SkyscraperCity Forum banner
1 - 20 of 235 Posts

· ~ Mysterious Entity ~
Joined
·
5,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thread is to discuss Toronto's parks, gardens, sports facilities and public squares, and for pictures of these places including streetview images.

Does Toronto need more parks, gardens, squares, and sports facilities (ie public basketball courts/baseball diamonds/etc.)?

If so where should they be created and how should they be designed and what examples around the world could Toronto learn from?

What Toronto parks do you currently enjoy visiting?

Do improvements need to be made to existing parks or do they need to be better maintained?

I've noticed numerous side discussions pop up in other threads from time to time addressing these issues (most recently in the couture condos thread) so I thought it would be nice to have a thread dedicated to the topic. If such a thread already exists, this one can of course be deleted.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
4,015 Posts
We need to start by fixing up the parks and raw parkland that we have. Rouge park is said to be the largest urban park in North America. It's more than 10 times the size of Central Park. It just needs to be developed into a proper park. The whole Don Valley Ravine is also miles of mostly raw parkland waiting to be developed. We also have Downsview Park, which is slowly being developed. When you think about it, we have a whole lot of undeveloped park land. (oh, Leslie Spit too, it's also a huge area) We just need to fix up the parks we already have.
 

· ~ Mysterious Entity ~
Joined
·
5,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What exactly is being done to Downsview Park to develop it?
 

· ~ Mysterious Entity ~
Joined
·
5,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, those are just gorgeous!

Is this part of the Casa Loma grounds?

 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
84,386 Posts
It's more than 10 times the size of Central Park. It just needs to be developed into a proper park.
Why? It is absolutely gorgeous the way it is. Why do we have the desire to manicure every bit of Mother Nature? It boggles my mind that people don't use it because it is not paved and has no hot dog stands.
 

· Registered User
Joined
·
2,416 Posts
I agree with TB. I think we have the perfect mix of manicured and natural parks in Toronto. I'd hate to see something as beautiful as the Rouge Valley turned into a tourist destination with fountains, food stands and a zoo.
A walkable trail (dirt) from the beach to Kingston Road would be nice. That section is very difficult to traverse without a canoe.

I'm pretty happy with the rest, ignoring that it's mostly coniferous which doesn't let the interesting ground-level plants grow.
 

· ~ Mysterious Entity ~
Joined
·
5,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I agree with TB. I think we have the perfect mix of manicured and natural parks in Toronto. I'd hate to see something as beautiful as the Rouge Valley turned into a tourist destination with fountains, food stands and a zoo.
It would still be nice to see a really spectacular manicured park on the order of say, Golden Gate Park, or even the much smaller La Fontaine Park, but not necessarily at Rouge Park's location. In fact something like that would be better closer to the core.
 

· Mơמkƹ͛ƴ∆ґ&#4
Joined
·
5,785 Posts
I agree with TB. I think we have the perfect mix of manicured and natural parks in Toronto.
Though I think many of our manicured parks could stand to be improved. Better paving, more fountains (as many of us have been calling for for years, Grange Park in particular could do with a grand fountain at the centre), and more flowers and elaborate gardening would always be nice.


I'd hate to see something as beautiful as the Rouge Valley turned into a tourist destination with fountains, food stands and a zoo.
It already has a zoo. The zoo in fact. ;)


It would still be nice to see a really spectacular manicured park on the order of say, Golden Gate Park, or even the much smaller La Fontaine Park, but not necessarily at Rouge Park's location. In fact something like that would be better closer to the core.
Golden Gate Park more or less = High Park.
 

· ~ Mysterious Entity ~
Joined
·
5,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Anyone have some pictures of High Park? I've never actually been there...
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
84,386 Posts
I've not time now to post any, but if you follow the link to my photothread you can see the photos I took this Spring at High Park of the cherry trees. It is a gorgeous park
that is larger than Hyde Park in London and half the size of Central Park in New York. Again, sadly, many Torontonians don't even know this park even though it is extremely easy
to access via subway. Often I hear people wish we had big parks like this, without realizing we do.

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=334362&page=172

At 570 acres, probably our largest "manicured" park is the Toronto Islands. They are also my favourite park and are the largest car free community in North America.
 

· ~ Mysterious Entity ~
Joined
·
5,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Within another thread it was suggested that within downtown, more recreation space may be needed because of the ever increase downtown population. With permission from one of the local moderators, I decided to move the discussion stream here rather than have it be tangential chatter in a building thread.

Quoted from the Couture thread, RE image posted by steveve

Not going to happen, but I always thought those identical apartment slabs directly north of Maple Leaf Gardens should be redeveloped. The one closest to Church could be rebuilt right up to the Church Street apron, with retail at the bottom and 4-5 times taller. The others knocked down and an urban park built for the Church-Wellesley locals. All the LGBT sports teams could play their games there and it could become a focal point for the community.

Locals have no where in the summer to lounge except a patio or some concrete step. I bet it would be packed like sardines in the summer. This block is currently not an efficient use of space and could be so much more than it is. None of the residents would need to be displaced permanently, just relocated in one tall building along Church.
Hush your mouth!!! City Park was originally given permission to erect 5 buildings instead of the current 3, but the owners thought it would be a tad slummy. The units in City Park are not only HUGE but pretty much sound proof and very affordable. The complex is in amazingly good shape considering it is almost 60 years old. It has always been at the vanguard of recycling programs with a 95% dry recycling rate, one of the first buildings to introduce organic recycling several years ago and now has electronics and hazardous waste recycling. This is a friendly community that works very well and to contemplate destroying it for park space defies common sense. You might want to refer to "Toronto Architecture - A City Guide" by Patricia McHugh for a greater appreciation of this complex. By the way, there is a huge amount of beautifully landscaped green space between the buildings for those who want to sunbath and the apartment balconies are also HUGE. Believe me, the locals are not in want of more green space.

You might want to consider revisiting your current opinion by taking a closer look at the complex. These buildings are pre-slab and are not without the detailing allowed by the International Style of the time.
You're entitled to your opinion, but sound proof/affordable/a good recycling program are hardly good reasons to abandon studying better use of scarce land. Are you suggesting these things are too complicated concepts to be reproduced in the new building?

Those sunbathing spaces you speak of are small patches of grass for residents of those buildings, what about the rest of the people in the Church-Wellesley neighbourhood? Where are we supposed to go? Locals don't want more green space? I am a local and I'm tired of having to go to the waterfront, Centre Island, or Cherry Beach for it. Those places are nice, but we should have a BIG park where we live.
I've never had much problem walking to Queen's Park, University of Toronto, or the linear parks over the Yonge Subway not to mention Allan Gardens or Manulife. I would think that Rosedale Valley, Craigleigh Gardens, Ryerson Quad or Cabbagetown's parks would be far easier and quicker to get to than Toronto Islands or Cherry Beach. I'm sorry that you are finding it so difficult to find a place to relax. For myself, whenever I want to sit in a quiet park and read, I just head to Sugar Beach. I'm a senior and it's no big deal to walk there. It's actually a delightful 30 minute walk. The lack of park space in downtown Toronto is nothing compared to the lack of affordable housing which City Park provides. By the way, anybody can use the lawns at City Park though they usually go unused. Just how much space do you require?

And why target City Park rather than something more central to Church Wellesley. Oops, I forgot Cawthra Park and the Paul Kane Park. I simply don't see the point in destroying a successful affordable neighbourhood that works to provide sports grounds for GLBT teams which would only serve to segregate them further from the larger community. Sports grounds a block from a major downtown subway station sounds like a tragic waste of resources. I admire your desire to create a better city but this idea sounds quite impractical - I mean, who is going to pay for this prime real estate to be turned over to recreational uses and just how many users will there be in winter to justify the cost?
I play in gay sports leagues, so I was looking more for something large enough for our teams to use, but multi purposed so as to become a loved amenity for all of Church-Wellesley. Those other parks aren't in Church-Wellesley. The point was to build something for the community rather than a question of being too lazy to walk to Sugar Beach.

I've seen similar parks in downtown New York and London and they do wonders for the immediate vicinity. I don't see them as a waste of resources, but adding tremendously to the quality of life of the neighbourhoods they exist in. Church & Wellesley doesn't have anything of significant size. Cawthra Park is puny. As the core densifies, our opportunity for such an amenity gets further and further out of reach.

Toronto saw the wisdom in building Dundas Square, it also showed that urban renewal on a large scale is quite do-able (Regents Park). Are we really going to add another 100 condo towers downtown and not build any more large public spaces for the people that live here? I think we will come to regret it if we don't plan for them. They have to go somewhere and it will require compromise and redevelopment of some blocks.
The way those buildings are situated, does waste a lot of valuable space. I wouldn't want to tear them all down but I think there might be enough space between them, to build a few more buildings in there. That parking lot along the Church Street side needs to be taken out and replaced with retail buildings. It would be quite easy to do that and would be such a big improvement to Church Street and the neighbourhood.

By the way, the redevelopment of Regent Park also includes a new park beside the aquatic centre. The West Don Lands will also have a big new park, so you can't say the city isn't getting new parks. I believe Cawthra Park is getting redesigned soon which is good because it's not looking so good these days.

The sad part is we have a HUGE area of raw, lush, undeveloped park land running along the ravines of the Don Valley, yet the city pretty much ignores it. Toronto has more ravines than any other city in the WORLD but no tourist (and few Torontonians) will ever know/see that. Few people use it for anything besides a transportation route. When I walk along there, I see few other people around and god help you if you are of need of a toilet. One day this city will realize what a great resource it could be and maybe they will start using it for parks, sports and other creative uses. It's just there waiting to be put to good use.

What Toronto really lacks is a beautiful, well designed park. Our parks usually look like a patch of grass with random trees thrown here and there. We just don't do those stylish, innovative, beautiful parks that other places do. I think we need one unique and highly detailed, beautifully designed park, lush with colourful plants, cool lighting and great art. That's what we really need!
What about the big empty lot on Breadalbane? It may not be right in Church-Wellesley, but it's pretty damn close. And it wouldn't require any buildings to be demoed; just some site resurfacing and landscaping. I'm not sure if there are any proposals for the location, but it's too big to justify wasting on condos which can be shoe horned into much tighter spaces. And the recreation space could also be enjoyed by the growing populations of Bay street and Yorkville as well.




Redeveloping the first 8-10 floors of those 2 condo towers on Bay into a giant retail podium for a Macy's that fronts onto both Bay and a new public square that stretches all the way to Yonge Street. It would give Bay a much needed boost, and create another Dundas Square further north. The buildings fronting Yonge would have to come down.

Phase 2: major intensification on the north and south sides of the square.
Why not just stack the middle ones on top of the ones on the ends, and have a park in the middle? It would make more sense to start from scratch, although residents in those buildings might not want to move regardless of what you offer them.
The way those buildings are situated, does waste a lot of valuable space. I wouldn't want to tear them all down but I think there might be enough space between them, to build a few more buildings in there. That parking lot along the Church Street side needs to be taken out and replaced with retail buildings. It would be quite easy to do that and would be such a big improvement to Church Street and the neighbourhood.
Why not just stack the middle ones on top of the ones on the ends, and have a park in the middle? It would make more sense to start from scratch, although residents in those buildings might not want to move regardless of what you offer them.
I've never had much problem walking to Queen's Park, University of Toronto, or the linear parks over the Yonge Subway not to mention Allan Gardens or Manulife. I would think that Rosedale Valley, Craigleigh Gardens, Ryerson Quad or Cabbagetown's parks would be far easier and quicker to get to than Toronto Islands or Cherry Beach. I'm sorry that you are finding it so difficult to find a place to relax. For myself, whenever I want to sit in a quiet park and read, I just head to Sugar Beach. I'm a senior and it's no big deal to walk there. It's actually a delightful 30 minute walk. The lack of park space in downtown Toronto is nothing compared to the lack of affordable housing which City Park provides. By the way, anybody can use the lawns at City Park though they usually go unused. Just how much space do you require?

And why target City Park rather than something more central to Church Wellesley. Oops, I forgot Cawthra Park and the Paul Kane Park. I simply don't see the point in destroying a successful affordable neighbourhood that works to provide sports grounds for GLBT teams which would only serve to segregate them further from the larger community. Sports grounds a block from a major downtown subway station sounds like a tragic waste of resources. I admire your desire to create a better city but this idea sounds quite impractical - I mean, who is going to pay for this prime real estate to be turned over to recreational uses and just how many users will there be in winter to justify the cost?
^^ +1
There are tons of parks and greenspaces in this city that people simply don't even bother to use as it is.
You could have used that argument against building Dundas Square.
?? Sorry, but I can't imagine calling YD Square a "park" or "green space". I would never take my dog for a walk there because it is a town square, not a park, and was much needed.

I've heard arguments that we should have a Central Park like the one in New York. When you stop to think about it, that would entail bulldozing every building between Bloor Street and Front Street and between Yonge and Spadina which we can file under the "Ain't Gonna Happen" category, along with snow peaked mountains. As fun as it is to complain we don't have enough parks and wish we had massive tracks of parkland in the middle of the city, an alternative is to get to know the ones we have. It is no more difficult to go to Queen's Park or Allan Gardens than it is to go to any park in any other city; it just involves going off our beaten track a tiny bit.
I'm not suggesting that Dundas Square is a park or green space, but a public space for people to lounge in. It serves a similar public function: one is green, the other is not. I remember people complaining that Dundas Square wasn't necessary due to other public areas being under utilized. It's a weak argument and we all know how Dundas Square turned out.

Toronto will need another public area the size of DS or larger off Yonge and it needs to go between College and Bloor.

We need both public parks and public squares. Both serve an important purpose. We have a huge amount of undeveloped parkland, along the Don River and our ravines. It sits there mostly unused but once Toronto becomes serious about park development, it could be turned into great parks, public spaces and sporting venues. It's just waiting to be developed when we're ready. Toronto has the largest ravine system of any major city in the WORLD!
But that they're undeveloped is kinda the point. Its unspoiled green space in the middle of the city. Besides the existing paths, there isn't anything else that can or should be "developed" within them.
^^ +1

Why would anyone want to spoil that incredibly beautiful ravine by turning it into a "Park" with a capital "P"? I encourage everyone to visit it, if they have not already. It is a stunning place to walk.
Agree. I think in 10-15 years when our downtown core has another 50-60 condo towers and 60,000 more residents we'll regret not having the foresight to build another Dundas Square or 2. I'd rather the next square be green: something like Bryant Park. We'd still need another one after that though: grass suitable for recreational activities like soccer, football, or just sun bathing, dog walking, etc.

Downtown Toronto's population increased by 32% between 2006 and 2011 to about 175,000. It's likely to increase substantially beyond that. What's sufficient today will not be sufficient tomorrow. Thank God we built Dundas Square, but we need a few more public spaces that size.
Personally I'm going to have to partially agree with isaidso's and Molly's assessment of the poor land use with those buildings. When they were built, downtown was not as large and dense as it is now, and although they've certainly fulfilled their purpose, I think the land could be put to better use now.

However, I'd like to see the whole space made into parkland fronting Church, that was the space would be large enough that it can contain a small garden with a water feature, benches, trees, and a clearing that can be used for frisbee, as well as maybe a basketball or tennis court. Baseball diamond and running track can be at Breadalbane.

Here are some streetview images showing the area as it is now.



 

· Registered
Joined
·
4,015 Posts
Why? It is absolutely gorgeous the way it is. Why do we have the desire to manicure every bit of Mother Nature? It boggles my mind that people don't use it because it is not paved and has no hot dog stands.
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with keeping some parks all natural and secluded. You can keep it just as bush land but few people will visit it. It pretty well sits unused right now. There are very few washrooms anywhere in the park or places to eat, or even buy water, so very few families will trek down there. There is nothing wrong with just keeping it like a forest but than is it really a park? In that case we could say that half the province is a park because it's just uninhabited bush.

I would prefer to have a few amenities so more people would use it. I think there could be a happy medium between bush land and a proper park with services. The whole ravine system is mainly just bush, along with the Leslie Street Spit. You can't say Toronto is lacking in undeveloped bush land.

What Toronto is really lacking in is intricately designed parks that are creative, colourful, well-groomed and beautiful. (like the music garden park in Harbourfront, Casa Loma's garden and the south part of St. James Park) I'd like to see more flower gardens, art, fountains, sculptures and stylish parks. I just like things that are highly designed, detailed and lush. Things like sculpted trees and bushes are very attractive to me. We do very little of that in Toronto. I guess that's because it costs money and takes some effort and we know how much our government loves doing that.
 

· ~ Mysterious Entity ~
Joined
·
5,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'd say that the Port Lands could make for a very cool park. I'd like to see them keep some of the industrial remnants there since it adds a cool broody atmosphere, but add lots of trees, grass, benches, statues/fountains, some water features, a playground, and sports equipment like a basketball court, skate park, etc. Things like warehouses could be converted into park facilities like concert/dance halls. There is already the start of a cool park there with the waterfront trail, and marinas, etc, but cold be truly grand.

The location is exceptional with being on the water, having a great view of the skyline, and adjacent to downtown.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
4,015 Posts
^^ They are supposed to be building Lake Ontario Park in the Portlands. The parks are already there, they are just going to tie them all together and present them as one big park. It will go from Cherry Beach Park all the way to The Leslie Street Spit, so that will be a pretty big park.

And don't forget the parks that will be created with the redevelopment of the lower Don River. If they keep the original plan, it will provide lots of park space along the river, right to Lake Ontario.

I'd like to see more culture, entertainment and tourist type attractions (No, not a casino lol) built in the Portlands and along our waterfront. We also could use some good public squares. Hopefully, the new square at Harbourfront will be a good one. (or better yet, a GREAT one) Just the name, Canada Square, deserves something spectacular.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
84,386 Posts
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with keeping some parks all natural and secluded. You can keep it just as bush land but few people will visit it. It pretty well sits unused right now..
Not my experience at all; plenty of people use the ravine system paths. It just isn't manicured and relies more on natural beauty than artificial; I'm always bowled away by it. To be honest, if attracting more families means putting in concession stands, Elvis buskers and face painting festivals, then I'm happy to keep it the way it is. I guess if you can't pee in a bush then it is best go to the more developed parks in the city! :)









 
1 - 20 of 235 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top