THE LUNGS OF WEST-END TORONTO – HIGH PARK – 400 ACRES (161 HECTARES) OF RECREATION & NATURE

Opened in 1876, served by the subway’s Line 2 and the #506 streetcar, TORONTO’s High Park is a mixture of nature and recreation, with a dash of theatre, a museum, a zoo, bike paths, formal gardens, a lake (Grenadier Pond), hiking trails, educational facilities and playgrounds. It’s the largest park entirely within city limits and stretches from Bloor Street West to The Queensway, north of Lake Ontario.

Colborne Lodge, designed and built by John George Howard, now a museum, was the residence of Mr. Howard and his wife Jemima Frances Meikle. The Howards named their property High Park because it was situated on the highest point of land along Humber Bay.

High Park Zoo is home to Bonnie and Clyde and their family of three.  These two Argentinian capybaras became front page news when they went on the lam in 2016.  They eventually returned to the Zoo and found time to produce three little ones.

High Park Zoo has many other animals including llamas, and its free.

The amphitheatre at High Park is home to Shakespeare under the stars.  The upcoming season is #35 and it’s free.

The Jamie Bell Adventure Playground Castle was burnt to the ground by some firebug destroyer.  It was completely rebuilt by television star MIKE HOLMES and his crew, and reopened a couple of years ago.

The story of High Park and how it came to be, is summarized in this excellent Wikipedia posting – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Park

PLUMPEST PIGEONS IN TOWN – FRANK STOLLERY PARKETTE, DAVENPORT ROAD AT YONGE STREET

FRANK STOLLERY PARKETTE has become a tiny urban beauty spot.  The park is built on an old Aboriginal trail, which wound along the Escarpment, one of TORONTO’s most distinctive geographical features.  13,500 years ago, this was the shoreline of Lake Iroquois, forerunner of today’s much smaller Lake Ontario.  Photos and maps are posted; you can read a short history lesson, and there’s a parkette-side restaurant too.

THE GREEN LINE, A DREAM TO RE-MAKE A NOWHERE INTO A SOMEWHERE, GETS BUDGET SUPPORT

GreenLine_MapB_DidacticPanel_FINALHopes are high.  The 2017 city budget hasn’t been passed yet, but $275,000 has been pencilled in for the Green Line project, with another $300,000 for a community garden along the same route.

GREENLINE6Right now, it’s a 5-kilometre-long hodgpodge of mostly empty spaces, street crossings, fences, level changes and railway underpasses.

GREENLINE4It begins at MacPherson Avenue in Midtown, passes the Bridgman Transformer Station, the City Archives and the Tarragon Theatre, runs parallel to Dupont Street and north of the railway line, meanders west under a row of hydro pylons to Geary Avenue, and ends at Earlscourt Park.

GREENLINE3Four years ago one neighbourhood resident had this to say: “The thought of having the area re-worked to include a bike path, trees, gardens, and more welcoming parks is like a dream come true! The neighbourhoods that the corridor cuts through would benefit greatly and I think it could foster a greater sense of community instead of dividing sections of the city as it currently does. The area is part residential, part industrial but has amazing potential for incorporating green space to be utilized by citizens both living and working in the area. BRING IT! and FAST! Please!”

GREENLINE1Architects, landscape architects, planners, artists and community members are working to make the dream a reality.

THE ‘DOG FOUNTAIN’ IS BOUND TO BE A HIT IN THE $7-MILLION RENO OF BERCZY PARK

fountain5Large pieces of land for parks are no longer available in the rapidly densifying centre of TORONTO. Berczy Park is the future – some grass, flowers and trees set in a hard-surfaced space designed to be used.

fountain1The park isn’t finished yet, but a spectacular two-tiered ‘dog fountain’ is taking shape. Twenty-seven cast iron dogs, one cat and a bone have taken their place in the midst of the forthcoming dancing waters.

fountain2fountain3The designer of both the park and the fountain, MONTREAL landscape architect CLAUDE CORMIER explained “It’s part of the identity of the city. This little park must cater to many different groups. It is the backyard for many people, a front garden for others. We have added a new plaza on the south side and a lawn where kids can play. We wanted it to be whimsical and fun.”

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MAYOR JOHN TORY ANNOUNCES A DON VALLEY “SUPER PARK” FOR TORONTO’S EAST SIDE

donvalley4The City, along with Evergreen Canada and a group of private donors are on track to create TORONTO’s second largest park. Stretching from the Evergreen Brick Works in the north to Lake Ontario, the vast region will soon get its official park designation.

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Within the last four years TORONTO has spent $18-million on the Lower Don. The bike and walking trail will re-open in the spring with better signage, new features, a new Pottery Road Bridge and Belleville Underpass. Much more is yet to come.

donvalley2donvalley3gordperks1And trust city council to produce a naysayer.  In this case it’s GORD PERKS (Parkdale-High Park) who is criticizing private benefactors for donating $3.4-million so far to the project.  He says public money should be used to fund parks, eliminating the possibility of wealthy people having control over public space.

C’mon Gord, get real.  Have you heard of budget cuts?

ALLAN GARDENS CONSERVATORY CELEBRATES OUR SEASON OF COLOUR WITH CHRYSANTHEMUMS

allangdns1Open daily from 10am to 5pm THE CHRYSANTHEMUM SHOW/2016 is now on at Allan Gardens Conservatory, 19 Horticultural Avenue. Take the #506 eastbound streetcar from College subway station. Get off at Jarvis and walk a half block east, then south past the dog park.  The show is free.

Website – http://www.toronto.ca/parks/conservatories

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