When inquiring about the Bocce Court in the park, FoMP pointed me to Lindsay Somers, the friend behind it all. I wanted to find out how the heck she had a bocce court built in the park in front of her house. After getting the Bocce court built, she decided a library was in order. Both initiatives were funded by bake sales. Another sale was put on in December by another friend of the park Karen Falkenberg to fund other initiatives. Now McCormick is well known for the quality of their bake sales! This interview shows you what a bake sale can get you.
■ – How long have you lived in the neighbourhood and how did you end up here?
Lindsay Somers – I have lived in the Brockton triangle neighbourhood for almost 7 years, moved in with my husband who had bought our house on Brock Ave. before we were together. I immediately fell in love with our area north of the tracks.
■ – The bocce court in McCormick Park was your initiative. When did the wheels start spinning and what made you decide to try to get a bocce court built here?
LS – The bocce ball court idea started in the summer of 2011. There was a lot of green space in our park, and I often would play bocce on the baseball diamond with friends. The uneven terrain and multiple piles of dog excrement made for a difficult and challenging game. The idea sparked and I started researching the process that I would need to go through to get a court built.
■ – How did the Friends of McCormick factor in?
Lindsay Somers – I contacted our local councillor Ana Bailao’s office and first came in touch with Nicholas Gallant, Ana’s right hand man. He put me in touch with the Friends of McCormick park who had just formed and only had a handful of members; neighbours I knew and some I recognized but had never met. In May of 2012, I stood in front of this small group of people and presented my idea to build a bocce ball court! With full support, the group helped me get in touch with the parks department where I begun my journey into finding someone who would give me a finite answer on how I could pull this off.
■ – Were all of the funds raised for the Bocce court from the bake sales that you had?
Lindsay Somers – I met with Peter White from the parks department who told me if I raised the funds myself, and donated those funds to the city – they city of toronto would arrange to build the court. I was told one court was $3000 – and so my first attempt at the bake sale began. FOMP’s first bake sale was in July 2012 – and we raised almost $900 during our first day. I was elated!! The members of our community and FOMP all helped bake for our sale, and I couldn’t have done it without them. I sat in the community centre for 2 days – both days lasting around 8-10 hours selling treats, and it was more than worth it.
Our second “bake sale for bocce” was held in December of 2012, and we brought in over $1000. Those two bake sales raised the $1900.00 which I gave to the City of Toronto where they matched the cost and built our Bocce Ball court in July 2013.
■ – The Little Free Library is so cute. I just used it the other day for a children’s book for my kids. This was something you brought to the park too? Tell me about it.
Lindsay Somers – With the bocce ball court built and loved by the community, I knew I wanted to take on another project!! I’ve loved the Little Free Library program for many years and knew this was where I wanted to focus my energy on next – for my own selfish benefit of having the LFL in McCormick park, and to make my father happy, who raised me to read with him almost every night.
In October of 2013, I hosted a Bake Sale for Books and had many Book themed treats to sell. We did very well, earning between $700-800 earning more than enough for our Little Free Library. I ordered an official LFL that was already built and pre-registered – and the bake sale funds covered the entire cost of the unit.
I received the Library and had it installed in the park when the ground thawed in May/June of 2014.
■ – Did you do most of the baking? Or were there other people involved?
Lindsay Somers – I did most of the baking for all three bake sales – mostly because I had the time to spare during that period in my life. Preparing dessert up to 4 days before the sale, I calculated over 24 hours of baking done for the bocce ball court alone. Many neighbours – Jen Cypher and our Dancing crossing guard Kathleen Byers – helped participate in manning the Bake Sale and baking delicious treats for our table.
■ – I’m really impressed with all the people who are building the community with these kind of initiatives. What makes you do it and why is it important to you?
Lindsay Somers – Both the LFL and Bocce ball court have, I believe, genuinely enhanced McCormick park, and helped spark a great initiative among our neighbours to chime in and help make a difference in our community. I get such pleasure from watching the both the Library and Bocce ball court being used. Even last winter – a large group of neighbours gathered around the bocce ball court and played for hours (my house overlooks the bocce ball court and LFL); and a couple of people skated in the court last winter.
So all in all – just an over enthusiastic and eager neighbour who wanted to bring more activities into the park across the street from her house. A lot of my drive is selfish – I love walking to the LFL everyday and trading books, and I really enjoy hosting bocce ball parties in the summer. Every year, McCormick park gets better and better. I look forward to seeing what we (FOMP) can do next!