Playter Area Residents’ Association – History and Present
The Playter Area Residents’ Association (PARA) was started in about 1972 by families in the neighbourhood who were interested in advocating against high-rise development and creating a supportive neighbourhood group with both social and political goals. The present Jackman Avenue Public School Fair was begun originally as a street party and fundraiser by PARA, though this is now entirely undertaken by the well-regarded, local primary school itself.
Over its long history PARA has organized neighbourhood street parties, a dedication event for an historical plaque erected at the Playter farmhouse, invited numerous expert speakers to its membership meetings and represented the neighbourhood at countless forums and hearings on matters that pertain to development, urban planning and city issues.
PARA was dormant for a few years, but the need to revive PARA increasingly became evident. By January of 2015, PARA had a “rebirth” of sorts as various issues were affecting our neighbourhood.
- We had lost our collective voice and the ability to be heard at City Hall.
- We had no comprehensive way of communicating with each other.
- Notification of political or development meetings were inconsistently dispersed to local residents.
- Parking and traffic concerns mounted and were not being addressed in a comprehensive manner.
- Developments, such as the new Albany Clinic on Broadview Avenue, had ramifications for the neighbourhood with regard to parking and a large influx of short-term visitors, but we had not engaged in such development plans.
- A City of Toronto study, “The Broadview Avenue Planning Study”, was initiated about this time. It would have long-term effects for the area and we needed to ensure our neighbourhood was represented and our opinions were considered.
- We needed to be better informed as a neighbourhood so we could speak/consider things thoughtfully and advocate for ourselves.
- We had lost touch with other residents’ associations.
- Knowledge of the important history of the Playter family and its relationship to Playter Estates and the City of Toronto was disappearing as the older Playter family members were passing away.
- Individual voices for local reforms were proving to be ineffective and were being dismissed. A larger, collective of voices was needed.