The Alex Wilson Community Garden Video


This 15 minute video describing the creation of a tiny garden in the heart of Toronto, was presented at the 2006 Planet in Focus: International Environmental Film and Video Festival.

The garden was built in 1997 by the community in memory of ecologist Alexander Wilson. A design competition attracted 67 entries from a field of professional designers and students, culminating in a major 6-month exhibition at the Design Exchange in Toronto. The winning entry by Kent Ford, Katherine Dugmore and John Holmes was built on land donated to the city by Dianne Croteau and Richard Brault who placed a conservation easement on the land to ensure it remains protected as a community garden in perpetuity. The garden has 40 food growing allotments available to the members of the community, a boardwalk that connects Richmond to Queen Streets, and plantings of native grasses, shrubs and trees.

In 2004, the garden successfully defended its 'right to sunlight' at the Ontario Municipal Board against a proposed condo development that would have cast deep shadows in the garden at critical times during the growing season. The condo was almost twice the allowable height set forth in the city's King-Spadina Plan. In view of evidence presented by the city and members of the garden, the OMB refused the project and the building was redesigned and constructed to comply to the plan.

The video was first shown at the OMB as a slide presentation. Produced and edited by Richard Brault, written by Lorraine Johnson, narrated by Johnson and Stephen Andrews, music by Eve Egoyan with photography and video footage from the garden archives.

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copyright STUDIO INNOVA 2006