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GRADING OUR GREENSPACE: Third and final instalment (Oct. 2022)

October 19th, 2022 · No Comments

Part 3 of the Gleaner’s greenspace reviews

Compiled by Marisa Kelly, photos by Hailey Alexander

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

Philosopher’s Walk is a truly beloved park described by our reviewer as simply “romantic”.

Philosopher’s Walk

78 Queen’s Park Cres. W.

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Grade: A+ (Last year A)

Reasons to go: The historic and scenic winding path of Philosopher’s Walk offers the recluse serenity in the heart of the city. The maintenance of the grounds is truly remarkable. The grass is very lush and there are both wildflowers and planters. The trees have not been compromised despite city infrastructure growing around them. You can tell their age by the size of the base of the trunk. There isn’t much to do except to have a really relaxing walk or sit. However, the Romanesque and Gothic architecture of the University of Toronto campus, combined with the ambient music from the faculty of music building, make this walkway both a romantic and relaxing place to spend time. 

Overheard: Piano coming from the faculty of music building, and not a single car despite Bloor Street, Harbord Street and Queen’s Park nearby.  

Did you know: Philosopher’s Walk

was formerly part of Taddle Creek, a stream that flowed through this natural ravine and fed McCaul’s Pond (where Hart House Circle is now located) until the late 1800s. 

High traffic and low maintenance contribute to Matt Cohen Park’s D ranking.

Matt Cohen Park

393 Bloor St. W

Grade: D (Last year: C-)

Time: 4:00 p.m. 

Reasons to go: Matt Cohen Park is an educational parkette, but because of its location, it needs some work because it is heavily polluted. The local traffic or lack of maintenance has killed most of the grass. Spadina and Bloor Streets border the park and provide excess noise and safety concerns for pets or small children. Educational plaques line the edge of the University of Toronto building, each one educating the reader about U of T alumni Matt Cohen. The park has large rocks with inlaid chess boards. However, the rocks are not at playing level, so one would be hunching significantly. The park needs maintenance work and some attention. 

Overheard: All of the cars from Spadina and Bloor.

Did you know: Matt Cohen (1942-1999) was a Canadian author who wrote both fiction and children’s literature. He attended the University of Toronto which is next to the park.

Ample seating and clean working washrooms are the among the amenities that give Bickford Park a A- rating.

Bickford Park

468 Grace St.

Time: 4:00 p.m.

Grade: A- (Last year: A-)

Reasons to go: Bickford Park has a bit of joy for everyone and is well maintained. For folks looking for a dog park, there is a shaded and clean one. For friends with a large blanket to hang out on the hill side, the slope is free of debris and litter. Interested in sports? The baseball diamond and large field offer the freedom for folks to play sports. People were participating in softball, frisbee, and soccer. There’s a make-shift skate park made by locals under the Bickford Centre at the northernmost point of the park. The bathrooms are in working condition and clean, for a public lavatory, and are open from 9 a.m. until dusk.

Overheard: Friends cheering on someone learning to play softball. 

Did you know: There are weekly Yoga in the Park classes every Thursday evening. From 6-7 p.m., wellness and yoga instructor Montana Skurka hosts a class until the end of October. The class can be booked on Eventbrite.


Tags: Annex · Life