True, the paths are relatively new, but from a landscape design point of view (materiality, widths, layout, seating) they're not really well done (again I make the comparison to the work DTAH did at St. Andrew's Playground with its paving materials, patterns, variety of seating and lighting).There are certainly things that could be done to improve Clarence Square........
That said, I find the reference to poor pathways rather odd, they're almost all new. The last re-do was maybe 10 years ago...........2012/13 I believe.
The park got all new pathways, lights and benches at that time.
I frankly don't like what they chose, and find the DOLA and annoying intrusion into the space; but it shouldn't be in all that poor condition, except for any sod wiped out by the encampments.
The map I posted from 1923 was from a website that contained the following comment:
"The formal pattern of paths in Clarence Square documented in the 19th century was superceded by a sparser layout of 'given' paths as the park came to serve more as a convenient link for passers-through than as a destination. The neighbourhood changed when houses on the the south and west sides of Clarence Square were demolished to allow some railway sidings to be built."
1923 City Parks Dept: Plan [of] Clarence Square, Toronto
I think this thinking is still present in the current design for Clarence Square. Last summer, on a typical evening where St. Andrew's Playground would be packed with people strolling, sitting at tables, benches or at the central triangular pad, Clarence Square would be relatively empty. Landscape design is the difference.
One final comment (since this is a thread on fountains): the current fountain is woefully out of scale with the size of the park. Clarence Square is more than double the size of Berczy Park yet its fountain is probably half its size. It really needs a larger basin and higher fountain (more like the centralized fountain in the 1876 plan above).