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Real City Matters

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Toronto Welcomes Barbara Hall Park

City honours work of former mayor and human rights advocate with park renaming.

SPOTTED BY: Twitter user Zack Taylor

WHERE: 519 Church Street

WHEN: Wednesday, July 16, 6 p.m.

WHAT: The renaming of Cawthra Square Park in honour of former mayor Barbara Hall. Hall is known for her advocacy on human rights and LGBTQ issues—when, for example, she walked in the Pride parade during her term of office, which lasted from 1994 to 1997, she became the first mayor of a major city ever to do so. She now serves as the Ontario Human Rights Chief Commissioner.

Mayor Rob Ford was not in evidence, but election rivals Olivia Chow, John Tory, Karen Stinz, and David Soknacki were all on hand to lend their support.

A chalk-drawn trans memorial that had appeared in the park in recent days was removed before the event—but its anonymous creators have vowed that it will return. And Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale), a central supporter of the park’s renaming, suggested on Twitter that this could be the start of a more enduring monument: “Was it the chalk memorial? Let’s build a permanent one together. Barbara will help us.”