Will Allan Gardens improvement plans stick this time?

 Pond-sceneTim Devlin —

It is wonderful to once again read about the plans for Allan Garden. Plans, announcements and photo ops, have taken place over the past 15 years that I know of with little real progress.

I think the Dog Run was an asset developed by Kyle Rae. However this brought about a change in the foot traffic directions taken by the paved paths and for years—starting before Wong Tam became councillor—we have had various mud paths that turn into mucky rivers when it rains. A bit of thought to laying out new directions for the paths as dictated by the public who have created the mud paths would be a great asset next to the dog run and fronting the smaller of the conservatories.

If I ruled the world

Allan Gardens is magnificent in its interior and should be a major tourist attraction but it is one of the best kept secrets in the City. A jump-on/jump-off bus passes within half a block of the conservatory and it should travel half a block farther and turn south through the paved road with a stop at the conservatory. This would be a great asset to tourism and help populate the gardens and justify food vending trucks spending time in the Gardens where currently only Wino’s and Drug addicts hang out.

nightingalephotographydotcomSee The historic Conservatory, have coffee, sit on a bench and eat a snack…all too simple and without cost to the city. Daaaah! The no-traffic, paved 2-lane road through the park running north and south could develop as a fabulous Christmas Market in the winter bringing residents and tourists to the park to complement the Conservatory’s Christmas Flower Show and the horse and buggy ride. Let someone earn some money and rent the stands and make some money for the park.

In the summer—again with no cost to the city—establish an Amsterdam-style flower market on weekends, which gives cause for food trucks to set up.

Back in the days of the popular Garden District Festival there was plans to locate and re-establish the Amphitheatre that was simply filled in decades ago. We understood it could be dug out and re-established for small musical performances, etc. A canopy could be stretched over top and the entire cost paid for by a sponsor in exchange for naming rights.

We also wanted to sell the naming rights of the Conservatory.

As everyone looks frantically for money to actually do something with the park there are many free or self-financing things that could be developed, all of which would show cause for actual development which just doesn’t seem to happen.

Dogs-in-parkI would also add: This is a Victorian Conservatory and efforts to modernize the frontage and the weed display have not worked. It is like putting aluminum siding on Casa Loma without an ounce of common sense or design value for what attracts tourists. Does nobody travel?

Start with the free stuff, the sponsored stuff, and all the rest will fall into place. But start with something!