A Tale of Two Parks is a storytelling project that seeks to elevate & amplify the stories & experiences of BIPOC community members who live, work, & play within parks in Toronto, starting with Dentonia and Edgeley Parks.
A Tale of Two Parks aims to provide a brave space for storytelling and sharing, especially for people who might not think of themselves as storytellers. While we are curious about all stories, we are especially interested in stories from Newcomers, Immigrants and Youth who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Colour. This project has been co-designed with Youth who have connections to these parks and communities who bring their lived experiences, storytelling styles and ideas into action within this project.
A Tale of Two Parks aims is to collect stories about how parks have played a role in people’s lives before, during, and after the pandemic. As an organization that seeks to imagine equitable futures, we are also interested in what parks can look like in the future to be a brave and safe space for everyone. We are hoping to highlight the stories about the past, present and future of parks in Toronto.
By listening to Black, Indigenous Elders, and People of Colour in these communities we aim to foster a safe space for folx to share difficult stories.
Collect stories to support our shared ability to imagine what it looks like for BIPOC communities to have safer/braver spaces within their communities, parks and the city of Toronto.
Collecting and sharing the stories of Newcomers, Immigrants and Youth to better represent the communities living near Dentonia and Edgeley Park.
During our team meetings, we prepared our social researchers in troubleshooting different ideas of story experiments. This included brainstorming appropriate methods of outreach, research ethics training, as well as having conversations about how best to build trust & rapport with participants. We then carried out our experiments where we tested out our ideas & modified them as we gained feedback on our process from the community members & other members of our team. By regularly checking in with one another & fostering relationships of trust with participants, we were able to learn from our process & adapt our story collecting methods to better suit the needs of the community.
Our social researchers live/work/play in Dentonia and Edgeley Park. This made it easier for us to gain the community’s trust & engage in conversations with them. We hosted focus groups for a more comfortable mode of story sharing.
We reached out to prominent members of the community, such as the organizers of Shwasti, a local Bengali seniors group, as well as other community organizers & nonprofits to get a better picture of the kinds of work & care happening in the community.
We made sure to be present and available at both parks in order to get a sense of who uses them & why. Thus, we were able to establish a presence in the community in order to get folx to feel more comfortable sharing their experiences with us.
We were able to create a youth group at Edgeley Park with BIPOC youth who lived in the area and frequented the park. We engaged in conversations with them over time, building trust between them and gained a better sense of the community.
We offered to engage with people online if they did not feel comfortable meeting in person or at the park. We wanted to respect people’s boundaries, especially when sharing personal stories or stories that might be difficult to share.
The project began in July 2021 and will be concluded by December 2021.
It was important for us to build trust & relationships with one another to better understand our personal goals & collective aims for the project. This helped ground & guide us how we want to co-design this project together.
We brainstormed our methods of outreach as a team. Then began experimenting with story collecting ideas to highlight the experiences of BIPOC community members. This created a variety of iterations throughout the process.
We believe in creating artefacts that will impact the BIPOC communities we serve, as a gift of gratitude that they can tangibly use at their own time. This can be created in different media that holds meaning for each individual.
Our methods & ideas of community outreach put into action. This process was a reciprocal relationship between community members & social researchers. We continually learned, reassessed, & fostered relationships of trust with community members to meet their needs.
We currently have 9 story experiments that you can read & interact with. *Disclaimer: Some of the pages are currently being constructed & modified, keep checking the page to view them when they are available. [Click the link to view the gallery].
Team Members + Roles
Youth who are connected to their community. They are trained in oral story collecting, story curation, & editing — to amplify, uplift, & listen to BIPOC’s lived experiences. They seek & provide a platform of diverse narratives of the community, who want their stories to be heard & shared.
I am a queer/trans/non-binary/Hindu/Sri Lankan. I have spent a few years trying to recover from activist burnout so at this moment, I am limiting myself to playing two roles – working on this project & being a student.
I’m a Black man (Ghanaian-Canadian) from Jane & Finch. I’m a brother, son, student, & facilitator. I’m from a single parent household & eldest of 3, my voice is one that I’ve been learning to stand firm in all whilst trying to find it.
I am Tamil & my identity was mainly shaped in the growing up in Jane & Finch. A lot of my schooling was in the area & going to uni at York. For me I enjoy chess, helping youth, & in the future I want to be a lawyer & see where that takes me.
I am a first generation student & community leader. I am attempting to learn the French language. I am learning more about myself daily & I love what I am divulging to myself, about myself during this season of my life.
Youth who support & collaborate with our social researchers on their individual project timelines. They develop social media content that reflects & amplifies the progress of our team & engages with the public. They ensure our work is accessible to a diversity of audiences.
I am Afro-Caribbean, Queer, neurodivergent. I am a holistic health educator & Reiki practitioner & friend. My voice is one that I’ve had to work with, & learn how to respect so that I can carry that respect with me into interaction with others.
I’m first gen Tibetan & learning the privileges & shortcomings of my identity. I’m a fresh graduate who wants to continue working in non-profit & governance. I feel these spaces create real change for communities I belong to.
They ensure that collectively & individually each team member is being supported with care throughout their process. They provide facilitation of our team’s process & provide one-on-one guidance in planning, navigating, & overcoming obstacles that team members are going through.
I’m a 1.5 gen queer non-binary Filipino pal. I’m an artivist, community bridge, & student in ECEC. I’m currently finding my voice again within my commUNITY & how being grounded in community is healing for yourself & others.