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No big Park in the city core: lost opportunity or future development?

13856 Views 156 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Taller, Better
I have noticed that there is no big park in or near the downtown core.

There are the areas of trinity-bellwods and cabbagetown but they are not big enough.

Plenty of lands has been repurposed but none of that has gone to parks.

Is there hope for a big park in central Toronto or is gone?

Could Toronto have its own Central, Hyde, Regent Park?

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I'm late to the conversation, but isn't High Park in the core? Sure, it's not right in the Financial District, but what cities have huge parks right at their Downtowns? Chicago with Grant Park? Boston with Boston Common (which isn't a true landscaped park anyway)? More often than not, the big parks are close, but not in, the Downtown core. Central Park was built away from Lower Manhattan, and all of Manhattan is now a central business district, it seems, but it was away from the original Downtown. Fairmount Park in Philadelphia is away from the CBD. Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is away from the CBD. City Park in New Orleans is away from the CBD. There are more, less-famous examples of big parks a little distance away from Downtowns.
Getting rid of the airport would be a mistake, in my opinion. The biggest cities, nowadays, need two or more airports. One handles international and the most important destinations. The other handles more local service. Look at New York City; it has two major airports (JFK and EWR), and several smaller airports with lots of commercial traffic (LaGuardia, which has international flights; Islip; Westchester County; and even Stewart in Newburgh if you want to count that). Washington DC has Dulles, Reagan, and BWI. Los Angeles has LAX, Burbank, Orange County, Ontario, etc.

Putting all of the flights at Pearson would probably be bad because then the local connections would disappear. Billy Bishop Airport serves flights to places like Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Ottawa, etc. Airfare is cheaper because there's less demand for flights from Billy Bishop. If you put those flights at Pearson, prices will go up because of the demand for runway space, not necessarily because of more customers. Then flights to other places in Ontario will become less frequent. And when Pearson has to cut flights because it gets too busy, which flights do you think will be cut from service: the flights to Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, or the flights to Heathrow, Rome, or Los Angeles? Obviously, the international flights will stay, and the people of Ontario will lose a way to move about their own province.

To me, speaking from experience (even I have used Billy Bishop Airport), the airport has value both as a connection at a low cost to consumers to move around central and eastern Canada, and also as convenient access to Downtown for those living in the area, or for charter flights.
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^^ There's a tunnel with moving sidewalk that crosses under that channel. It is much more convenient than the ferry.
I'm reading that report and it states that the waterfront is home to a higher proportion of lower income residents. Really? The Harbourfront, with all its condos and development, seems to be one of the more desirable areas in Toronto. With the rejuvenation of waterfronts around the globe, I don't know of too many waterfronts near central business districts that are low-income areas.

This is, of course, ignoring that this article seems more biased than objective, given the graphic of a skull on the airplane, implying that planes and airports are death factories. You would think there were no laws in place already that regulate emissions, noise, pollution, etc.

By the way, who lives nearest to Pearson airport? Low income people? Even if that's not the case, is the health of people living near Pearson less important because it's not near the urban core?
Airport-related pollution, noise, and traffic may be negligible compared to the regular pollution, noise, and traffic that Downtown Toronto already produces.
Part of what makes the Islands so interesting and unique is that you have that barrier to access by needing the ferry, which means that some/most of the Islands are quiet and a little rural, just a mile or two from the skyscrapers of the Financial District. What city has that? London has some islands in the Thames River, like Eel Pie Island, but these aren't right by the City or Westminster. Denmark has Christiania, but this isn't an island. Stockholm has a bunch of islands, with some looking very rural, but Stockholm's city center isn't skyscrapers like Toronto; it's an Old Town section. Roosevelt Island has the view of Manhattan like the Islands do of Toronto (possible a better view of Manhattan than the Islands do of Toronto), but it is more developed than cottages and wooded areas.

To me, as someone who would qualify as a frequent tourist of Toronto, while spending enough time outside the metro area (Port Colborne/Fort Erie) to occasionally utilize amenities like the airport, or stadiums, etc, I really do like the Islands as they are. The airport is very convenient for anyone living on the Golden Horseshoe to fly out to other places across the eastern half of Canada. The Islands, as I mentioned above, are a nice little slice of Cottage Country just minutes from Downtown.
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^^ The Toronto Islands are a proper rural place, if you know their history.
It's like someone from the National Post was browsing through SkyscraperCity for April Fool's ideas!
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Looks like I'm busted. Sorry but I couldn't resist. The photo is from the National Post (so I credited it) but the rest I wrote myself to look like a newspaper article. I found the conceptual drawings online with the CN Tower in the right place so it looked like the airport site.

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