Celebrating our Garden Heroes

Audrey Smith – Chair, Parkdale Community Garden and Gathering Space

The last few weeks has been a whirlwind of activity at the Garden. We have had three build events in May and June and three weekends of pre-build work onsite, with over 175 people participating in that collective effort! We have a lot of people to celebrate and many more to thank.

There are several Garden Heroes that I want to celebrate; their contribution to the progress of the garden is outstanding. We are very lucky to have the dedicated and tireless participation of these people in our project. Please meet:

Brian SheirIMG_2950

Brian is the designer of both the outer and inner ring of beds and he spent hours carefully siting each bed. He also spent both days of three consecutive weekends leading a team who pre-cut, pre-drilled and sanded $5,500.00 worth of cedar – a Sea-can full! He also participated in two of the builds, leading the assembly of the beds and the construction and installation of the caps and decking. This is the second year that the Garden has benefitted from his tireless and skillful leadership.

Significant contributions to the pre-build work came from Warren Brooke, Liam and Kern Jones, Carter Greer, Ian MacLeod and Audrey Smith.

IMG_20150606_131729Marcel Hebert

Marcel is a general garden leader who makes significant contributions to the project every week in a whole variety of ways. He is an excellent ringleader at Build events, keeping everyone engaged, productive and laughing. He is a constant source of design thinking, for construction, programming and fundraising. He can be seen outworking most folks of all ages at any build and then working onsite by himself on other days. He has become know as ‘The Community History Guy” not just in Parkdale but in a range of communities across the city.


IMG_3040Maggie Naylor

Maggie’s beautiful photographs of our build events have been key in communicating with our funders about the value of their investment as well as showing the neighborhood what we’re up to. Maggie manages to surprise and delight with her unique photos regularly. Please watch the newsletter, the website and the photo gallery for the garden to see her lovely work.



Gary Sandbeck

Gary has been key in facilitating the pre-build work by supplying most of the tools as well as working onsite for many of the pre-build hours and also supervising builds. Gary’s expertise and style of sharing it are a delight to work with. Gary has been able to connect us with the engineering expertise we need to fulfill city expectations for a Build Permit on our shed.


IMG_3225The Telus Team

Arriving after 4:00 on May 21 and by the time they left later that evening, 16 beds were assembled and filled with soil. In addition, a large section of gardener’s path was stripped of sod (hard work!) and mulched. The team included many youngsters who worked as exuberantly as their parents! We are so grateful for their work and look forward to collaborating next year as well.



Youth Central

A wonderful city-wide volunteer youth organization has participated in every one of our builds this year and last with teams of extremely hard working young people. We are enthusiastically supporting their nomination for a national award – they richly deserve it!


Community Service teams

Working onsite eight days this year and several last year, they have done some of the hardest and most thankless work that cleans, beautifies and prepares the site for builds. We are so grateful!!


St. Barnabas Scout Troop

The Troop built and donated a 3 bay composter that is currently cooking a load of compost onsite. Their design fit perfectly into our space. You can read the names of the youth who constructed it on one of the face boards in the middle section.


Debbie and Marlene Wong

Feeding large numbers of hungry volunteers on Build days and done it with no budget!! They make it look easy.


Marjorie Olafson

A person who helps everywhere, taking notes at meetings, supplying children’s activities at build events and volunteering at the casino.


Please stay tuned for more Garden Heroes…. we have many and they emerge constantly.


A special thank-you

In addition to these heroes of the project, we have had many generous sponsors. We hope to thank them all in person at our ribbon cutting event in September but for now please know that we’re grateful to:

  • The Walmart Evergreen Green Grants, whose donation has made possible a good deal of our build with funding for construction materials. Their funding will also make possible garden programming like our Speaker Series.
  • TD Friends of the Environment has granted funds that will make possible more building and ongoing programming of many kinds in the garden.
  • The Calgary Foundation, whose grant has made possible the building of the shed.
  • The Manning Family whose donation has made possible the building of the Herb Circle.
  • ATB Financial and Village Brewery whose donation has made possible our Hops Farm and the creation of a Parkdale Brew. They also offer support for events with their donation of beer.
  • Safeway and Co-op have made possible feeding large numbers of hard working volunteers on small budgets.
  • The Cedar Shop who provided our cedar order at a generous discount.
  • The Tree Experts who provided mountains of mulch free of charge.
  • PUPs secure storage container was provided at a significantly reduced price and it was key in being able to store the lumber onsite while preparing it for the build.
  • Crop Food Growing Revolution who have generously provided free planting material to Parkdale Garden members.

If you haven’t toured the garden lately, please have a stroll through, sit on the new inner ring of benches, visit the Herb Circle and talk to the gardeners. Much more activity to come!

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