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CityPlace & Fort York neighbourhoods thrive on Facebook

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There’s a place on the internet where you can discover everything you need to know about the CityPlace and Fort York communities. It’s called Facebook.

Members of both neighbourhoods discuss issues daily on the social media site with the neighbourhood pages seeing multiple posts a day on a variety of topics.

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Picture of Vicki Townley Trottier and Gary Pieters

Issues such as dog parks, parking spots, and transit frequently appear on the page, often followed by lengthy threads of debate and comments.

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“We talk about everything,” Gary Pieters, the CityPlace group moderator explains. “Food critiques, real estate, buy and sell, discussions surrounding condo living are some of the topics. The page has been effective in bringing voices together,” Gary says. “We talk about everything.”

He says that some of the most popular posts are about pets; particularly posts about dogs running off leash and people not picking up after them. The types of posts that get the most attention are also about neighbourhood parking, transportation, and congestion.

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“Transportation and pedestrian safety are popular,” Gary says. “Transportation is a hot topic in this neighbourhood. It’s a huge vertical community and access to transit is a major concern.”

Gary is right. A recent post on a new bus route that runs through CityPlace was surprisingly popular. Some were using it to get to Cherry Beach, others saying it’s a waste of TTC money.

The CityPlace Facebook Toronto Group started in 2005 because people wanted a place to talk about issues.

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“I’d meet people on the street waiting at a crosswalk to talk,” Gary says. “People were looking for a sense of community someplace or somehow.”

A couple of people including Gary then started the page and there are currently seven administrators.

“We wanted to build a community like if you go to Yorkville, Liberty Village or the Distillery,” Gary says.

The CityPlace Facebook Toronto Group has more than 5,000 members and has grown by 400 percent since its inception in 2005.

“I think that the Facebook group continues to breathe life into the community. People can search the page and get all kinds of information. They can get vibrancy of the community and celebrate people and places in the neighbourhood. It’s all about community building. With social media, you can connect people.”

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Vicki Townley Trottier agrees. She’s the moderator/administrator for the Fort York Neighbourhood Association Group on Facebook.

“It’s a good way for people to get to know one another in different ways,” Vicki explains. “I see a lot of events online, and it’s natural to share things like that on social media.”

Vicki has professional experience in communications. Working in social media, she’s online all day. “I don’t have to go out of my way to do it,” she explains.

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Vicki is often the one posting useful city news, such as the post about the Rail Deck, a proposed park that would cover the GO Train tracks between Blue Jays Way and Bathurst, that capture people’s attention and get a lot of comments.

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Like the CityPlace Facebook group, Vicki says there’s a real mix of issues, many common to both neighbourhoods, especially since CityPlace and Fort York are only separated by Bathurst Street. A post about bikes locked up to trees got the city’s attention, and they were removed, saving the trees from damage. “I always try to post things like road closures,” she adds. A long conversation also happened when a neighbourhood dog went missing.“People care about those things,” Vicki explains.

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“A recent post with a lot of feedback was about a pedicure,” Vicki says. The person had posted a message thanking people ‘so much’ after getting several responses about where to get a pedicure in the neighbourhood. “It was her first time posting, and the community was helpful,” Vicki adds.

Unlike CityPlace, which has a social club (and social club Facebook page) that is newly underway, Fort York doesn’t have a page for social gatherings.

“Someone tried, but it didn’t happen,” Vicki explains. “It’s tough to spearhead it, but we’d welcome it.”

Both neighbourhood Facebook pages have made action happen. They are both effective platforms to voice issues about the neighbourhoods.

 

Toronto by Day Photo Series: CityPlace

 

 

Diana Pereira

Diana Pereira is a journalist, a university journalism teacher, a world traveller, a fair-weather kayaker, and a frequent bruncher. She's working on her mermaid status, travelling to as many countries as she can that include a body of water and when she's home in Toronto, you can find her in a kayak on Lake Ontario.

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