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Toronto Parks

W. K. Lis

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Interesting article on Tomlin's Creek in the Kingston Road & Woodbine Avenue area, and the disappearing park and creek. See link.

20141029-Glen-Davis-Map.jpg
 

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Ayan

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When it comes to a greener downtown, Toronto can certainly learn from Vancouver. Nearly 93% of Vancouver’s land base is within a five-minute walk to a green space and Vancouver is working towards taking that percentage even higher.

http://vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/access-to-nature.aspx

In addition to the 1,001-acre Stanley Park, there are 29 other parks in downtown Vancouver.

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/parks-gardens-and-beaches.aspx

This figure includes only green spaces and does not include other public places like Robson Square or Jack Poole Plaza, which will be considered parks in Toronto context. Some examples:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2902...!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sAgWkA9IoQiSJxtyKQk85Rw!2e0!3e5
https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2718...!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sDMHYW_lG21I5go9UPqIKDA!2e0!3e5
https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2761...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sCZda-HLkVFQQgUUPBgyr5g!2e0

In addition to abundant parks, there are other features that make downtown Vancouver greener. Many downtown streets are lined with tress, especially the ones in predominantly residential neighbourhoods. An example of an older neighbourhood:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2857...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s-AHQDRQGz_6FxcnIBiIAbg!2e0

And here’s an example of a newer neighbourhood:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2787...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s7WIUljUpNb1XIoSeTd9Rcg!2e0

Many condos incorporate extensive landscaping in their design and give back to the community by creating beautiful green spaces that anyone can enjoy. Some examples:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2726...!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sfQTYQ00ghVTlCXJIFHJDwQ!2e0!3e5
https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2875...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s4t93KSt5ksppZAHqSekG-g!2e0
https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2925...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sg2vl2k_zEqIyvJfshOHb5A!2e0
https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2934...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sEhbWDzRxK6XQbNqeiPXNmw!2e0
https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2744...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sh6mrY7b4FL9OKNqYc5Hdkw!2e0
https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2871...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sUFeqXgrJD5T8KQY6LzVCqA!2e0
https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2852...!1e1!3m2!1sbvH1di9e1b0UU-IknDcoAw!2e0!6m1!1e1
http://theprosaictraveller.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/van11-196.jpg

Non-residential buildings also incorporate beautiful green spaces that anyone can enjoy.

A hotel in downtown (in contrast, the Sheraton in downtown Toronto has an indoor garden not readily accessible to the public):

http://www.sheratonvancouver.com/gallery/garden

The law courts:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2809...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s_kSxgGEiiT1NHJHv1c-Fhg!2e0

The new convention centre:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vanco...6J5-77P5Ys-77Kbzg-7oP7Lz-7oSZ3J-7oP7Wr-7oSZay

A SkyTrain Station in an area of downtown equivalent to the Financial District in Toronto. The street entrance to the underground station is beautifully integrated with a park.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2853...ata=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1skkzA-K6fKkJpf1hqTQ4A-Q!2e0

A community garden in downtown (used to be a gas station):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielabsilva/3767468061/

After the gas station was torn down:

https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Da...000000000000:0x492bf815f368d970!6m1!1e1?hl=en

The rooftop of a community centre and multilevel parking lot:

http://www.pwlpartnership.com/our-portfolio/civic-culture/coal-harbour-community-centre

Downtown Vancouver manages to have all these green spaces despite having higher density than downtown Toronto.

Population density/ha: Vancouver (176), Toronto (104)
Job density/ha: Vancouver (290), Toronto (260)

http://www.canurb.org/cui-news/the-value-of-investing-in-canadian-downtowns.html
 

nfitz

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Interesting article on Tomlin's Creek in the Kingston Road & Woodbine Avenue area, and the disappearing park and creek. See link.
Fascinating article! Living relatively nearby I've always wondered how that street came about - and thouht it was odd there was no parthway from the end of the crescent up to Kingston Road - it would seem a long walk for residents down there to the streetcar.

I looked at the city mapping on http://map.toronto.ca/maps/map.jsp?app=TorontoMaps_v2 - zooming in, there is a laneway off Kingston Road that heads behind some of the houses on the end of the crescent, and then a strip of parkland? wedged between between the houses on Glen Davis and Main/Benlammond. I'll have to try and walk in there one day - does anyone know it?

While it's a shame that no park remains there (it would have been a fantastic place with the brook!) there are other parks, including the small parkette just down Love Crescent about 100 metres way, with some wonderful trees - and I think an ice rink in recent winters. And 200 metres west of that is the wonderful Cassels Avenue Playground which have entertained my kids for many an hour!
 

freshcutgrass

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In addition to the 1,001-acre Stanley Park, there are 29 other parks in downtown Vancouver.

Holy crap...obviously you have no shame.

Downtown Toronto has considerably more than 29 parks, and downtown Toronto is surrounded by considerably more than 1000 acres of parkland.



Downtown Vancouver manages to have all these green spaces despite having higher density than downtown Toronto.

Population density/ha: Vancouver (176), Toronto (104)
Job density/ha: Vancouver (290), Toronto (260)

http://www.canurb.org/cui-news/the-value-of-investing-in-canadian-downtowns.html

Ok...time for a little math lesson.

Downtown Vancouver including Downtown Eastside has a residential population of 73,167 and a land area of 579 ha, for a density of 126/ha
Downtown Toronto as per map provided in canurb has a residential population of 242,815 and a land area of 1618 ha, for a density of 150/ha

The math clearly shows Downtown Toronto as having more residential density, despite averaging that over an area 3 times as large, and includes huge area with little or no residential population. And the gap is getting bigger as the current population is considerably bigger and growing fast.

Including the West End would not beat Toronto's numbers either.

As for jobs/ha, the entire Vancouver downtown peninsula contains "nearly 145,000 jobs" (as per official City of Vancouver website). The downtown peninsula is a total of 1188 ha, for a jobs density of 122/ha. But let's be fair and deduct Stanley Park for a land area of 783 ha, which brings it up to 185/ha.

Downtown Toronto has 446,000 jobs (as per City of Toronto), which does not include the Niagara district as outlined in the canurb study, which would bring the total many thousands higher.
But leaving it at that, this still gives downtown Toronto a job density of 275/ha. Again, despite averaging that out over an area 3 times the size, and containing huge areas of little or no jobs.

To put things into perspective, Toronto's Financial District has a job density of 2,212/ha.
 

Ayan

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The Canadian Urban Institute explained in Appendix 1 how the downtown areas were defined in each city.

Comparisons between 10 Downtowns

CUI studied 10 unique downtowns that stretch from east to west across Canada. These downtowns range in population from the thousands to the millions and serve many distinct roles and functions. This diversity creates many challenges for a benchmarking study. The in-depth analysis is intended to maximize opportunities for comparison between the downtown case studies. More specifically, to achieve comparability, every downtown was assessed against the same five principles and indicators that were developed to consistently present data collected from each city. Key indicators were also selected based on some of the more interesting results of this study to allow for a quick overview of key findings and an easy way to compare the varying cities to each other.

DEFINING DOWNTOWN BOUNDARIES

The first challenge for almost every project partner was defining the boundary for the downtown case studies. Every single person living in a city will likely have a different understanding of what constitutes their “Downtown†based on their personal frame of reference – are they a resident, a worker, how do they utilize the downtown and how often? - and the project partners had to balance these various expectations and other key considerations in selecting this boundary.

CUI provided support to each project partner to create a boundary that made sense for each city. The preferred approach was adopting the working definition of “Downtown†used by the relevant municipality in plans and policies.

Yet, where the municipality had not created a definition of the “Downtown,†CUI developed general criteria and considerations to help guide the creation of these boundaries. There were four key criteria/considerations for defining the downtown:

Financial core: Firstly, the downtown study area should function as the central business district for the wider city and/or include the city’s historic financial core.

Diverse ‘urban’ elements: Secondly, the downtown study area should include diverse urban elements such as the City’s main “high streetâ€; a concentration of commercial and mixed use buildings; major civic buildings, such as the City’s Town Hall; major public spaces, such as a city square or plaza; religious or ceremonial spaces. Other features include high density residential housing well served by public transportation. This should ideally also generate high volumes of pedestrian traffic.

Hard edged boundary: Thirdly, the study area would ideally be bound by a hard edge, from manmade features such as major streets or train tracks, or a natural feature such as a body of water. Hard edges provide a clear justification for the location of the boundary.

Workable for data collection: Lastly, an overarching consideration is that the data being compiled must align with the selected downtown study areas. Therefore project partners had to consider Census Tracts and other important data collection boundaries that would make the study area workable and logical for the purposes of the project.

The study has been designed to balance challenges that come with each city determining their own boundaries. For example, some cities have decided on more generous boundaries than others. This could mean that when collecting raw data, the population of residents or jobs etc may appear to be larger than if a smaller area was selected. To balance this, CUI measures many intensity factors (for example population and jobs per hectare) and trends over time (% growth), alongside raw numbers to allow for a clearer picture of downtown activity. Moreover, this study provides significant commentary about key assets or pieces of infrastructure just beyond downtown boundaries, as well as the inner core suburbs that support each of the downtown case studies.

Overall, endless debate could be had around the exact boundaries of a downtown, what constitutes a downtown and what elements should be ‘in and out.’ Yet it is the hope of this study that anyone picking up this report and flicking to their home city will generally think “yes give or take a little, this downtown boundary makes sese to me for my own home city.â€
 

nfitz

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The Canadian Urban Institute explained in Appendix 1 how the downtown areas were defined in each city.
Not sure what this has to do with Toronto Parks - which are on-topic whether they are downtown or are camp grounds in the Rouge Valley. Can we please stay on topic?
 

Register123

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It's relivant in so much as the discussion for the last few pages has revolved around this study showing how Toronto lags Vancouver for park space downtown. Some on here seem to believe the study is faulty. Though to me it looks quite comprehensive and well presented. Some just refuse to admit that Vancouver may be a better planned urban centre with respect to parks than Toronto. Having lived in both cities (5 years plus in each), I would have to agree with Ayan and the study.
 

nfitz

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It's relivant in so much as the discussion for the last few pages has revolved around this study showing how Toronto lags Vancouver for park space downtown. Some on here seem to believe the study is faulty. Though to me it looks quite comprehensive and well presented. Some just refuse to admit that Vancouver may be a better planned urban centre with respect to parks than Toronto. Having lived in both cities (5 years plus in each), I would have to agree with Ayan and the study.
And yet in Vancouver it seems much further to walk to a playground, when they are a lot closer in Toronto.
 

Thanos

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You did not live in downtown Montreal in the 80's. You lived in an area comparable to Scarborough in terms of distance from downtown.

Hampton and Maissoneuve is nowhere near as far as Scarborough from Downtown Montreal. It's 3.5 kms from downtown Montreal. You clearly know nothing about Montreal so please remove it from anything you have to say to prove any point you are trying to make because you are failing in extraordinary fashion.
 

Ayan

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Hampton and Maissoneuve is nowhere near as far as Scarborough from Downtown Montreal. It's 3.5 kms from downtown Montreal. You clearly know nothing about Montreal so please remove it from anything you have to say to prove any point you are trying to make because you are failing in extraordinary fashion.

Well this is the point I made:

“Hampton and Maisonneuve†is NOT in downtown Montreal. Someone’s SUBJECTIVE experience with PLAYGROUNDS around Hampton and Maissoneuve could not justify a sweeping and conclusive statement about the lack of PARKS in DOWNTOWN Montreal relative to downtown Toronto.

I don’t see how my point is disproved just because “Hampton and Maissoneuve is nowhere near as far as Scarborough from Downtown Montreal.†“Hampton and Maisonneuve†is still NOT in downtown Montreal.

Perhaps you should stop nitpicking as it adds no value to the discussion. For example, IF I were to nitpick, I would point out that you don’t know how to spell “Maisonneuve.†Therefore, “you clearly know nothing about Montreal so please remove it from anything you have to say to prove any point you are trying to make because you are failing in extraordinary ashion.â€
 

nfitz

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“Hampton and Maisonneuve†is NOT in downtown Montreal. Someone’s SUBJECTIVE experience with PLAYGROUNDS around Hampton and Maissoneuve could not justify a sweeping and conclusive statement about the lack of PARKS in DOWNTOWN Montreal relative to downtown Toronto.
Why on earth are you calling "de Maisonneuve" as "Maisonneuve". Not spelling it right is one thing ... but who has ever called it just "Maisonneuve"?!?

The discussion isn't about parks in downtown. It's about parks in Toronto. As we've proved without a shadow of a doubt that the park situation in Vancouver as a whole is quite pathetic, I really don't know why we are still mentioning such a park-poor city in this discussion.

And really, are we surprised that the park situation in Vancouver is so pathetic? Have you spent much time in Vancouver? You start walking around, and the state of the urban infrastructure is shocking. There's still pedestrian crossings with no wheelchair ramps in place. There are sidewalks that have massive heaving because of tree roots, and no attempts to fix them for many years. And what's really surprising is that with the very mild winters, there's generally much less need for pavement and sidewalk replacement each year - and yet even then they can't keep up.

Perhaps there should be a separate thread for those with a Vancouver fetish to discuss how their grass is greener?
 

Ayan

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Why on earth are you calling "de Maisonneuve" as "Maisonneuve". Not spelling it right is one thing ... but who has ever called it just "Maisonneuve"?!?

The discussion isn't about parks in downtown. It's about parks in Toronto. As we've proved without a shadow of a doubt that the park situation in Vancouver as a whole is quite pathetic, I really don't know why we are still mentioning such a park-poor city in this discussion.

And really, are we surprised that the park situation in Vancouver is so pathetic? Have you spent much time in Vancouver? You start walking around, and the state of the urban infrastructure is shocking. There's still pedestrian crossings with no wheelchair ramps in place. There are sidewalks that have massive heaving because of tree roots, and no attempts to fix them for many years. And what's really surprising is that with the very mild winters, there's generally much less need for pavement and sidewalk replacement each year - and yet even then they can't keep up.

Perhaps there should be a separate thread for those with a Vancouver fetish to discuss how their grass is greener?

Aside from the fact that I used quotation marks, colloquially most Montrealers refer to BOULEVARD De Maisonneuve as Maisonneuve (another indication that you are not familiar with Montreal).

“Without a shadow of a doubt� You mean your ludicrous claim about how difficult it was for you to find a park in Vancouver even though you were within 300 m of an 874 hectares park :)?

I have been discussing the lack of quality park spaces in DOWNTOWN Toronto relative to downtown Vancouver and downtown Montreal. Are you saying that every post in this thread must refer to ALL Toronto parks? That would be yet another ludicrous statement!

Being open to learning from other cities when it comes to urban planning is a good thing. Your narrow Toronto-centric views will do more harm to the city than good.
 

Register123

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Why on earth are you calling "de Maisonneuve" as "Maisonneuve". Not spelling it right is one thing ... but who has ever called it just "Maisonneuve"?!?

The discussion isn't about parks in downtown. It's about parks in Toronto. As we've proved without a shadow of a doubt that the park situation in Vancouver as a whole is quite pathetic, I really don't know why we are still mentioning such a park-poor city in this discussion.

And really, are we surprised that the park situation in Vancouver is so pathetic? Have you spent much time in Vancouver? You start walking around, and the state of the urban infrastructure is shocking. There's still pedestrian crossings with no wheelchair ramps in place. There are sidewalks that have massive heaving because of tree roots, and no attempts to fix them for many years. And what's really surprising is that with the very mild winters, there's generally much less need for pavement and sidewalk replacement each year - and yet even then they can't keep up.

Perhaps there should be a separate thread for those with a Vancouver fetish to discuss how their grass is greener?

You most obviously have NOT been following the discussion as it IS about DOWNTOWN parks. I'm not sure how you overlooked that, selective reading skills I suppose. If anything it is Toronto that must learn from Vancouver in terms of getting the public realm up to standards of a world city, amazing you'd think otherwise (again i've lived in both cities for extended period of time and I'm speaking from experience, and I'm not a Vancouver homer. I wasn't born there and was only there for 5 years, didn't really care for it). When we first moved to Toronto, the shabby public realm was the first thing my partner and I noticed, it was jarring. I've lived in several cities across Canada and the USA and by far Toronto in general (across large parts of the city) is the most run down in appearance ( although a few friends who have visited liked the look of Toronto, saying "it has a lived in look, not a sterile look", though most thought it just looked rundown). That said, I do prefer living in Toronto over Vancouver because despite the city's unkept look it's a fantastic city.
 

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