We Love The Alex Wilson Community Garden At Richmond St West & Portland

City Living, Queen West

“We must build landscapes that heal and empower, that make intelligible our relations with each other and the natural world.”
The Culture Of Nature (1991), by Alex Wilson


At Urbaneer, we’ve long been fans of Toronto’s rich and diverse network of parks and green spaces. The Alex Wilson Community Garden is one that is lesser known, but serves a purpose that is close to our hearts: integrating the natural world with urban world. A modest ‘secret garden’, it was designed 20 years ago with careful contemplation given to the surrounding man-made environment; it’s one of our city’s pioneer community gardens!

This green space was named in memoriam of Alex Wilson, a landscape designer, community activist, and writer who worked and lived in Toronto until his death in 1993. During his life, Wilson was an active community gardener, and author of the book The Culture of Nature (1991). He was a strong supporter using indigenous plant species to restore natural biodiversity, and of using cooperative gardening and local farming to re-root urban dwellers to the natural world. After all, if you live in downtown Toronto, it’s easy to only see concrete for days at a time!



The garden was designed by the team of Katherine Dugmore, Kent Ford, and John Holmes. Their winning design was selected from over 60 submissions to a competition sponsored by the Alex Wilson Community Project in collaboration with the Design Exchange in Toronto. The design of the garden recalls the historical relationship between the people and the land of southern Ontario, and is demonstrated through three symbolic landscapes: lakeshore, farmland, and wilderness. The naturalized areas of the garden have been planted exclusively with native plant species, and, without question, has had a positive impact on local biodiversity. The Earth Council Institute of Canada has assisted the Alex Wilson Community Garden Committee in developing both ecological and socio-economic frameworks for monitoring the positive impacts of the garden. Pretty impressive!

A wonderful physical reflection of Wilson’s work, the tucked-away green space continues to regrow the tendrils between communal gardening (there are 40 small individual garden plots in addition to the naturalized areas of the garden) with ecological restoration. Those that take advantage of this ‘secret garden’ reap the bounty of their plots, as well as the rewards that come from nurturing social, economic, and ecological relationships



The remarkable planning process which led up to the design of the garden was participatory in nature, encompassing friends and colleagues of Alex Wilson, local residents and city planning officials, and made use of a number of planning tools not usually applied in an urban setting, including the granting of a conservation easement. The garden also addresses emerging issues associated with globalization and large cities by providing food production and related community-building opportunities for local residents, including a geared-to-income housing complex, and a near-by drop-in centre.



Want to learn more? Read about Alex Wilson Community Garden and its history here. And if you’ve a few more minutes to spare, and have just poured yourself a fresh cup of your fave herbal tea, have a look at this wonderful youtube video which describes how the Alex Wilson Community Garden came to fruition.



Here Are A Few Essential Seeds From The Alex Wilson Garden Website:

History: This garden was started 1997. It’s tucked between 2 buildings on a busy downtown street, where you’d never expect to see such an oasis of green and tranquility.

Size and Scope: We are 2000 square feet in size. The garden has 40 small allotments for members, a boardwalk and communal plantings of natives grasses, a hedgerow, and a woodland garden.

What Is Sprouting: The gardeners here use organic methods of gardening to grow Food crops, Flowers, Native plants, and some Trees. All kinds of things grow here and it changes every year based on who the members are and what their interests are. Herbs, vegetables, flowers, berries… it’s full of diversity!

Visits: People are welcome to drop by any time. It’s wheelchair, cane and walker accessible!


522 Richmond Street West

Whether you have an hour or an afternoon, spending time in your neighbourhood community garden – or exploring new parks and gardens – is a great way to get some fresh air, soak up some much-needed Vitamin D, and even engage with your community. Toronto’s fabulous green spaces, including the Alex Wilson, deserve to be coveted and celebrated! Be sure to treat them with care! We also love Kew Garden, Sorauren Park and Dufferin Grove Park.

Could you imagine making this beloved community garden a focus for your family’s outdoor activities, only a few short steps from your new home? If you lived at a sexy suite neaerby, like our Living Large At Cityplace Terrace In The Fashion District, you wouldn’t have to imagine any longer!


The Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage • (416) 322-8000
http://www.urbaneer.com • info@urbaneer.com

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*Pictures courtesy of https://soraurenpark.wordpress.com


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