MAZE3Few cities have island parks within a 10-minute ferry ride of downtown high-rises, but TORONTO has just such an archipelago.  The Toronto Islands are home to marinas, an airport, some tiny houses, a school, lagoons, a boardwalk, a clothing-optional beach, bike paths, restaurants, vast amounts of unspoiled parkland, views of Lake Ontario, super skyline views of the city, abundant wildlife, a theatre, and a children’s amusement park among other things.


Now thanks to a $200,000 gift and hundreds of volunteers from the Boy Scouts to Labatt Breweries, the Centre Island maze is on its way back. Torn up by city parks staff in 2011 after years of disrepair and lack of sunlight, 1200 black cedars have been planted in a network of hallways and dead-ends, just south of Centreville’s amusement park. <PHOTO ABOVE – Graham Slaughter/Toronto Star>


The labyrinth’s original blueprints were used in the restoration.


ABOVE – Peter Vanderwerf (1919-2009), a Dutch landscape designer who immigrated to Canada in 1948 and worked as a garden manicurist for TORONTO’s elite. In addition to receiving numerous awards from Landscape Ontario during his gardening career in Toronto, he was the designer of the Toronto Island Maze in 1967.


ABOVE – William Meany, a businessman, who donated the $200,000 to reconstruct the Maze – which will now be known as The William Meany Maze. As a boy, Mr. Meany fell in love with the labyrinth and pushed politicians to have it restored. The city will maintain it for about $15,000 annually.


  1. Hedge maze – Small miracles can be found just about anywhere. When a family goes through many hardships and does not come out on top, it is important to have the memories of the good times, be it throwing a frisbee or having a whole watermelon on the grass, swinging from tree vines and yes, running through hedge mazes like the one at Centre island. I too had the most fun at that hedge Maze and was so upset to see it torn down.

    When I Googled what had happened I was amazed to find that there was a man, ironically named Mr Meany, who not only felt the same attachment to that hedge Maze, but had the funds and the opportunity to regrow the maze. I didn’t have to look very far to find the new one had been planted just the other side of the main walkway. As I roamed around the outside fence trying to peek in, I found that the recent storm had knocked part of the fence down. Gaining my entrance, and though the hedges are just shrubs and I can see over the top, I was amazed to find that they have planted it in exactly the same layout as before.

    Sometimes I dream of that fresh mulch smell and the exact scent of the greenery that surrounded endless hours of trying to find the exit and purposely going the wrong way to spend more time in there.

    I don’t know any words that express the gratitude I have to know that my children and other family members young and old will continue to know the glory it beholds.

    Mr Meany you are wonderful.

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