Parks & Recreation Improvements

Parks & Recreation Improvements

Local parks and recreation spaces are a critical part of creating complete communities. To better serve our growing community, we are always on the lookout for opportunities to expand these public spaces.

This year, John continues working towards new and accessible playground equipment being installed at local parks with projects in Kempford Park and Empress Tot Lot. Last year, we updated numerous parks, including Hendon and Sheppard East Parks.

After many years of construction, the Edithvale Park expansion is also nearing completion. The completed park will include outdoor …

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Arts in the Parks Season Launch – June 7

Arts in the Parks Season Launch – June 7

An initiative of the Toronto Arts Foundation which John helped to launch in 2015, Arts in the Parks brings free, family-friendly arts events and activities to a park near you. Think theatre performances, dance classes, workshops, movies, festivals and more, right in your backyard!

All ages are welcome to join us on Friday, June 7 from 12 – 3 PM at Lee Lifeson Art Park (223 Gladys Allison Place) for a free afternoon of performances, workshops and fun as we kick off the summer season of Arts in …

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Clean Toronto Together Campaign – April 28

Clean Toronto Together Campaign – April 28

Toronto’s annual spring cleanup takes place on April 26-28, 2019.  The Clean Toronto Together program mobilizes more than 200,000 residents, students, businesses, organizations and community groups.

The Corporate 20-minute makeover event and school cleanups are scheduled for Friday, April 26.  Community Cleanup Days are Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28.  To register your group for a cleanup event and become eligible for free litter/recycling bags and special litter collection, sign up here.

This year, Willowdale representatives at all levels of government are joining together to organize a clean-up blitz in the North York Centre.  …

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Enhancing Your Yard With Trees & Shrubs

Enhancing Your Yard With Trees & Shrubs

As you make your gardening plans for the spring, think about new trees and shrubs.  The City of Toronto is continuing its tree planting strategy pursuing the goal of reaching 40% tree canopy cover.

To help achieve this target, Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) offers a Subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program which helps you enjoy the many benefits of trees by planting the right tree in the right place. You will get an arborist consultation at your property, a 5 to 8 foot native tree and full …

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Canada Blooms at Cummer Lodge

Canada Blooms at Cummer Lodge

Last week, John joined Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson celebrity gardener Ben Cullen at Cummer Lodge to welcome 600 new plants donated by Canada Blooms.  This is the 12th season that Canada Blooms, an annual world-class festival connecting people to the joys and benefits of nature through gardens and flowers, has donated plants to beautify one of the City’s long-term care facilities.

John was happy to hear that this year’s donation will complement the natural beauty of the Cummer Lodge grounds. The outdoor plants that have been donated will …

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York Cemetery Opens Victoria Cross Memorial – June 25

York Cemetery Opens Victoria Cross Memorial – June 25

Update (June 20, 2017):

Many thanks to the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries who have donated approximately 13 acres of ravine land to the City at the western end of York Cemetery. This land is adjacent to Bathurst Park, Burnett Woods and the Hinder Property in the West Don River Valley. We are continuing to talk with residents about future use of the property, which will remain in its natural state, once the City releases its Ravines strategy later this year.

Making this land public is part …

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Updates to Edithvale Park

Updates to Edithvale Park

Edithvale Park and Community Centre (131 Finch Ave W) is one of our busiest hubs for recreation.  John has continued to work with the community and City PF&R staff to make the park more functional for its users.  The next set of updates will begin in the fall of 2017 with the restoration of the Native Plant Garden.  Many residents have seen this area tarped off to remove a number of invasive plants and weeds.  The new garden will be designed as a natural habitat for …

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Updates to Olive Square

Updates to Olive Square

City parks are a place where children from all cultures naturally play together.  John is looking to take this one step further by creating a simple way for residents of different communities to share their childhood games and celebrating the diverse culture of the North York Centre.

The first attempt to do so will be at Olive Square, located near the southeast corner of Yonge & Finch, a location with a very large number of residents of Korean, Persian, Chinese and other heritage.  Many of these …

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Lee Lifeson Art Park Opening – September 17

Lee Lifeson Art Park Opening – September 17

In recent years we have had the great fortune of opening a new park virtually annually in Willowdale.  2016 is particularly special as our community’s new Lee Lifeson Art Park – located between Princess and Hillcrest Avenues at Gladys Allison Place – will be not only celebrate the arts in our community and beyond, but will honour two hugely successful artists with local origins.

The initiative to create an art park, and to name it after Willowdale natives Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, originated with John in …

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Help Shape Toronto’s Ravines – July 8

Help Shape Toronto’s Ravines – July 8

The City of Toronto has been working with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and consulting with the public and a wide range of stakeholders since early 2015 to develop a strategy on Toronto’s ravines. A vision has been developed to represent the core ideas and values that will guide the City in future decision-making related to ravines and address the challenges and opportunities in the city’s ravine system.

Before finalizing the principles and recommendations, the City would like to hear from the public. Our …

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Future Improvements at Edithvale Park Community Meeting – April 11

Future Improvements at Edithvale Park Community Meeting – April 11

John is pleased to announce that as of May 1st, 2016, the City enters into a lease agreement with the TDSB for use of the school board land on the south west corner of the park.  This additional green space will allow Edithvale Community Centre and the public to use the space freely and for recreation programming.  This past summer the City also acquired the remaining residential properties on Finch Avenue for park use allowing the long awaited completion of the park.

In 2014, John held …

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New Solar Panels at Gwendolen Tennis Club

New Solar Panels at Gwendolen Tennis Club

The City of Toronto recently completed the installation of new solar panels at the Gwendolen Park Tennis Club connected to the Toronto Hydro electrical grid.  The City will receive revenues for 20 years from the sale of electricity generated by the system, through Ontario’s MicroFIT program, expected to be almost double the capital cost.  The Toronto Renewable Energy Office (TREO) organized this installation as the City’s lead in supporting its mandate to install renewable energy systems on all City buildings, where feasible, by 2020.

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