Will (Musician) and Zanzara Fortune’s (Artist) Perspective on Spring Ridge Commons

Will and Zanzara Fortune live close by Spring Ridge Commons in Fernwood.   A few years ago, Will and Zanzara became regular attendees at our Bee in the Garden – Will entertaining us with his wonderful playing of his keyboard (and currently with his keytar) and Zanzara, the artist gracing the Commons with her beautiful painted rocks as well as contributing to our collaborative mural which was behind the large  Spring Ridge Commons Map/Informational Sign .    

  •  How do you use Spring Ridge Commons?

Zanzara:  We live probably a three minute walk from Spring Ridge Commons and the first time we came across Spring Ridge Commons was when Linda and Sean were having tea and we had our grandchildren with us and we couldn’t stop but I just asked if I could put some painted rock in the community garden and they said yes and from that point onward I came and I started painting here and hanging out.

Will:  We’ve done a couple of other things too. I like to play my piano here. This is the best venue ever; there is interesting people wandering through. It feels good to be here. The other thing we say is “Lets go forage at Spring Ridge Commons!” and we eat dinner here – We’ve had fig leaves, we’ve had kale, we had cardoons – we thought they were artichokes – they were delicious, berries, miner’s lettuce, stuffed grapes leaves and a few other things so it’s kind of fun to forage and we sit in our apartment and wonder what what we are going to eat from the Commons.

  • What does Spring Ridge Commons bring to you?

Will:  It is just a beautiful place and I don’t have to worry about anything. I can come here to play and it’s legal to be here. The police were here one time while I was playing piano and I had a busking licence and he said you don’t need it here. It’s private property and that’s really nice because if you play in the wrong place you could get a free trip to the police station.

Zanzara:  What I like about it – it’s just Fernwood-esque . It’s green. It’s calm and peaceful and people will take short cuts through the garden and you can meet all sorts of people …. people play games … you don’t feel rushed…. and my grandson, he really likes coming with me to water..kids love water.. I just give him the hose and he loves watering….he thinks it’s the greatest things …. Are we going to Spring Ridge Commons? He loves it.

  • What would be lost if it were not here?

Zanzara:   It would be the same old…same old….If this wasn’t here, the obvious thing would be in its place would be a building..like we need more buildings….It’s park-like, it’s really close to us and we can walk to it and we don’t have to worry about walking down to Beacon Hill Park…. We don’t have a car so you have to get strategic about where you want to go. The other thing is that it is a place to walk to which will sometime get us out the door on a walk because we have a destination and it’s not too far away.

Will:   The other thing is that it is a permaculture installation so that it is more than just a park with lawn which costs money to care of…..It’s actually food so to me it’s important for people to start gaining that awareness – even if the Commons does not produce that much food, it’s not going to feed the neighbourhood or anything but still just to get the consciousness of people – that this is what a permaculture installation looks like – it’s a low maintenance garden designed to provide food. I think that’s great. I wish there were more places like this. Instead of having some of the parks, which is ridiculous, there are never used – rather than having a green lawn….when the people are working on permaculture project, you can learn a lot from them— tell you what they are doing.

Zanzara:     The other thing too is we were talking about putting benches in there. 4 to 5 or 6 benches here but my grandson, the one who likes to come here to water is just entering kindergarten, he is very shy and is having a difficult time integrating so my daughter came home and said there is something that they put in some of the schools in the US and some of the bigger city in Canada which they call friendship benches *** and if you are feeling lonely you can just sit on that friendship bench and someone will say that that person has nobody to play with and will come over. I guess I kind of look at these benches in the same way. If someone is sitting here, private property on a bench, you don’t want to disturb them if they are in a meditative state, but on the same token, you can sit down and talk with them. A lot of people we’ve mentioned to come to Spring Ridge Commons…. people new to the neighbourhood, so it’s really a nice way of meeting your neighbours on a neutral ground and finding out whether you have anything in common. Would you like to socialize with them.



  • What are your concerns about Spring Ridge Commons?

Zanzara:  Plants don’t grow fast enough for us to eat….

Will:  I enjoy the space…. it is a great place to be.

  • Imagine five years into the future. In your ideal future, what would be the same and what would be different about Spring Ridge Commons?

Zanzara: Everything would be bigger.

Will:   Fun space to be to hang out – I don’t think there need to a lot more than it is.

Zanzara:   Remain as is. More established plants…. New things pop up and that’s great!


Spring Ridge Commons Youtube Video – June 7 + 8, 2014:

Painted Rocks by Zanzara:

Painted Rock 2
Painted Rock 3Painted Rocks 1

Collaborative Mural in 2012:

Oct 2012



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