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GRADING OUR GREENSPACE (AUGUST 2017): Parks on the fringe

September 13th, 2017 · No Comments

Some worth a look, others deserve a miss

In this, the final part of our 2017 annual review of parks, we consider parks that are on the fringe of our traditional coverage area, as well as those that are often overlooked. As you will discover, some are worth the extra distance, while others need work and can be missed.

By Geremy Bordonaro with files from Brian Burchell

Bloor-Bedford Parkette
248 Bloor St. W.
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Grade: B- (Last year: B)
Reason to go: Bloor-Bedford Parkette is blessed with a convenient location. This oasis of green is remarkably easy to access from the busiest section of Bloor Street. There’s plenty of seating, which is usually well used. It’s clean and comfortable. The problem is that there is nothing else to do here except rest, and even then, there is very little shade to go around.
Overheard: “She totally dumped him! Which sucks ’cause he’s such a nice guy!”
Did you know: Varsity Stadium, home to the University of Toronto’s Varsity Blues, is across the street.

Art Eggleton Park
323 Harbord St.
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Grade: C (2013: B+)
Reason to go: This is a park of thirds. Two thirds are vacant, misused pieces of land, while, the central third is a bustling busy playground and wading pool. Art Eggleton Park lacks a real identity because of its odd layout that seems to contain three separate parks in one. The middle section is worth going to if you live in the area and have a child wanting to stretch out and play. Otherwise skip this park.
Overheard: “Okay. We can swing a little bit later. Let’s go to the pool!”
Did you know: Art Eggleton was Toronto’s mayor for 11 years, making him the city’s longest serving mayor. He went on to be the Member of Parliament for York-Centre, and now serves as a member of the Senate.

Sgt. Ryan Russell Parkette
250 Avenue Rd.
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Grade: D- (Last year: D+)
Reason to go: There were plans to rehabilitate this parkette into a beautiful and community-friendly space, yet these appear to be at a standstill, and in its current state the park is barely usable. Garbage lies everywhere, grass is uncut, and plant life has been overtaken by weeds. The small playground at the back corner of the park looks about ready to collapse into itself, and the noise is simply unbearable. Until something is done there is no reason to come here.
Overheard: Large amounts of traffic coming up and down Avenue Road.
Did you know: In an interview with the Gleaner last year, park supervisor Brian Green said the parkette was due for a major renovation, but news since then has been sparse.

PHOTO BY GEREMY BORDONARO/GLEANER NEWS: The Village of Yorkville Park is a go-to destination for anyone visiting the neighbourhood.

Village of Yorkville Park
115 Cumberland St.
Time: Noon
Grade: A- (Last year: A)
Reason to go: This is a go-to destination if you find yourself in Yorkville. The park is colourful and unlike anything else even in the Annex. There is a lot of art and the surrounding shops provide some nice colour. What the park lacks in variety of plant life it easily makes up in interesting structures and rock formations. Proximity to the subway makes it all the more convenient for travellers in the area. Unfortunately, the park loses marks from last year due to deterioration of some of the structures, making the area feel slightly grimy.
Overheard: “Ooh, look at the pretty fountain!”
Did you know: When we visited, the park featured Sculptures from the Brain Project, which uses art to raise awareness about brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Casa Loma Parkette
328a Walmer Rd.
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Grade: C (Last year: C)
Reason to go: Very little has changed in Casa Loma Parkette: there are few benches, little shade, and a lot of open space. Visitors to Casa Loma might get a kick out of stopping by and having a picnic.
Overheard: Mutterings of nearby tourists visiting the Casa Loma stables.
Did you know: Juno award winner Sean Jones performed a series of concerts at Casa Loma over the summer.

PHOTO BY BRIAN BURCHELL/GLEANER NEWS: Looking west from Avenue Road, Boswell Parkette transforms Boswell Road into a quiet dead-end oasis.

Boswell Parkette
2 Boswell Ave. (at Avenue Road)
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Grade: B (Last year: N/A)
Reason to go: This is a very clever conversion of publicly-owned pavement to a public green space. This parkette makes Boswell Avenue a dead-end, blocking vehicular thoroughfare to Avenue Road. The east west sidewalks along Boswell Avenue are maintained to Avenue Road and the rest of the parkette has raised planters along its edges. Three very healthy honey locust trees occupy the centre section, with the rest of the plantings unremarkable bushes all the same hue of green. No bee or butterfly would bother stopping here unfortunately, as there is not much to pollinate. The parkette includes its own bus stop to collect passengers heading south on Avenue Road, but there is no garbage bin, so refuse can accumulate. Other than the need for a trash can, to say nothing of more creative landscaping, the parkette is a green wall between a decidedly tony residential street and the hustle and bustle of Avenue Road.
Overheard: “Are you with a movie studio, I hope I didn’t ruin your picture.”
Did you know: The street gets its name from Arthur Radcliffe Boswell (1838-1925), a lawyer who was mayor of Toronto from 1883 to 1884 and a 14-time commodore of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club.



GRADING OUR GREENSPACE: Open spaces in the heart of the Annex (July 2017)

GRADING OUR GREENSPACE: Survey reveals significant upgrades (June 2017)

GRADING OUR GREENSPACE: Meet our parks supervisor (August 2016)

Part two of our 2016 parks review (July 2016)

PART ONE: Green sanctuaries in the heart of the city (June 2016)

Grading our Greenspace (2015)

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