January 24th 2014
Sharon Hampson, right, one third of the musical trio who have had a local playground named after them, visited the park last summer with Councillor Josh Matlow, who proposed the naming, and his family.
Toronto and East York Community Council has addressed the elephant in the room.
On Jan. 15 council passed Josh Matlow’s motion to name the playground at June Rowlands Park, on the corner of Davisville Avenue and Mount Pleasant, after children’s performers Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein and Bram Morrison.
Matlow, the Ward 22 councillor, ducked outside council chambers to tell the Town Crier he was overjoyed with the unanimous decision.
“Naming a children’s playground for Sharon, Lois and Bram is, in my view, such a fitting way to celebrate their contributions to Canadian culture and to the lives of countless children across the country and around the world,” he said. “They are not only such talented and beloved artists, but they are also local community residents.”
Getting the playground so named was a five-month process. In September Matlow’s motion was referred for review under the naming policy.
During that time, however, Sharon, Lois and Bram were left in the lurch on what was happening.
“All through this process, which has been in a sense lengthy, but not, we would not be informed of certain things,” Lilienstein, 77, admitted in a phone interview the day the motion passed. “It’s a culmination of a lot of months of waiting and thinking and jumping for joy.
“I’m speechless. It’s wonderful. It’s like, my goodness, it’s so very special. I’m like a balloon: I’m climbing with helium up to the stars.”
Hampson, 70, echoed her colleague’s emotions.
“There’s something about being in your home territory,” she said. “Our first successes were here in Toronto, and we’ve always done shows in Toronto.
“Especially for Bram and I, because we were born and raised here. I’ve never imagined such a thing — something to be named in our names. It’s a great honour.”
Morrison called in his sentiments from an artist’s colony in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
“We’re very honoured,” he said, via Skype. “We have received some very significant honours in the past from various organizations — two Juno awards and humanitarian awards for our work with UNICEF.”
Also approved was the amendment that the general manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation ensure the signage for the playground be in the shape of an elephant, a tipping of the hat to the trio’s Elephant Show that aired on CBC from 1984 to 1988.
The playground’s naming will be celebrated in the spring.
To read this article in its original form, click here.