Welcome To Corktown Common!

As I said in the video, it truly is Toronto’s “best kept secret,” and while I know that phrase is incredibly clichee and over-used, in this case, I truly mean it.

The area surrounding Front & Bayview had been closed off for a half-decade, but now it’s open, it’s vibrant, and it’s still under-utilized.

People often ask, “Where are the families living in downtown Toronto going to take their kids?”

Here is the answer…

 

If you have a LOT of time on your hands, and you’re really, really into urban planning and municipal governance, take a look at the 2000 report called “Our Toronto Waterfront: Gateway To The New Canada.”

It’s 75 pages long.

I read…….part of it…

But it’s very interesting to look back at this report, which is approaching two-decades-old, and see what suggestions were made to Jean Cretien, Mike Harris, and Mel Lastman.  Yes – the report is that old.

Of course, it’s also painful to see how slow various levels of governments react.

The “Waterfront Revitilization Task Force” was formed in 1999.

Corktown Common was just opened last year.

I suppose forming the Task Force was better than not, but as we’ve learned with the construction of just about every piece of public infrastructure in Toronto, “these things take time.”

I don’t agree with everything in that report (you know how I feel about tearing down the Gardiner…), and a lot of the ideas therein are obsolete 17 years later.

But a massive park in the city’s downtown core?  I love it.

Corktown Common is 18 acres, or if you’re using Toronto’s known method of measurement, you could say it’s “six condos.”

There’s a splash pad for kids, multiple playgrounds, picnic tables and public washrooms, a barbecue, a firepit, a marsh, a boardwalk, and a few acres of nothing but lush green lawns where I saw families having picnics, hippies playing frisbee, a cute couple playing boccee ball on what looked like a first date, and one really self-motivated chick who was doing cross-fit training on her own for about an hour.

Remember in 2012 when deputy mayor, Doug Holyday, infamously said that he “wouldn’t want to raise kids downtown?”

Sure, maybe he didn’t.  And maybe you don’t, and maybe the next person doesn’t either.

But a LOT of people are going to have to!

Not everybody can afford a house, and through the next generation, we’re going to see a slew of kids raised downtown.

I did a video back in 2012 about the “Underpass Park” which is basically just a few basketball courts and skate-ramps for kids to use, in an otherwise useless area.  There’s nothing under an underpass, and Waterfront Toronto turned it into something useful.

I’m a pretty big critic of all three levels of government, but I can say that they definitely got something right down in the East Don Lands.  By God did it take some time, but the result is awesome.

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6 Comments

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  1. Free Country says:

    Sounds fantastic! But how exactly do I get there? The last time I drove around there I just hit a “road closed” sign and ended up driving up River to Gerrard to join Bayview. So where is this great new park? Does the TTC cherry street route go near there? Or do you really have to get there either by bicycle (or by car — rather defeats the purpose though, donnit?)

    1. ezmeralda says:

      If you take River St. southbound you’ll drive by Underpass Park & reach the Corktown Commons area! Its really beautiful. Went for a long walk with friends last weekend, walking through the marsh you could see all kinds of birds, hear toads, etc. The splash pad area for kiddies is very poplular… And it all links to the Queen’s Quay Waterfront Trail if you want to ride your bike!!! For once we can honeslty say; well done Toronto!!!

  2. Libertarian says:

    David, since you mention the Waterfront report, couldn’t the same thing you say about Corktown Common apply to the rest of the Waterfront? They finally finished the Queens Quay re-construction. They re-did the Harbourfront Centre a while back and buried the parking. They finally got rid of Captain John’s Restaurant Boat. The Corus Building and George Brown campus has improved the area at the bottom of Sherbourne. There is a nice park there as well. The Guvernment night club is gone. But all I ever hear is that nobody wants to live on Queens Quay because there is nothing down there. It’s all about King West and Queen West. Do you see buying on Queens Quay as good value? Or is Queens Quay only for older people who want peace and quiet? And as such, there will never be a lot of demand for the area.

    1. Free Country says:

      Though I don’t live there, Queen’s Quay looks like great value. The Amsterdam brewery, walk along the lake, the ice rink in the wintertime, fabulous views of the lake on one side, the city on the other, walk to ACC, Rogers Centre and to the office buildings in the south core, then to Union Station and downtown.

    2. @ Libertarian

      The waterfront is a strange animal.

      I’ve been in this business for 12 years, and I’ve sold over 400 condos. I have sold exactly THREE condos on the waterfront.

      While I definitely lead my buyer-clients according to my own opinions on the market, I also go where the business goes. I just don’t ever get anybody that says, “I want to buy a waterfront condo.”

      It’s beyond coincidence at this point. I’ve sold a hundred condos in King West, and King East. Why is that? And why not the same for the waterfront?

      I don’t have the answers. But you used the word “demand,” and frankly I just don’t see any of it for the waterfront.

      Gorgeous area in the summer time, and a ton of things to see and do. But I’m just not selling down there for whatever reason.

  3. Joe Q. says:

    I was there a few years ago — when it was partly complete. I agree that it is impressive.

    I think a lot of this area is former industrial land, and so assessing / testing / remediating it would have taken a good deal of time.

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