Serena Gundy would be very unhappy

The stone wall cut back for heavy equipment
The stone wall cut back for heavy equipment. Photo: DAVE NOSELLA, CITY OF TORONTO

The grey stone walls marking the Rykert Cres. entrance to Serena Gundy Park are special. The commemorative plaque on the wall to the right of the entrance has on it written: “This was Serena Gundy’s garden. She loved it and would be happy to share it with others”.

The Gundy family owned the lands, and the plaque, dated March 8, 1960, marks their transfer to Metropolitan Toronto.

However, if she could check it out now, Serena Gundy might be less than happy with the current condition of the entrance.

The stone wall there was cut back to allow heavy equipment to enter the park, and partially reinstated, but with stone that is different from the original wall, and the workmanship is sub-standard. 

In addition, it appears as if approximately three feet of the original stone wall has been removed but not replaced.

To Rick Price, a Rykert resident and local activist, the repair job is “nothing short of an eyesore”.

According to Dave Nosella, project manager for capital works with Parks, Forestry and Recreation, “partial removal of the wall was required to permit equipment access to replace a failing bridge in the park, and was approved on the basis that the contractor restore the wall to match preconstruction conditions. The city recognizes that the quality of the restoration is substandard, and is working with the contractor to reinstate the wall to an acceptable standard.”

But Rick Price, after talking to various city departments, says he discovered that there may be a more serious issue than shoddy work by the contractor.

The work may have violated the terms of the transfer of the lands from the Gundy family to Metropolitan Toronto.

He says that Toronto Water told him that according to the bequest the entrance could not be changed. So Price has asked the city for a copy of the bequeathing documents to find out.

And in any case surely smaller equipment could have been used, or access to the bridge could have been afforded from another entrance, even if that would have been further to travel, he says.

If the entrance walls can be restored to their original condition Serena Gundy would once again be happy.

About Geoff Kettel 219 Articles
Geoff Kettel is a community connector and advocate for “making places better”. He is currently Co-President of the Leaside Residents Association, Co-Chair of the Federation of North Toronto Residents‘ Associations (FoNTRA), member of the Toronto Preservation Board and Past Chair of the North York Community Preservation Panel. He writes a monthly column on heritage and planning in Leaside Life.