheless justifies banning activities for which people use the park.

Again, I come back to the singularity of this park.

Which you seem to want to change. With no regard to facts or users.

In Toronto the vast majority of park space does feature the sort of function over form design you insist on.

If by function over form, you mean the park serves the people, then yes. I do insist on that.

Great. A park that is unique will be an asset to the system - and for all people to come and enjoy!

Except that you don't actually want all people to come and enjoy it. At least not how they always have enjoyed it or how they want to enjoy it. It's unique in the sense that you want to stand at the gates saying "you can't do this" and "you can't do that".

Allan Gardens is a shadow of its former self. It is do for revitalization.

Yet, counter-intuitively, you want to eliminate the newest, most used, safest, and liveliest portion of the park (and while you’re at it, also discourage those users from using the rest of the park). And when asked why returning the park to its glory years somehow requires banning some of the most popular activities in the park, your only answer is "that's irrelevant".

I am sure everyone who can no longer use the park for the reasons which made it popular will take great comfort when they are told it is now a "haut lieu" of landscape design.
 

Johnny Au

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There are some parks in Toronto that prohibit dogs: some cemeteries.

In fact, a century ago or so, many Torontonians picnic at cemeteries and many of them don't practise ancestral veneration.
 

Tewder

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Sure, and people have been walking their dogs through it as long as there has been an Allan Gardens.

It is very telling that the off-leash area was opened in 2008...

The history of Allan Gardens predates 2008, significantly. It is troubling that you are weighing in so vehemently about this without an appreciation of the heritage value.

This isn't surprising though. The city as a whole has ignored the heritage value of this site, which is why it is in the condition it's in, used as a toilet for dogs and a cruising ground for illicit activities and transactions. The adding of an off-leash area in 2008 was a white flag of surrender more than anything else...

If you ban the activities for which people use parks, you are excluding them from our parks system.

A) Nobody is banning activities from 'the parks system'. The hyperbole is preventing you from assessing the context in any objective way. As I have already stated, the parks system accommodates all. There is no rule, law or mandate that insists that every park within the system must accommodate all possible activities.

B) Nobody is excluded from using a park. How an individual uses a particular park will depend on what the park has on offer.

This whole "If I ban jogging, I am not banning joggers, etc." argument of yours is just utterly disingenuous and facile.

On the contrary, most people enjoy a diversity of activities in their life. Nobody is defined solely as a 'jogger' or a 'dog walker'. Ideally the city offers a variety of spaces that accommodate the varied needs anybody might have, but it doesn't mean these all have to be in one single location. Providing a revitalized heritage space that is contemplative and peaceful - that features certain uses over others - is entirely available for the appreciation of all who want to seek out these uses, whether they are 'joggers' or 'dog walkers' in other contexts too. This adds an option to the spaces they can enjoy. In other words, the facile thinking here belongs to you in insisting on circumscribing people according to one all-defining activity.

Go ahead. Rip the splash pad, the swing set, the sandbox and the play structure out of a neighbourhood park, and then tell the area residents that your actions had nothing to do with excluding young families from the park. And then, and I dare you to do this, tell those families that they are still perfectly free to use the park, notwithstanding the fact that the activities for which they used the park with their kids are gone. You know very well how that will go over. Hope you know how to get tar and feathers out of your hair. You'll have turned a public asset upon which those people rely into one for which they have a lot less use, and they will see right through you.

So you're encouraging nimbyism?

This is a major heritage site in Toronto. The singularity and importance of this site is to be evaluated for the wider benefit of all and for the benefit of future generations, not just immediate neighbours. It's not like there aren't other parks in the same neighbourhood. For that matter we can add new spaces for dog walking or tossing frisbees etc. We cannot add new Allan Gardens. This is the one we got. This is the one we should be elevating, adding complimentary features (external botanicals to complement the conservatories, or a horticultural school, or community garden plots, or art and ornamentals etc. etc). This can be a unique and creative site. Again, all can enjoy these features and uses.

Revitalization means enhancing what makes the place special to people, not eliminating the aspects of the place which make it special.

Based on this rationale we should revitalize this space by adding facilities for drug exchanges or anonymous sex acts.

Come on, this park has been degraded. The adding of an off-leash area was a desperate way to lure people with a need that isn't illicit. People need spaces for their dogs but the dogs aren't appreciating Allen Gardens. It doesn't need to be this space. There are far better uses that are far more appropriate for this site.

You can't even show how this rare park style of yours is inconsistent with people walking their dogs

Ok so here is one point we can agree on :) I'm really not suggesting this isn't within the realm of possibility. I'm just arguing that the opposite isn't a civic injustice. Sure, the most uses that can be accommodated the better. At the RBG in Hamilton dogs are not allowed in the more formal areas of the park but are allowed on-leash on the more natural trails. At the end of the day, due to the real specialness of this site, I'm just arguing that the priorities and objectives should be how to best preserve and feature the potential here, that this isn't just any other park.

Ah! My eyes. Due, not do, or for that matter dew. Homonym-ignorance strikes again.

Thank you Beez
 
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whatever

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Just to chime in, I've lived in the immediate vicinity of Allan Gardens for over a decade, and remember what the park looked like pre- dog area, formerly brought my dog to that area three to four times a week, and continue to walk through the park today. If you're accusing that dog area of somehow wrecking the park you're sorely forgetting what the park used to look like. Introducing the off-leash area turned the park around tremendously. It brought a huge number of users in to the park, and the increased foot traffic has made the park much safer overall. I doubt we'd even be having a conversation about revitalizing the park if it weren't for the extra traffic that the dog park has brought in. Far from being a white flag of surrender the dog park was really a catalyst for further improvements. It's not the park that you need to quickly skirt anymore. It's been brought back into the neighbourhood
 

Skeezix

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Just to chime in, I've lived in the immediate vicinity of Allan Gardens for over a decade, and remember what the park looked like pre- dog area, formerly brought my dog to that area three to four times a week, and continue to walk through the park today. If you're accusing that dog area of somehow wrecking the park you're sorely forgetting what the park used to look like. Introducing the off-leash area turned the park around tremendously. It brought a huge number of users in to the park, and the increased foot traffic has made the park much safer overall. I doubt we'd even be having a conversation about revitalizing the park if it weren't for the extra traffic that the dog park has brought in. Far from being a white flag of surrender the dog park was really a catalyst for further improvements. It's not the park that you need to quickly skirt anymore. It's been brought back into the neighbourhood

Well said. Nobody here has shown otherwise, or even been able to articulate a rationale for banning dogs.
 

Skeezix

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The history of Allan Gardens predates 2008, significantly. It is troubling that you are weighing in so vehemently about this without an appreciation of the heritage value.

For someone who hasn't been able to articulate even one reason for banning dogs in Allan Gardens, you really are the last person to be condescending. Your comment above, including your deliberate misquote about what I said about 2008, says a lot more about you and your position than it does what I have been saying.

This isn't surprising though. The city as a whole has ignored the heritage value of this site, which is why it is in the condition it's in, used as a toilet for dogs and a cruising ground for illicit activities and transactions. The adding of an off-leash area in 2008 was a white flag of surrender more than anything else...

Your argument is so feeble that now your grasping at scatology and trying to link dogs to illegal activities. I thought you must have some rationale for taking this extreme position of yours, but I guess you don't.

By the way, the off-leash area was the result of an extensive public process, looks great and has been a tremendous success. Funny you call it a "white flag of surrender".

A) Nobody is banning activities from 'the parks system'.

Nobody ever said that was the case. But nice attempt at trying to mischaracterize what I said, again.

The hyperbole is preventing you from assessing the context in any objective way.

There is no hyperbole. What you're advocating is pretty appalling, given you have no substantive rationale for it, and runs counter to the whole principle of public parks.

And while on the subject of hyperbole, you're the last one to make that accusation given that in your post above you tried to link dog walking with "illicit activities". Given you are comparing the dog walkers to what we can only assume are prostitutes and drug dealers, you probably shouldn't be throwing the word "hyperbole" around because it's not my comments that people are going to associate it with.

As I have already stated, the parks system accommodates all.

You're actually arguing the exact opposite.

There is no rule, law or mandate that insists that every park within the system must accommodate all possible activities.

There is no law that says we have to have parks either. Both are feeble excuses for excluding popular activities from large downtown parks.

B) Nobody is excluded from using a park. How an individual uses a particular park will depend on what the park has on offer.

If you suddenly ban one of the most popular activities in a park, then yes you are excluding people from that park.

On the contrary, most people enjoy a diversity of activities in their life. Nobody is defined solely as a 'jogger' or a 'dog walker'. Ideally the city offers a variety of spaces that accommodate the varied needs anybody might have, but it doesn't mean these all have to be in one single location. Providing a revitalized heritage space that is contemplative and peaceful - that features certain uses over others - is entirely available for the appreciation of all who want to seek out these uses, whether they are 'joggers' or 'dog walkers' in other contexts too. This adds an option to the spaces they can enjoy. In other words, the facile thinking here belongs to you in insisting on circumscribing people according to one all-defining activity.

Wow. Just wow. You really don't get it. If you ban the activities for which people use a park, you are excluding those people. Telling them they can enjoy the display of irises, for example, when they suddenly are no longer entitled to walk their dog or jog through the park, is, as I said, disingenuous and patronizing, and will be cold comfort to those people. None of that has anything to do with associating people with "one all-defining activity" - that's yet another sad attempt at mischaracterizing what I said - but rather understanding that people typically value their local park for certain key uses, and banning such uses for no reason is exclusionary.

So you're encouraging nimbyism?

It's not NIMBYism for area residents to react negatively to banning activities in their parks.


This is a major heritage site in Toronto. The singularity and importance of this site is to be evaluated for the wider benefit of all and for the benefit of future generations, not just immediate neighbours.

It can serve both.

BTW, I've taken my dog to Allan Gardens, and I don't like in that area. That's not uncommon. Allan Gardens is a nice place, and popular for all types of reasons and for all types of activities.

It's not like there aren't other parks in the same neighbourhood.

So? Who appointed you the arbiter of who can use which park for what?

or that matter we can add new spaces for dog walking or tossing frisbees etc.

Great.

We cannot add new Allan Gardens. This is the one we got. This is the one we should be elevating, adding complimentary features (external botanicals to complement the conservatories, or a horticultural school, or community garden plots, or art and ornamentals etc. etc). This can be a unique and creative site. Again, all can enjoy these features and uses.

None of that supports banning dogs or destroying the most active, dynamic and safest part of the park. Honestly, do you have any rationale whatsoever for what you're arguing?

Revitalization is great, but shouldn't exclude park users.

Based on this rationale we should revitalize this space by adding facilities for drug exchanges or anonymous sex acts.

Again, that's just sad, Tewder. Just sad. I though you'd hit new lows when you started on about illicit activities, but apparently you had further to go.

Come on, this park has been degraded. The adding of an off-leash area was a desperate way to lure people with a need that isn't illicit. People need spaces for their dogs but the dogs aren't appreciating Allen Gardens. It doesn't need to be this space. There are far better uses that are far more appropriate for this site.

Allan Gardens has always been popular with dog owners, even before this new off-leash area. And it's proven to be very successful. Again, I ask you to find reports, studies and the like which show that it was desperate or that dogs have adverse effects on the same or are an inappropriate use. People have been using Allan Gardens with their dogs forever and a day - it seems to me that you're the one trying to destroy the park, and its heritage, with all this hot air of yours about banning activities which don't conform to your own personal views.


Ok so here is one point we can agree on :) I'm really not suggesting this isn't within the realm of possibility. I'm just arguing that the opposite isn't a civic injustice. Sure, the most uses that can be accommodated the better. At the RBG in Hamilton dogs are not allowed in the more formal areas of the park but are allowed on-leash on the more natural trails. At the end of the day, due to the real specialness of this site, I'm just arguing that the priorities and objectives should be how to best preserve and feature the potential here, that this isn't just any other park.

Trust me when I say I don't agree with any of your elitist and disingenuous theories about how to "improve" Allan Gardens (which apparently involves destroying some of its best aspects).

But now you're agreeing that you can't even show how this rare park style of yours is inconsistent with people walking their dogs. Which makes one wonder why you've go on about how haut lieu garden design requires us to ban activities from the park.

The park is special, unique, full of possibility and a great heritage site. You just seem to have an off-kilter view of how to enhance and preserve those aspects. The park should continue, like it always has, to accommodate everyone, and it totally can.
 

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