Update on Cheryl’s litter-free progress

Last month we featured Rumsey Rd. resident Cheryl Vanderburg’s one-woman crusade to clean up Leaside.

This month we start updates about the Adopt-a-Park/Roadway program being set up in conjunction with the city.

Here are some interesting notes from Vanderburg’s email she sent us in September:

“The article has certainly started a dialogue. I have three volunteers: Audrey MacKinnon, who lives on Randolph Rd., my husband Doug Harris, and Jeff Walker of Donegall Dr. There’s been interest from the Leaside Garden Society about refurbishing Trace Manes with new furniture, flower beds, etc.

The permit holders at Trace Manes (Pedalheads and baseball teams) have been contacted and are leaving the field pristine. The Boy Scouts have committed to leaving their Christmas tree site clean. 

“My clean up efforts have resulted in less litter reappearing on Rumsey Rd. and in the park. I have been expanding my efforts to the little dark and dirty public spaces in the area. I have lots of ‘brand recognition as I walk along with my garbage bag. People stop to tell me they read the article, that I am doing a great job and they thank me for my good work.

“I shall keep going with these small and incremental improvements and hope at some point I create a litter “happening”. Kind of like Ghandi. And I am enjoying my new normal litter-free neighbourhood.”

“I also spoke with a manager of the Loblaws store on Redway Rd. I told him I don’t shop there any more because the litter stuck in the fences along Redway and in the parking lot make the experience most unwelcoming. He agreed and said he would send in his cleaning crew.”

Vanderburg filled a green garbage bag with litter at Leaside Gardens and found a smart phone and two VHS tapes.

The bag was so heavy she left it outside the Gardens office door and is asking Gardens staff to organize a weekly clean-up, plus a spring and fall one. She has offered to participate.

She wrote to and received offers of help from the manager of McDonald’s at Bayview and Eglinton to help reduce litter at the baseball field area.

“She cannot take responsibility,” said Vanderburg, “for keeping city property litter free even though some of the litter is McDonald’s takeout containers.

“What she is willing to do is offer free garbage bags and disposal and community service hours to students who are willing to adopt the park. I think that’s a great offer. I hope that Leaside High will advise students and that there will be some takers.

“Other suggestions most welcome.”

If you missed the contact information information in the September issue, you can reach Cheryl Vanderburg at 416-425-3022 or .

NestGetting help from birds

Back and forth correspondence between Cheryl Vanderburg and Pedalheads early in September.

Hello Pedalheads,

Thank you for doing such a great job cleaning up Trace Manes Park after your camp this summer.

I thought you would enjoy this picture of a bird’s nest I found this morning. 

It had blown out of a tree at Trace Manes Park. 

As you can see the birds have been assisting me in my litter crusade by picking up the handlebar streamers and weaving them into their nest. Although it is quite beautiful, it illustrates the fact that the handlebar streamers break off and litter the field. I hope you will consider banning them next year. 

I know the kids and parents love them, however they do break off all over the field and continue to glitter in the sun and will never biodegrade and are impossible to pick up completely. Or you could convince Dollarama to build them more sturdily so they don’t break off.

Thank you for your consideration of this request to keep our parks clean and welcoming for other people to enjoy.

Sincerely, Cheryl

Hello Cheryl,

Thank you for taking the time to email us about your concerns. I appreciate you taking the time to send us a photo of the results of the ribbons from the bikes.

It’s definitely something to look into for next summer’s camps.

We obviously want to leave Trace Manes Park as clean as it is when we arrive at the beginning of the summer. I will be passing along your concerns to the Ontario Manager.

Regards, Mira
Atlantis Programs, Pedalheads

Hello Cheryl,

Thanks again for the feedback. It’s great that you are caring for your neighbourhood. We are having our strategic planning next month so maybe that’s something that I can put on the table to discuss.

Cheers, Mira

Hello Pedalheads,

Thank you! Love the camp and love to see the kids having so much fun and learning bike safety. Could you also consider litter-free lunches to avoid all of the cellophane wrappers from juice box drinks and cracker/granola bar wrappers? They are tedious to clean up. A lot of schools are going to litter-free lunches so you would not be alone.

Thanks for being a good neighbour and a good citizen of the planet.

Sincerely, Cheryl