Gleaner

Serving Toronto's most liveable communities with the Annex Gleaner and Liberty Gleaner

Re-discover these diverting parks

October 8th, 2014 · No Comments

A rich treasure of design and history awaits

This is the second, and final part, of this year’s of this year’s Grading our Greenspace, our annual parks review, writers visited twelve local parks to rate them on a variety of factors, including amenities, cleanliness, and ambience. Do you agree with our assessment? Send us your thoughts to gleanerpub@gmail.com.

 

George Ben Park

Ossington Avenue, just north of

Dundas Street West

Time: 2:00 pm

Grade: C (Last year C)

Reason to go: Being a part of St. Luke Catholic School makes George Ben Park not too much of a park. Equipped with three benches, garbage cans, and a field—which the school uses also—this park would be ideal for any field sports or sprints, which frequently occur. Along the field are newly planted trees which over time will bring nice shade to the open space. There is also a baseball diamond that could use some updating and the grass could also do with some maintenance. Across the park on the east side is a fully equipped playground if the field gets boring.

Overheard: Children playing at the park across the road

Fact: George Ben sits on top of what was known as Garrison Creek.

 

An oasis of wild flowers and vegetable plots awaits visitors to this green space shielded from College Street noise by the Lilian Smith Library. BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS

An oasis of wild flowers and vegetable plots awaits visitors to this green space shielded from College Street noise by the Lilian Smith Library.
BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS

Lillian Smith

Corner of Huron and Spadina, behind the library

Time: 12:00 pm

Grade: B

Reason to go: Lillian Smith Community Garden is a peaceful sidebar from the busy streets of College and Spadina. Filled with all kinds of wild flowers and vegetables, this community garden is lush and in full bloom. Located directly behind the library, it would be a great place to grab a book and enjoy a nice read. The park is divided up into separate plots where individuals can choose what they want to plant.

Overheard: Young men chatting over lunch

Fact: This community garden is named after Lillian H. Smith, who increased children’s services throughout Toronto.

 

Glasgow Parkette

11 Glasgow St.

Time: 12:15 pm

Grade: C-

Reason to go: By day, this park would be ideal for a busy street hideaway as it is situated in Glasgow alley off Spadina. There is a bench and a minor grass lounge area, which is all this small park has to offer. A few steps across the alley are the back doors of people’s houses, which cuts down on the ambience, and the park would not be safe once it gets dark because it is in an alley and a bit hidden from the busy streets.

Overheard: Construction from Spadina

Fact: The water fountain is broken, and looks like it has been untouched for a while.

 

This is a solemn place. A memorial to many who died during the pe- riod of the War of 1812. Still the park is a free flowing green space worth a stroll. RIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS

This is a solemn place. A memorial to many who died during the pe- riod of the War of 1812. Still the park is a free flowing green space worth a stroll.
BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS

Victoria Memorial Park

Bathurst and Wellington streets

Time: 12:30 pm

Grade: B (Last year A)

Reason to go: Being in the middle of the city, this park offers both the sounds of birds chirping loudly and cars driving by. It seems to be the spot for the condo-living dogs to run around in a space larger than their homes. The grass could definitely use some maintenance with the weeds almost taking over. The garbage bins are located at the outer sides of the park, which is why there is a handful of garbage left on benches. On the west side is a playground for the families that also occupy the park and have a rest while taking their toddlers for a stroll. In the middle is a statue of an older soldier that goes unnamed, but brings the together as a whole with original gravestones located at the east end of the park.

Overheard: Dog owners whistling to their dogs

Fact: Victoria Memorial Park was once a military cemetery created in the late eighteenth century.

 

Clarence Square

Spadina Avenue and Wellington Street

Time: 3:00 pm

Grade: C (Last year: N/A)

Reason to go: As a prime example of an inner city park, Clarence Square offers spacious benches and an off leash dog area. Lying between Spadina and Blue Jays Way makes for a busy environment that is mainly used for the hustle and flow of employees on break or going to and from work. There are a few garbage bins, but they appear to not be used judging from the amount of garbage all over the park.

Overheard: Dogs barking, birds chirping, traffic, and a man snoring

Fact: Across the road is Le Neuf Café, perfect for grabbing a coffee and croissant to enjoy in the square.

The live mini-steam train is worth the visit in Roundhouse park, bring a child to justify your visit, or just indulge yourself in the history of this great space. BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS

The live mini-steam train is worth the visit in Roundhouse park, bring a child to justify your visit, or just indulge yourself in the history of this great space.
BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS

Roundhouse Park

Corner of Lower Simcoe Street and Bremmer Boulevard, near the Gardiner Expressway

Time: 3:30 pm

Grade: A (Last year A)

Reason to go: This fun and spacious park is located in the midst of Toronto’s tourist attractions such as the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, and the Rogers Center. The park was created in 1997 and has a live mini steam railway running through it. There are a few benches and great areas to snap some photos of the old building that still remains. The walkway throughout the park can take you to the Railway Museum and the Steam Whistle Brewery.

Overheard: The mini trains driving on tracks

Fact: Roundhouse is 17 acres large and was formerly the Railway Lands.

 

A beautifully executed arbour provides just the right amount of a sense of enclosure and is complimented by pavers with matching curvature. BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS

A beautifully executed arbour provides just the right amount of a sense of enclosure and is complimented by pavers with matching curvature.
BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS

St. Andrew’s Playground

450 Adelaide St. W.

Time: 2:00

Grade: B (last year **)

Reason to go: What makes this park a great place to lounge is the beautiful long curved arbour that sits in the centre, but being an inner city park there will always be some sort of graffiti or tagging, and in this case some tags are on the gazebo. Nonetheless, it provides great shade and relaxation. St. Andrew’s Playground has a small playground, dog off-leash area, many benches, and areas shaded by the variety of trees. The park seems to be maintained regularly with no signs of extensive litter and an overall cleanliness. As it is located directly off Adelaide Street West, one is easily a part of the rush hours in the city, but this doesn’t take away from the natural ambience of the park.

Overheard: “Jack, just let the birds eat.”

Fact: Neighbouring the park on the corner of Brant and Adelaide streets is Brant Street Café, a well-spoken-of diner with all kinds of great home-cooked dishes.

 

Lisgar Park

60 Lisgar St.

Time: 1:00

Grade: N/A (last year **)

Reason to go: Lisgar Park is currently under renovation with the major focus being on creating a more community friendly venue for the Queen West neighbourhood. New amenities will include sculptural seating, canopy trees, planting areas, and art poles made of timber from an industrial building adjacent to the park. These poles will provide

light to the upgraded venue, maintain event power, and stand as an event/art foundation. Date of completion is set for 2016.

Overheard: Trucks and construction.

Fact: Lisgar Park is located on a former, early 1900s warehouse site.

 

Canoe Landing Park

95 Fort York Boulevard (nearest intersection Spadina Avenue/Fort York Boulevard)

Time: 6:00 pm

Grade: B+ (last year n/a)

Reason to go: Opened in 2009, Canoe Landing Park in the Harbourfront neighbourhood is eight acres of privately constructed parkland which offers a great deal of creatively designed green space for residents “trapped” between the train tracks to the north and the Gardiner Expressway to the south.

A berm built at the south end supports a large red canoe, designed by artist Douglas Coupland, and from this vantage point one can see Lake Ontario over the Gardiner. Soil excavated from the foundations of neighbouring condos was used to construct the berm. Other displays of work by Coupland include some fishing bobbers between which water shoots out of the decking sporadically to the delight of children.

The park features an artificial surface being used at the time of the review for a pick-up soccer game, porta-potties, lots of green space, and a beaver dam artificial water feature that is not functioning. The artificial surface is surrounded by the Terry Fox Miracle Mile – two laps equals one mile.

Fact: The park is the result of Concord CityPlace developments and is unique at many levels not least of which is that it is a “private” park, intensively used by the public.

Suggestions for improvement: This park scores high for design, but suffers from lack of maintenance of the green spaces, and the impressive beaver dam water feature should be made functional.

Tags: General