Volunteers restore Occupy Toronto park

Dec. 8, 2011 at 1:57 PM
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TORONTO, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Landscapers saved the city of Toronto $60,000 Thursday by volunteering material and labor to restore a park left in ruins by the Occupy Toronto encampment.

St. James Park, co-owned by the city and an adjacent cathedral for which it's named, was left barren of grass and the soil was packed down after hundreds of protesters erected tents and lived there for five weeks before being evicted Nov. 23.

Unasked, the Ontario Sod Growers Association, Landscape Ontario and various other competitors announced they would restore the soil, lay sod and mulch around trees for the oncoming winter, the Toronto Sun reported.

Clean-up and soil aeration began Wednesday, and by midday Thursday, about 100 volunteer landscapers had laid 11,000 square feet of sod, helped by 35 city workers, Director of Parks Richard Ubbens said.

He said area businesses had donated food and drinks for the workers as well.

The city is undergoing broad and unpopular budget cuts and would have faced a $60,000 bill to restore the park.

Area residents were asked to stay off the new grass to allow it to take root before the soil begins to freeze.

Next week, volunteers are scheduled to string Christmas lights in the trees, the report said.

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