College Park

Barbara Ann Scott Park – Update

July 9, 2018 | Parks & Recreation

Barbara Ann Scott Park, one of the hidden gems of potential green space in the downtown Yonge neighbourhood, nestled within the block of Yonge, College, Bay & Gerrard has been in the re-works for years now. At least six years now in fact, as my own notes on the project that I’ve been saving date back to a community consultation held on November 22, 2012 where two different renderings of the park were presented to attendees.

Opening dates have been pushed forward over and over, to the point that an opening date seems meaningless now. That said, the most recent announcement has been for the vast majority of the landscaped area to be finished in July 2018 (as in, right now), with the Hayter Street and skate hub buildings being pushed out to end of August 2018. It seems doubtful this will all happen at the current pace though…

I am optimistic that the park will bring the community together for residents, workers and visitors, but we need the park to be open in the first place. The Downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA) has some really exciting ideas planned that they have gathered from social media and online newsletter surveys to all those interested. Suggestions included farmer’s markets, children’s programming, art installations, community workshops on gardening etc., free music concerts, DJ skating trails in the winter, fitness classes, Toronto Public Library’s mobile book-mobile and more. This will make sure that the park is well used not just for passersby, but also for specific programming to make sure the park is used by people of all walks of life.

As of today, this is what the level of completeness looks like at Barbara Ann Scott Park. This is a look at what will soon be the “kids zone” with some very simple play structures (net webbing, corkscrew based teeter totter type-things) over the long rectangular gravel area:

College Park

And the rest of the park with some of the small trees that have been planted, and evidence of the unfinished ice skating track in the below photos too:

College Park

College Park

College Park

My personal concerns for the design of the park include not enough shade trees and impractical walking paths. When looking at the park in its current state, there is A LOT of sun with no shelter in the middle of the day. (Of course, this being downtown, there is a lot of shade cast from the tall surrounding buildings when it’s not high noon.) I’ve personally noticed that a number of the trees in the rendering, for example on the walkway between the park and Gerrard Street between Aura & The Liberties, have been omitted and will no longer be planted. That particular stretch of the park simply looks like a giant concrete runway with absolutely no greenery. The pedestrian traffic paths that cut through the north west to south east part of the park don’t seem to be integrated into the concrete sidewalk planning, so we’ll have to see if the grass holds up well during the future.

At this point, I just really want the planning, construction, and use of the park back one way or another! This has felt like an extremely long time in coming together, and the neighbourhood could just really benefit from having some green space back in life and action!




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