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.