There is a genuine glow on the community following the wonderful experience of the Georgia Walsh All-Star Games last weekend. It was fun and an enormous credit to Leaside. Now the longer task begins of raising funds to fulfill the vision of a renewed and safer playground. Conceptual depictions are shown above and below. A new splash pad is an expensive asset but the safety and enjoyment of interactive water is worth it. The drawings are by the firm of Harrington McAvan. The many sponsors of the games are shown below. Thanks to all. Anyone wishing to donate may do so at the RememberingGeorgiaWalsh site
Platinum Plus: National Bank Platinum: Lexus on the Park, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities Gold Plus: Charlene Kalia and Chestnut Park Real Estate, Patrick Rocca and Bosley Real Estate Gold: McDowell’s ValuMart, Starbucks, Rogers Silver: Leaside Dentistry, McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon Bronze: Bank of Montreal (Laird & Commercial), Bonnie Byford Real Estate, Bradley Lands Midtown Orthodontics, Monica Stanway RE/MAX, Sheree Cerqua Royal LePage Signature, The South Bayview Bulldog (as of September 4, 2015)
Georgia Walsh Splash Pad and Playground in Trace Manes Park – Proposed Features Concept (August 25, 2015)
Georgia Walsh Splash Pad and Playground in Trace Manes Park – Sample Splash Pad Equipment
Georgia Walsh Splash Pad and Playground in Trace Manes Park – Sample Play Equipment
Georgia Walsh Splash Pad and Playground in Trace Manes Park – Existing Features
Roberto Alomar, 300 plus slugger for the 1992 Blue Jays and most valuable player that year, was at the Georgia Walsh All-Star Games at Trace Manes Park Saturday (August 29, 2015). He gave the kids an inspirational talk and then told Christine Simpson, of the CBC, of the present Blue Jays powerhouse: “It’s been a long time.” But the modest Alomar said: “I’m a fan not a player now.”
Jillian Walsh says she wants parents to believe that Leaside is safe for children because that is what she believes. The mother of Georgia Walsh, 7, spoke to The South Bayview Bulldog about the death of her daughter and the ambitious events to celebrate her life. Georgia died last year in an accident at the corner of McRae Dr. and Millwood Rd One of the things to commemorate her is the Georgia Walsh All-Star Games which take this Saturday. Another and more lasting tribute to Georgia will be a million dollar renovation of the little playground in Trace Manes Park that sits between the library and tennis courts. Jillian Walsh spoke of how the idea of a better, safer playground formed in her mind.
A PLACE THAT GEORGIA LOVED
“It was a place where George loved to go and loved to play and it was very close to the accident scene,” she said. “I never wanted the message to parents in Leaside or the greater community to ever be that their children aren’t safe in Leaside.” Ms. Walsh said: “It’s a wonderful community and Georgia just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Do I believe there could be improved traffic measures, absolutely. But it doesn’t mean that this neighbourhood isn’t safe. It doesn’t mean that you have to walk your child a block to her friend’s house.
WHY NOT IMPROVE EVERYTHING
The playground plan is an ambitious and exciting project. Ms Walsh said she understood how parents might be concerned that there was no fence, for example, on the Rumsey Road side of the playground. This is a main goal of the project. But then, said the energetic mother of three boys, “if we were going to improve the fence, why not improve everything.” And so they will over time and with the generosity of residents and businesses. The renovation of the playground calls for the installation of a rubberized surface to replace the sand. It is much friendlier than sand for a rough and tumble playground and also permits wheelchair access. The biggest cost will be the construction of a splash-pad to replace the present wading pool. Modern water playgrounds are safer and more fun. Splash pads are designed to permit interactive water play More benches and seating plus shaded seating is also planned. It will eat up the budget fairly quickly. An architect’s rendering of the playground by the firm of Harrington McAvan will be on display Saturday at the All-Star Games at the Trace Manes baseball diamond.
STEWARDSHIP OF FUNDS
Baseball is a game that Georgia loved. Her childhood running, throwing and batting mirrored the pleasure of so many her age. The Georgia Walsh All-Star Games are a worthy way to remember this happy little girl and for the Walsh family to somehow thank those who, as Jillian Walsh says, “rallied around us so tirelessly in a kind and thoughtful way” It is a mark of the thoroughness and care of the playground project that the organizers have placed the care of contributions in the hands of the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. This long-standing organization offers the best advice and reputable stewardship of funds. There will be an opportunity to make donations and patronize the concessions at the Georgia Walsh Games on Saturday. See you there.
Funds raised this weekend at the Georgia Walsh Memorial All-Star Games will go to a proposed renovation of Trace Manes Park playground. Organizers of the games, and of the park upgrades, have set a one million dollar goal for the renovations. The games will take place this Saturday, August 29, 2015, starting at 9 a.m. There has been much planning around the interesting celebrities and well-known people who will attend. Media availability has been set for 11.30 in the morning. A release sent today (Wednesday, August 26, 2015) says the GTA’s top minor league players will participate in the Rookie All-Star Games. There will be both a junior and senior game. There will also be a special opening pitch, player announcements by Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson, skills competitions, face painting, tattoos, inflatable slides, food, games and prizes. Also present will Roberto Alomar and Walter Gretzky, father of Wayne Gretzky.
The death of Georgia Walsh has been thoroughly investigated, examined by experts and the details heard in open court. The facts are known and it is over. And yet, to hear the circumstances in which Georgia crossed McRae Drive and was struck by Ranko Stupar’s van is to beggar the imagination. The full verdict as rendered by Mr. Justice S. Ford Clements is linked at the bottom of this post. It recounts in detail the witness information and the reconstruction of the accident provided by the police. Georgia was running westbound across McRae within the north crosswalk on Millwood Road from the northeast to the northwest corner. That’s the crossing that takes one from Trace Manes Park to Leaside United Church. When she stepped off the curb, the pedestrian signal was flashing a red hand and the countdown timer was at 5 seconds. The accident reconstruction report concludes that Georgia was already in the crosswalk when Mr. Stupar’s vehicle approached the area of the stop bar which sits ahead of the crosswalk.
FEW CAN COMPREHEND IT
He was southbound on McRae and intended to make, and did make, a right turn on a red light during which he slowed but did not stop. Georgia was struck in the crosswalk, near the northwest corner of the intersection, by the front driver’s side of Mr. Stupar’s vehicle and knocked down to the roadway. In the words of Justice Clements, she was overrun by the front driver and rear driver side tires. Justice Clements said that had Mr. Stupar stopped his vehicle at the north stop bar, it would have taken him 3.9 seconds to travel from that point to the point of impact. There was sufficient time for Georgia to cross the street safely had Mr. Stupar stopped at the stop bar. She had the right of way. The grievous act of making a turn without stopping is appalling but not unknown. But Mr. Stupar says as well that at no time did he see Georgia in the crosswalk nor realize that he had struck anyone until witnesses began to shout at him to stop. He did stop and now lives with the miserable knowledge of what he did. But few motorists will comprehend, even as we are required to accept it, that a driver could miss the presence of a 7-year-old child in a crosswalk in front of him as he approached a red light. R. v. Stupar, 2015 ONCJ 350 (CanLII)
The twelve members of the Downtown and East York sub-committee of City Council will meet tonight (Monday, June 22, 2015) at 6 p.m. to decide whether to reduce the speed limit on residential streets in the city’s the east-central neighbourhoods to 30 km/h from the present 40 km/h. The idea, which would affect 387 kilometres of local roads that fall within the Toronto and East York community council’s jurisdiction, is a project of Josh Matlow (Ward 22). There is much interest and concern following the death of Georgia Walsh last July at the corner of Millwood Road and McRae Drive. It is well-documented however that Georgia did not die in a high speed accident but rather one where the driver was inattentive. At the time, Mr. Matlow noted a 2012 report from the Chief Medical Officer of Health that suggested that pedestrians have a 20 per cent chance of dying when hit by a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h and only a five per cent chance of death when that vehicle is travelling at 40 km/h Some reports say there has been criticism of the such a reduction but it has not caused much discussion by the public. Many parents like the idea lower speeds limits. A City staff report released last week has asked that no changes be made because they would probably not be very well obeyed. The cost of any such changes would have to be approved by the whole of City Council, which might be a stopper. Tonight’s meeting is at City Hall and gets underway at 6 p.m.
The Leaside Baseball Community has scheduled an event that will touch the heart of everyone across the City. It is the Georgia Walsh All Star Cup set for Saturday August 29th (all day) at Trace Manes Park. Georgia was lost to her family and friends last year in a traffic accident. As rookieball coach Mark Vendramini writes this morning to The South Bayview Bulldog: “This wonderful young girl was a member of the Leaside Baseball Community. As one of her coaches put it, “She was a Leaside Ballplayer. She was one of our teammates.” Mark says the organizers will work with Georgia’s family to host the event and celebrate her life, her love of the game and to raise money for various causes close to the family. Mark asks that people put the day on their calendars and promises more information soon. So far we know there will be games in the morning and afternoon for Junior (8-year-old) and Senior (9-year-old) players from across the City. Mark says there will be VIPs throwing out first pitches, national anthems, player introductions, 7th inning stretches (5th really). It will be, he says, a true big league day. Players from Leaside’s four Select and Rep Rookie Ball teams will be involved along with the finest 8 and 9 yr old players from Wexford, West Hill,,East York, East Toronto, North Toronto, Markham, Richmond Hill, Toronto Playgrounds (Christie Pits) Bloordale, Royal York. Annette, York