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GRADING OUR GREENSPACE: Appraising Annex parks (Sept. 2022)

September 27th, 2022 · No Comments

Part 2 of the Gleaner’s greenspace reviews

Compiled and photos by Marisa Kelly

Continuing from the August edition we review area parks and assign a letter grade. Park amenities, tree coverage, seating and waste management all go into the evaluations each year.

Euclid Avenue Parkette is unfortunately plagued by graffiti and litter.

Euclid Avenue Parkette

711 Euclid Ave.

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Grade: This year a D+ (Last year F

Reasons to go: The Euclid Avenue Parkette is a tree-swaying walkway between Euclid and Palmerston Avenues. Wedged between houses and behind storefronts on Bloor Street in Koreatown, it’s a quaint resting spot with a lot of potential. The beautiful, crooked trees give enough shade to the benches midday. Unfortunately, there is some graffiti and litter, and the condos on the previous Honest Ed’s space tower nearby, so the park lacks a cozy feel. If the benches faced north instead of south, and the city cleaned it up a bit, you’d have the perfect tiny getaway. Last year Euclid Parkette was given an F for uncleanliness, but it looks like the city has started to pay attention to its upkeep. 

Overheard: A cat meowing.

Did you know: The subway going from Bathurst station to Christie station shakes the ground just slightly, reminding you the hustle and bustle is still nearby.

St. Alban’s Square is a complete getaway

St. Alban’s Square

90 Howland Ave.

Time: 5:00 p.m.  

Grade: A (Last year B+)

Reasons to go: St. Alban’s Square is a complete getaway. The park is the perfect place to be  anonymous. There aren’t many amenities, but the space has a certain whimsy that is cultivated by the surrounding architecture of the church, the wild rose bushes, and the historic Toronto homes. The scenery is reminiscent of a European summer day. With an abundance of gorgeous, scattered trees and nourished grass, there’s plenty of spots to read in the shade, have a picnic in the sun, or drop off a Green P bike on your way to and from.

Overheard: So many birds chirping.

Did you know: There is a bike share drop off/pick up port in the park. It’s one of ten that are in the Annex. 

An array of trees provide ample shade in Jean Sibelius Park.

Jean Sibelius

50 Kendal Ave

Time: 4:40 p.m.

Grade: A+ (Last year A+)

Reasons to go: The many picnic benches in Jean Sibelius Park and the free-standing mural of musical animals playing their instruments keep visitors feeling welcomed. The park is also equipped with an onsite bathroom, water fountain and a clean and well-maintained playground for kids. An array of trees provides ample shade on the walkway, and there is an open field to play a sport or lie in the grass in full sun. 

Overheard: Kids playing in the playground. 

Did you know: Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was a Finnish composer who was the most noted Scandinavian composer of his time! 

City staff have stepped up and improved maintenance on Sally Bird Park – which is much loved by Central Tech students.

Sally Bird 

194 Brunswick Ave.

Grade: B (Last year C+)

Time: 12:00 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.

Reasons to go: This is an unassuming parkette with a large draping tree. It is perfect for leisurely sitting on a bench for a lunchtime phone call with a co-worker or long-distance friend. After school hours, it’s perfect for a self-determined workout because of the on-site built-in equipment. The park is clean and quiet, except during Central Tech’s lunch break. There is a mural on the house next to the park and the flowers lining the path are well groomed. Last year, this park was rated much lower because of poor maintenance, but recently, the city has paid attention to its upkeep.

Overheard: At lunch time, the school kids. In the evening, nothing but my own thoughts. 

Did you know: The outdoor workout equipment is clean and in working condition.

Huron Street Playground

459 Huron St.

Grade: C+ (Last year B-)

Time: 3:00 p.m. 

Reasons to go: A great park for neighbours with dogs or folks looking for a quick playground visit with kids. However, the Huron Street Playground is mainly surrounded by encroaching apartment buildings, contains patchy grass, and has too many wood chips. The dog park is awkwardly situated on the northwest corner behind a tall, black fence that feels cut off from the rest of the environment without a sign to indicate that it’s a dog park. The park could use some extra signs, a cleanup, and some flowers. 

Overheard: Dogs barking mixed with wind chimes from the surrounding houses.

Did you know: The park has a water fountain to refill your water bottle. 

Playful and creative Taddle Creek Park upgrades to “A”.

Taddle Creek

40 Bedford Ave. 

Grade:A (Last year A-)

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Reasons to go: An element of Yorkville modern art in the Annex. The gorgeous, towering, large wire sculpture of a vase trickles down water, both adding to the artistic piece itself and giving some extra moisture to the air. The abstract sprinkler was recently turned back on after being off during the recent pandemic-compromised summers. Beautiful planters contain sprouting little pink flowers next to well taken care of begonias. The playground is in perfect working condition, but it is in full sun. The wood chips are maintained, and there are plenty of large trees to keep cool under. 

Overheard: Elderly folks from a local seniors’ home out on a visit with their supervisors chatting and enjoying their lunch.

Did you know: There’s a plaque commemorating Beatrice Worsley (1921-1972) who was the first female computer scientist in Canada. She lived on this block of Bedford. 

Queen’s Park North

11 Wellesley St. W.

Time: 4:40 p.m.

Grade: B (Last year A

Reasons to go: Queen’s Park is an escape in the middle of a traffic roundabout. The curved benches on the outskirts of interlocked stone and grass mimic Central Park. The architecture does not match the other larger Toronto parks and is charming. Unfortunately, there is still a large protest against vaccines that is held every Sunday. Due to a lack of city maintenance or climate change, the grass is mainly patchy and brown with a bit of green; lush is nowhere to be found.

Overheard:  A busker playing the ukulele for tips!

Did you know: The statue in the park is of King Edward VII. During 2017, the performance art duo group Life of a Craphead, composed of artists Amy Lam and Jon McCurley, created a replica of the statue and paddled it down the Don Valley River to address ideas of power that statues bring to cities. 


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