Downsview Lands Community Voice Association  

Information forum on Downsview Park for residents and park enthusiasts 

Newsletter 68                                                                                          June 2021       

Proposed William Baker district plan downplays effects of  development on heritage woodlot
In its beefed-up 3985-condo proposal, Canada Lands argues that increasing the number of residential units on protected parkland can be offset by creation of new park space in the vacant north end of the subdivision.

The applicant proposes to build residential units on 4 sites that are currently protected as parkland.  They call this intrusion "intensification" and insist it is a creative use of  "underused" open space.

Surrounding a long-standing 20 acre woodlot with close to 4000 housing units puts enormous ecological pressure on habitat and threatens the long-term survival of this signature woodlot. 

Among other things, the proposed encroachment entails cutting down some three to four dozen mature trees


Sites A, B, C and D are all designated to have "built form"  yet are existing parkland

Site A: 1-4 storey Apartment Neighbourhood,  25 condos

Site B: 1-4 storey Apartment Neighbourhood, 25 condos

Site C: 1-4 storey apartment Neighbourhood, 25 condos

Site D: 1-4 storeys, Mixed Use Neighbourhood, including 100 condos


Here is Canada Land's proposed version of how they want to this 3985 condo community to look

Blocks 2 and 6 are "new" (mostly treeless) parkland which are supposed to compensate for the loss of (mostly forrested)  woodlot lands

DLCVA's May 12 objection to the District Plan   (as 
submitted to the City)    HERE   

 The old urban farm:


This summer, the old farmstead of Fresh City Farms (on the slope facing Keele St) has been sublet to some 20 member gardeners, each with their own schedules and practices. 

It is a maze of irregular small lots, haphazard fencing, omnipresent water pipes / rubber hoses and compost piles

For some, this form of gardening is an entrepreneurial opportunity, for others an introduction to organic gardenic and an alternate lifestyle.

The entire operation is scheduled to be transferred to the farm's new site off Downsview Park Blvd next year.                Fresh City's Call for Proposals HERE

The new urban farm:

The new farmstead at the south end of Downsview Park  is an 11-acre plot of land, only about 5 acres of which will be farmed.   

It will be fully fenced with washroom, greenhouses, harvesting area and farmyard constituting the central hub, with outlying areas composed of community garden plots, visitor lookouts (3), bus loop, parking lot, landscaped buffer lands and large drainage swale

Fresh City Farms will be the lead tenant (20-year lease) and actively farm 1.5 acres with member farmers leasing smaller plots on a year-to-year basis.

Although Fresh City is a for-profit company, it will supervise the on-going operation on the following basis:
  • creating an inviting farm embedded in a national urban park 
  • fostering learning about food justice and sustainability for people from all walks of life
  • allowing initiatives not requiring farmland such as beekeeping, art installations etc.
  • supervising farming operations so that member partners can grow food, operate businesses and run programming on the latest agricultural practices
Further information HERE      OR      email
Barrie GO line to be double-tracked: Hwy 401 - Sheppard 2021 - 2022

This construction is part of a larger program enabling a two-way all-day commute to and from Union Station

It will make the Downsview Park level crossing with Carl Hall Road that much more dangerous According to Metrolinx "[existing] rules require the sounding of whistles when trains pass level crossings"                                       
More information

POccasional Use On-Street Parking Permit System now available in Ajax - Town  of Ajaxarking at Downsview Park in prime time remains an adventure

Now that the Park is becoming more popular, the difficulty of finding a suitable parking spot is more difficult.

On-site security monitors parking, issues trespass notices, and works with Toronto Parking Authority to issue tickets.  To date, the degree of enforcement is unclear.
Currently the Orchard parking lot (off Downsview Park Blvd) is partially closed for farm construction

When the regular parking areas (near the Hub and PlayZone) are full, there is some overflow parking at what the Park calls the Upper Parking Lot (along Carl Hall Rd) 


River Ambassadors - Increase Brand Awareness Icon Transparent PNG - 382x382  - Free Download on NicePNGNew service for this summer:
Park Ambassadors

Weekends and evening, these volunteers will welcome visitors and support a safe and inclusive environment.

They will inform members of the public about park programs and provide directions and assistance as needed.

The program is anticipated to commence June 21st.


Recently spotted at Downsview Park  
DSCN2349 (3).JPGUnexpectedly, on May 8 of this year, a breeding pair of Sora were discovered by M Krol at the small pond near Barrie GO line

This small waterbird is attracted to marshy wetlands and will nest in the rushes and undergrowth

When frightened, it will seek to avoid contact by fleeing on foot like a chicken, before taking flight.      Photo by R Walsh on 26 May


The red-tailed hawk is frequently seen hunting in Downsview Park

Seen from below it features an abundance of white feathers

Carnivorous, it normally preys on voles and mice and will go after other birds

Photo by T. Sladden in the park on May 31


The two photos below (Olive-Sided Flycatcher) are from a rare sighting in William Baker Park, supposedly the first time in this area in 4 years

This flycatcher is an annual migrant that moves through in very low numbers.  The shot on the left (from below, showing breast, thorax and bill) is particularly appreciated by birders. 

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