Downsview Park Advises: Parking Lots Open Saturday May 23
Starting May 23rd, park parking lots will be opened
As the grounds remain open all visitors are asked to respect the following guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
- Stay home if you are sick or if you have been in contact with someone that is sick
- Keep a healthy space of 2 metres between you and other park visitors. Keep it as you walk, run or bike
- Warn other park users of your presence and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, bell or horn
- Dogs must be on leash and dog owners should be careful to maintain a distance of the recommended 2 metres from other dogs and persons
- Leave no trace when you visit our outdoor spaces. Please take all your garbage with you to protect workers and help keep the park clean
NOT OPEN YET: Administration office, playground, basketball court, washrooms
New York's Central Park v Downsview Park
For years - and much to the amusement of other city councillors - former Councillor Maria Augimeri championed Downsview Park as "the Central Park of Toronto" .
The comparison is not far-fetched. Check out this list of similarities and differences.
Gives you some idea of how far Downsview Park has to go
Size NY 843 acres
TO 291 acres
Age: NY 162 years old
TO 25 years
Budget: NY US$56M
TO (cloaked in mystery)
No. of visits: NY40M
TO (not too many)
Parking lots: NY 0 , TO two
Pathways: NY 10 mile circuit trail, 5 mile running track
TO 2.7km circuit trail
Adjacent subway stops
NY : over ten TO: two
Attractions: NY: 7 manmade lakes + ponds, outdoor + indoor theatres, Egyptian obelisk, zoo, castle, rinks, tennis courts, baseball diamonds
TO: The Lake & 1 settlement pond, festival terrace, sesquicentennial trail, lookout point, the Mound, urban farm, orchard
Weird facts: NY 9000 benches, 51 sculptures, 36 bridges + arches, 7 ornamental fountains, 125 drinking fountains, over 20K trees
TO: highest vantage point in GTA, 4 ornamental fountains, military history as DeHavilland Aircraft and CFB Downsview, CN line being the dividing line between Humber and Don River watersheds
NEW YORK'S CENTRAL PARK
Dead Spots in Downsview Park (i.e. few visitors)
- Main Entrance off Sheppard: (for vehicles only) is a headache. Out of the way. Not user-friendly
- Festival Terrace: 10% of the time (special events) it is jam-packed, the rest of the year off-limits. Not serviced by the Circuit Path, yet comprises 1/4 of the area of the Park
- East (railroad) side of the Park: a disappointment. Hard to get to, nothing to do when you get there
Problems on the Sequicentennial Trail
This year-old trail has to be one of the best things that has happened to the Park in the last few years -- the lookout point being a must-see feature
But there are problems.
- Indigenous side trail is washed out in at least two places...and impassable. Also its pebbly surface soils both your clothes and your shoes
- Final stop (meeting place/treaty table) is isolated. Who puts the main focal point of the entire trail in a cul-de-sac? Truly bizarre!
- Secondary security lighting on the trail is welcome. But what kind of green space has the lights on 24/7 ? In addition, with the orange connecting cables all over the place, it looks like a construction site
Background Notes: Park Director David Anselmi Advises
"In light of the COVID-19 situation we are doing our best to attend to maintenance and other operational needs, and we appreciate the community’s patience during this time."
When will the urban farm be moving to south side of Park?
The farmers [organic for-profit Fresh City Farms and Sundance Harvest, plus volunteer farmers] will be working in the existing fields this season still. This was always the plan, as we need this year to prepare the new area for them. We have work to do with getting the fields ready, walkways, fencing, hydro, waterlines and work area, We will be monitoring to see when it will be a good time to resume our work.
What's with the smell emanating from the Lake near Keele St?
Is there a time-line for completion of the two art installations on Downsview Park Blvd
Downsview Park Blvd and all associated infrastructure is almost complete, with final adjustments left to complete. The road will be conveyed to the City shortly.
This concern about odor is a City issue, as we have mentioned many times before. It comes from the Maryport reserve sewer along Keele Street. PDP [Parc Downsview Park] spent half of last year running weekly air and water quality tests to confirm this.
Has the small dry settlement pond draining into the E side of the Lake remedied the erosion caused by sudden rainstorms?
The dry pond on the east side of the Lake has improved erosion [resistance] significantly.
The warm weather is not here yet but there are a lot of mosquitoes near the Lake. Is this related to debris in the water?
We will get the fountains going as soon as possible. This should help with the mosquito problem.
Turns out that Downsview Park has become an elite location for birdwatching in the GTA.
A whopping total of 120 species have been recorded in the park since May 1
One highlight being the Yellow-Throated Vireo seen May 19. And last month, the Park's first legitimate Red-Necked Grebe was seen.
Yellow-Throated Vireo May 19, 2020 (R Walsh)
Red-necked Grebe April 19, 2020 (R Walsh)