Urban Green Spaces In Toronto
Toronto in Canada is considered a tower-city with Abundant and diverse green spaces. It does not only have high-rises in the downtown core but also in the many clusters located outside the centre in the inner suburb areas. Between the various tower clusters, are large urban green spaces and parking lots providing its residents and visitors perfect natural places for hanging out and unwinding.
The city of Toronto has many beautiful urban green spaces. It has more than 1,500 parks with numerous open spaces and 600km of trails. The city parks also feature sports fields, playgrounds, beaches, and beautiful gardens. There is no shortage of green space in this whole town.
However, Toronto city is faced with many ongoing challenges of maintaining and improving its green spaces. The rapid population growth and the downtown’s core increasing density are prompting for a need for more park space. But this is a challenge because land is both limited and expensive. Some of the inequities in Toronto’s green spaces and parks are the unequal distribution of these resources. These are critical justice issues that need to be addressed by Toronto’s city planners.
Another emerging challenge is the disconnection between these tower neighborhoods, be it from the city around them or the open green spaces. For example, the ravine systems which often lie alluring close by do not have excellent direct access to them. Thousands of residents live within these towers but often do not have any real services or retail nearby where people can perform simple tasks like simply walking to buy groceries.
All across the globe, professionals, policymakers, and the public recognize the potential for parks to serve as community gathering places, promote health, transportation and much more. Since Toronto city is growing at a high rate, many urban planners, residents and park enthusiasts are worried that the urban green spaces are not increasing at the same speed as the upcoming developments.
The responsible authorities in Toronto have long recognized the importance of improving access to green spaces in the city and hence adopting policies to solve this problem. On April 22, 2015, at the Fork York Visitors Centre, a new report was launched that supported the case of parks and open spaces being interconnected together creating a network of green space.
Park People, Canada’s first citywide park organization in their report making connections’ proposed the creation of a network of the various parks. Making connections explores innovative ways of creating a system that interconnects public spaces which include parks, green spaces, laneways, streets and plazas within the city.
Another strategy is to have extended linear parks which are typically far longer than they are wide. An example of such a project which is list is the Green Line Project. It transforms the hydro corridor extending 5 km from Earlscourt Park and runs east to Spadina Road.
The Green Line runs through several neighborhoods considered to have little parklands and hence opening new opportunities for residents to access green free spaces. The land in the hydro corridor consists of a series of underutilized urban space and connects communities from Davenport Village into the annex. This vision is necessary because it creates more green space to counter the high population growth rate and improving accessibility.
A new report by Toronto Centre of Active Transportation takes a look on some of the challenges in two of Toronto’s neighborhood parks, Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe Park. They highlighted several key interventions that would make these communities a better place for its residents. It should also have more attractive and safer routes for cycling and walking.
One such intervention is making the nearby Don ravine an excellent and more accessible trail to its residents. It proposes a canyon landing pad’ at the trail head into the ravine. This will act as the welcoming gateway to its visitors. This will provide people with a peaceful place to gather as well as being an informational signage point.
Toronto’s ravines threading their way all through the city are magnificent and adjacent to different types of neighborhoods. These ravines are hidden and at times do not have any informative signage at their trailhead let alone a map indicating where it is leading. Adding all these will make them a lot more accessible.