Downsview Lands Community Voice Association  

Information forum on Downsview Park for residents and park enthusiasts 

Newsletter 64                                                                               February 2021


Residents fearful of William Baker Mega-Development

Canada Lands wants to increase the number of condos to 3985 from 3550 


  • Canada Lands completed its 3rd Consultation with residents in November, 2020  
  • Talks to date have been largely "aspirational".  e.g. "What would you like to see in this new development?"
  • CLC presented its Application for District Plan to the City on Feb. 22, setting out streets, zoning, proposed uses, density, heights of buildings, etc.
  • To the surprise of residents, the Park is now asking for 3985 condos
  • Negative effect on green space???  Removal of some mature trees???    DETAILS NEXT ISSUE

The Bombardier Airstrip Lands: "Who owns what?"  

Northcrest and Canada Lands team up to develop 540 acres of mostly vacant land



At the request of Canada Lands and Northcrest, City Council votes 24-0 to change the zoning of the airstrip lands from Employment to Mixed Use

What this means for Downsview?  David Rider's Star article HERE

No Christmas lights this year: Normally the Park gets a considerable portion of its operating income from the rental of existing buildings (Scotia Pond, Kia soccer facility, the Hangar, the Warehouse,  MV licensing HQ).  But with Covid 19, there are no tenants and no rental income.  This may or may not be the reason for not installing the festive Christmas lighting of previous years.

Visitors walking on the iced-over Pond: This is a major NO-NO, going against all the rules and regs.  Even the fire chief has put out some strong words on the topic.  Sometime down the road (a familiar phrase) the Park plans to install a proper rink with its own pad and cooling system but it will definitely not be on any of the ponds in the Park. 
Image result for immunization iconmporary mass immunization clinic proposed for The Hangar (75 Carl Hall Rd):  The big question is when vaccines will be available.  The Hangar is one of nine city facilities designated for rapid innoculations.   It can handle large numbers and has good parking.  More HERE   

Once again the DLCVA has complained to the City and Hydro about hard-to-see street markings and poor visibility on Keele St (Finch to 401) early evenings.  Last time we complained three years ago, Hydro ran some tests and said things were just fine.  We are not so sure!  In traffic, it is tough to turn left when you are uncertain about which lane you are in.  Also, does the existing level of illumination allow drivers to see pedestrians darting across the street in rush hour?  Just asking.  DLCVA will advise on receipt of additional information.

Groundswell at Downsview Park - Southgate: Despite its appalling name, GDP-S has taken up a comfortable residence at the south end of the Park where Stanley Greene Blvd meets Downsview Park Blvd.  

The creator of this piece of public art (Michael Singer) says it is "based on the seasonal interactions of earth and water, the curious swelling of the bedrock underlying Toronto, and the upwelling and interveaving of cultures in Toronto as a whole". 

For more on this work and related artworks in the Park,

Cracking the cement-like soil of Downsview Park
  • The Park is famous for its compacted soil.  Unless remedial measures are taken, water runoff is similar to that on a paved surface
  • Public tree plantings in the Park are close to impossible unless the soil is first turned over mechanically
  • While rich in nutrients, the heavy clay is not porous.  That part of the Park near Boakes Grove, technically described as "clay plain", only permits the shallowest of root systems.  Mature trees do not thrive in this habitat.  
  • The Park's 2016 Tallgrass Project sets out to restore a vanishing prairie ecosystem by establishing the grasses and wildflowers of a century ago in a 5-acre tract at Boakes Grove while rigorously excluding their "entitled" modern competitors. 
  • Because the root system of these heritage plantings extend 3-4m in depth, they not only resist fire and drought but greatly enhance porosity.
  • In this slow and unspectacular amelioration of the soil, a much more diverse habitat is created for mammals, birds, insects, reptiles and invertebrates.
Meanwhile, at the south end of the Park (off Downsview Park Blvd.) the Urban Farm is being re-located (from the Keele St side).  For some months now heavy equipment has been at work behind the temporary fencing. 

Re-locating the Urban Farm has many of the same objectives as the Tallgrass Project: enriching and aerating the soil, slowing down water runoff, increasing porosity, introducing nutrients, etc.  

  • Five years ago a layer of topsoil was added to the proposed farm site from excavation of the Stanley Greene settlement pond
  • Shortly thereafter the soil was turned over and a spring and fall cover crop planted to encourage root growth, plant diversity, and discourage unwanted plant species
  • Since this fall, earthmoving equipment has been hard at work establishing a grading that slows down water runoff.  
  • Special grasses and rushes have been planted near the drainage watercourse to retard any sudden flow of rainwater
  • A system of irrigation is being installed, utilizing both storm and city water
  • "Compost tea" (groundwater in which organic compost has been steeped) is presently being introduced into the soil. 
  • By regenerating the soil in this way, the need for pesticides and herbicides is reduced, as is the need for fertilizers.
A lot of planning has gone into ameliorating the dense clay soil of the Park.  

Upon completion next year, the relocated Urban Farm should provide a case study in soil regeneration.   For more HERE 

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