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Downtown parking lot to become shared garden

Bay and Gerrard

A garden is to be built in the unlikeliest of places this summer: a parking lot amid the towers at Bay and Gerrard streets downtown.

Hellmann’s, purveyors of mayonnaise, announced plans yesterday for a community garden at 686 Bay St., to last from May to September.

“Here’s a place that hasn’t really been used,” said Simon Hancock, spokesman for Hellmann’s Urban Gardens, which will go up in five Canadian cities.

“It was a good opportunity to boost the landscape naturally. It’s central amongst all the condos where, more than likely, they wouldn’t have a garden or a terrace or any land where they could do this if, say, they were out in the suburbs.”

The Bay Street garden will occupy a large portion of the parking lot and will be divided by Japanese stepping stones into 10 plots measuring four feet by eight feet. Each of the plots will be awarded to selected applicants who then get keys to the gated garden.

“Then each gardener gets their own four- by eight-foot plot that they can then use to cultivate whatever they like — vegetables and fruits, healthy, wholesome foods,” Mr. Hancock said.

Neil Wilkinson, operations manager for the Devil’s Advocate pub at 655 Bay St., called the idea interesting.

“I don’t really know how it’s going to be received,” he said. “I can’t imagine it’s going to be bad for the area but I don’t know. … Do people that work in offices and have careers, do they want to go out and plant stuff ? They live in a condo for a reason. We’ll see what happens.”

National Post
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Page: A11
Section: Toronto
Byline: Philip Alves