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Persephone – The Kensington Market Garden Car

Submitted by on Wednesday November 11, 2009 – 10:34 pm | 3 Comments
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Late in the afternoon on Remembrance Day, the Garden Car in Kensington Market called it a season and was towed to its winter home.

The Garden Car has been a summer fixture on north Augusta Avenue in the market since Spring 2006.

In June of that year, Streets Are For People located a clunker destined for the scrap heap and convinced the owner to donate it for a community art project.

In so doing, the well known battlecry of sustainability — One Less Car — was turned on its head resulting in One More Garden.

Originally dubbed the Community Vehicular Reclamation Project, it quickly became one of the most photographed cars in Toronto.

Can you quickly and easily say Community Vehicular Reclamation Project in conversation? Neither can anyone else. The neighbourhood affectionately re-dubbed it The Garden Car.

During the hour or so it took for the tow truck driver to hook up the car, many many many many passers-by kept asking why The Garden Car was being towed away?

Shamez, Michael J., and Yvonne, three of the four co-founders of Streets Are For People present took turns reassuring everyone that the Garden Car would be back by spring in time for the first Pedestrian Sunday of 2010.

It’s a condition of the city that the car be removed from Augusta Avenue over the fall and winter months.

Towing it away ain’t as easy as one may think.

The added weight of the soil in the car’s usually empty front and rear passenger seats plus what’s in the trunk and hood make it more art than science when it comes to preparing the car for a safe balanced tow-away.

I wondered aloud if anyone had ever given a name to the Garden Car? As it happened, Shamez’s sister was present and informed me that just today, they had named it Persephone.

The name was chosen because the meaning behind it is interwoven in myth with the changing of and return of the seasons.

Next spring Persephone, the Kensington Market Garden Car, is expected to return to its parking / planting spot on north Augusta Avenue.

In the meantime, Kensington Market now has — what else? — one more parking spot.


  • Kim Koyama says:

    I work in the area and I love this car. I saw it being towed, and every year at this time I am left to wonder if it will be back. Thanks for keeping us informed.

  • HiMY SYeD says:

    You’re welcome Kim,

    Perhaps with the economy being in downturn, Kensington Market might luck out and be able to snag an SUV or who knows, maybe even a Hummer for their next Garden Car.

    One less Hummer!

  • Pix says:

    I helped paint this car, I brought my big Border Collie/ Newfoundlander cross with me and he would sit on the grassy nole on the hood of the car with a bowl of water. Lots of people came by and took pictures. Sadly, my beloved Calvin passed away peacefully at home on friday, April 22 2011, just 3 months shy of his 15th birthday. I am looking for anyone who may have or have seen any photos anywhere of my dog perched on the hood? I would LOVE a copy. P.S. I MISS THAT CAR!