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TRONto

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I still occasionally go there with the kids. It's fine, and in a very lively setting. You just have to be a tad more alert because of the "characters" that are around, but there are enough tourists and hipsters to act as a buffer.
To reiterate, I often take the kids to playgrounds weekend mornings between 9-12. At these times, it's not lively (we were often the only family there) and a few times we've found adults in the playground equipment which forced us to go elsewhere. The playground is ok (not great) which doesn't make it worth it to venture there only to end up going elsewhere.

I'd argue a successful park/playground should be accessible for young children 8am-8pm everyday (non-winter) . Bellevue doesn't meet this criteria.
 

evandyk

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We've only been to that playground maybe 5-6 times, but that's never been our experience. There was a pretty big encampment in the park last fall, but that's been gone for a while now, and the people living there did not go onto the playground area.
 

GabrielHurl

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I was up in midtown over the weekend and saw the fencing to David Balfour Park was open and went and had a look with my little future ur ban planner - boy is it not good.
Wading pools gone, scorched sod full of weeds, asphalt perimeter path. Limited shade on east and west sides with the bench seats.

Granted it's still not finished - I'm not very hopeful of it being turned around by the end of summer when it's supposed to open.
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evandyk

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Wow. I haven't been up there in a while, but that looks pretty parched.

We did recently take an excursion up to Moorevale Park, in that neck of the woods, and it was pretty nice. The toddler really loved the splash pad.
 

Tuscani01

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I was up in midtown over the weekend and saw the fencing to David Balfour Park was open and went and had a look with my little future ur ban planner - boy is it not good.
Wading pools gone, scorched sod full of weeds, asphalt perimeter path. Limited shade on east and west sides with the bench seats.

Granted it's still not finished - I'm not very hopeful of it being turned around by the end of summer when it's supposed to open.

Sadly, the pools weren’t part of the redesign. It’s a pretty underwhelming space now.

 

Teshi

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What a weird outcome for so many months of work. While I buy that some space is needed for games, that's far more space than necessary. It's not a park, it's a field. Are they planning to use it for events like fairs, or is it just like Winston Churchill, a windy expanse of flat grass sometimes used for games (but not providing any facilities like painted lines, maintained turf, or goal posts).

At least with no planting or landscaping it should be easy to amend. If the city doesn't care about parks or want to put any money into their maintenance, the best it can do is empty softscaping with a view to--sometime in the very, very distant future--people voting for people who will actually be interested in green space.
 

Northern Light

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For @evandyk this is my take on Canoe Landing Park:

Lets start, as we often do, by having a look at what the City says this park is about, and an aerial pic to orient ourselves for the discussion.

1658950644987.png


(~ 7.5 acres for the non-metric thinkers)

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Now let me add some labels:

Screenshot 2022-07-27 at 15-40-51 Toronto Maps v2.png


Ok then, we're just about set......just a couple of words here on Fields and their classifications in Toronto; Parks ranks its fields as P (premier/best) to C, least amenities/lowest maintenance standard.

Parks charges differential fees based on those classifications. Want to play on a better field, shell out more $$

***

Now, lets start our tour..........

DSC08786.JPG


Above is the easterly entrance to the park, it is a secondary entrance (not the main one); its adjacent to the Community Centre and School.

No sign facing the road.......sigh........

No seating either........nothing says 'community gathering spot'..... like no seating........sorta feels like a 'No Loitering' sign to me.

For a 3h/7.5 acre park, I'd really like to see a map at any entrance/exit as well, so people can find the facility they're looking for in a timely way.....'Meet me by the playground' should not necessarily entail a 15 minute jaunt to find said location.

Its otherwise ok, I suppose, if a bit uninspired. A bit barren too; but that's in part because the trees here are clearly under performing, they should be larger by now.

***

Hey, what's that just to the right in the pic, behind the odd looking illuminated sign?

DSC08789.JPG


Hmm, apparently a 'class C' field needs a class-less entrance all its own.

I'm assuming this was done to create an accessible entrance of sorts........but......but...

Here is what that path leads to:

DSC08790.JPG


Anyone else feel like navigating that terrain in a wheelchair or with a walker might be just as bit challenging? There's no hardscape path on any side of the field once you're up there. Really do not get the point of this, as done.

Also.....'Class C' ??? Maybe closer to class 'F'. I'm fine with a field meant for picnics or informal games of tag or pick-up soccer by kids. Not every field needs to be regulation size, illuminated at night etc etc.

But this one is in terrible shape.........patchy does not begin to cover it.

If this is to be retained as field, it need to be scraped and re-done. But before that, some examination is needed as to why its that bad. I'm guessing here, but the field has been graded to be high-ground compared with everything around it; and absent irrigation, I suspect it may just be perpetually parched. But there may also be nutrient deficiency or drainage issues w/the underlying soil. The damage here does not read as trampling or desire line-based to me. You can look back up at the labelled photo above, see that there isn't a clear line of wear and tear; rather one major problem area in the centre and some smaller ones around it.

***

Now lets look at how the area around the field has been designed/programmed, particularly the space between the field and Bremner Blvd:

DSC08794.JPG


These non-native Birch trees, probably European, I'll take a closer look later, appear fairly healthy......and have been used to created a shaded space with some picnic tables. I don't mind this idea.

I would not have chosen the Birch mind you, I think this would have been a logical spot for some canopy trees, and or a mix of species, the Birch, doing better than Birch usually do in an urban setting provide very low canopy, which has the odd
effect of making the tables underneath almost disappear; it also makes for less available shade, next to a very sunny open field. The absence of any pathway here, of any description seems odd.

I'm a big supporter of Bikeshare and glad to see it nearby, though here, I do feel like almost cuts the park off from the street because its such a large dock.

***

Lets go back out to Bremner now, and check out the principle/main entrance to the park:

DSC08797.JPG


Well, on the upside, there is a prominent, street-facing sign.........on the downside........its not a standard park sign and doesn't say 'park' on it. Yeah, I get that that is pretty obvious when you're standing there, I hope..........still.....

But no map again...


DSC08798.JPG


The waterplay/public art feature was not exactly bustling early on Tuesday afternoon in July, under near perfect summer weather.

At least there is seating here...........though note the absence of back rests on any of it.......and that none of it appears to be in shade.

Before we go further in, lets take a look just to the west...........because there's one more path into the park there..........:

DSC08800.JPG


If you didn't know..............would you know this sad excuse for a path leads to the DOLA? (Dogs Off Leash Area). I wouldn't. Unless you had a dog, you presumably wouldn't want through the DOLA, which means this path is functionally a dead-end for most parks users. Yet there is no signage or map to tell you where this path does or does not go.

Below is an image from Streetview showing this path in context:

1658953593993.png


I'm not quite sure what this landscape area is in front of the DOLA, but I'd be inclined to remove it and create a better line-of-sight here. I'm also somewhat iffy on whether a path needs to exist in this is exact location as one can see yet another major path just to the west, and the principle entrance is only a few meters to the east. Seems a bit redundant to me.

Lets again use Streetview to look at the path just west of here, before we return the main entrance:

(no, all the trees are not dead, I selected a January picture so one could see up the pathway unencumbered by the leaves)


1658954062783.png


In the distance above, we see the eponymous canoe of Canoe Landing. Hmmmm......no sign, no seats, no landscape treatment to speak of......what a perfect spot for an 'allee' actually since the grade changes and nearby uses
make it such that people are mostly likely to stick to the path, and you want a clear, framed, view corridor here........

***

With that, we'll need at least one more post to wrap this park up; and it will be up shortly.
 

Northern Light

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Ok....we're back to the main entrance again.......but this time walking a bit further in........

Here, we find a children's playground, while not super busy......it was by far the most popular spot when I was in the park.

DSC08801.JPG


DSC08802.JPG


For all the dead space in parts of this park, I'm not sure why a bit more room couldn't be found to add a swing set here or something. I expect they wanted to site it next to the waterplay feature.

I can accept that, though I think:

a) Seeing as the grading in this park is largely man-made, there's no real reason the landscape behind the playground couldn't been more steeply terraced to squeeze out some extra space.

b) The principle entrance path actually reads as excessively wide to me, and handing over an extra 2M to the playground might be a better use of space. (The main path here is ~8M wide, most parks are 4M; surely 6M would suffice.

***

Now lets have a quick look at that 'Premier' sports field:

DSC08803.JPG


Ok, looks to be in good condition (its synthetic), has floodlights, decent size....ok, not bad at all........ though that fence looks really cheap and flimsy to me...........thumbs down on that choice.

The trees on its westerly and northerly flanks mind you, not doing great:

DSC08804.JPG


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If we turn to face west (opposite the Premier field) we see the slope coming down from the area where the Canoe is situated, and the path leading to same. Its obviously supposed to be 'natural'......

Though....its not a very good natural, either from an ecological perspective, or an aesthetic one:

DSC08806.JPG


Aesthetically, if you're not going for a forest-look, you want pollinators........well then you want lots of flowers in bloom at any given time.........there's a bit of goldenrod in bloom, but not a whole lot else........its a sea
of green on green without much visual interest........

From an ecological point of view......I would prefer the space have a lot less non-native invasive plant communities, as highlighted in the image below where we are looking at Burdock, which everyone enjoys for its
habit of leaving burrs all over your clothing should you brush up against it:

DSC08807.JPG


Moving on, lets climb those stairs we saw at the southern end of the playground and get to higher ground:

Here, we look right/north, we find the DOLA:

DSC08808.JPG


One person, two dogs, a bit under utilized; though, in fairness, I would expect use concentrated in the evenings. But man, is that ever ugly chain-link fence..........also, even dogs like interesting things in their spaces, and don't mind some shade on a hot summer's day, a single shade tree off to one side, something to climb, a plant with an interesting scent, some seats for the owners, and a water course for the dogs would all seem sensible here to me.

***

Now, looking left/south we see that path leading up to the canoe:

DSC08809.JPG


Its ok'ish............but as noted earlier, no real landscape feature, limited seating with no backrests, and here we see a desire line-style path, to the left, except its paved.........No thanks.....poorly maintained, unattractive, visual clutter.

The grass is not in great shape here either, more is possible here, without a lot of $$$

***

Now we're in wrap-up mode, and headed down hill to meet Dan Leckie Way.

Mid-slope, we encounter this path:


DSC08810.JPG


I'm not entirely sure what the thought process was here, I'd have to go back and look at the original design specs.............I'm thinking it was meant to provide a southern view (we could discuss the quality of said view) and probably to save you having to climb the hill at the southern edge of the park to access the bike trail.

But its not the same treatment as the Bike trail (3-4M wide paved path)............shrug........not sure. Again, no signs or maps explaining where this path goes, you're supposed to guess, I guess. I like the idea of a mid-slope trail with nature above and below, but its covered with many non-native invasives.......including the Burdock I earlier mentioned on the left/upper slope side in the foreground.

**

Now we're on Dan Leckie Way, looking up at the park:

DSC08813.JPG


Lots of potential here, with some TLC.....not super impressed with the current state of it.

The final image here is Streetview again, and is taken from south-west corner of the park along Dan Leckie at the Gardiner Expwy.



1658956294164.png


Now here, on the left of the image, we have a very clear desire line to get up to and down from the Canoe; but for some reason this path has not been formalized.

On the west, we see the Bike Trail listed as being part of the park.

Beyond my thoughts as offered throughout the last two posts, I will add one more here...............did anyone notice something missing? Beyond what I've noted?

In a park that has facilities for young children, for dog owners, a sports field meant for extended play............and picnic tables.........

Washroom anyone? Nope......... its not there. I'm not sure how practical it is to access the Community Centre washrooms........but I do think its not ideal that one should have to do so. I would also note, the Community Centre closes at 8pm on Saturday, and 6pm on Sunday, so if you need washrooms after that........you're outta luck.

And that brings our tour/review to a close.

Summation, not bad park, lots of isolated features are pretty good or have the potential to be; some oddball design choices, some very poor maintenance, and really, just a bit under-whelming. I'll come back to this in a day or two looking at how
one might address the various issues, and provide some idea of cost.
 

Tuscani01

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Summation, not bad park, lots of isolated features are pretty good or have the potential to be; some oddball design choices, some very poor maintenance, and really, just a bit under-whelming. I'll come back to this in a day or two looking at how
one might address the various issues, and provide some idea of cost.

A few points I can add from my time living here and being on the residents association...

Although there is now a DOLA, the unofficial dog park is that class C field. The off leash area was temporarily installed to appease people who complained that dogs were destroying the patch of grass, and using the turf field. Dog owners refuse to use the off leash area as its too small, and it becomes a muddy mess. A more permanent dog park is being built under the Gardiner, which should result in the removal of the temporary one. The class C field does have drainage issues, and the field has become so compacted from various events using the space over the years. It was also partially wrecked by CAFE when they drove trucks on it to set up a corn maze, and the damage was never fixed.

The playground was also a late addition to the park, as the population of kids in CityPlace had a mini explosion. The water feature next to the splash pad hasn't been working for about 10 years now and was actually filled in by the city. It was a beaver dam with an infinity style waterfall.

Lastly, the hills were originally planted with low maintenance plants, but Parks staff clear cut everything. What grew back were just weeds. The developer paid to have everything re-done, but Parks once again came by and clear cut everything. Concord Adex is pretty disappointed with the way the park has been maintained by the city and has wanted to be more involved in the maintenance and upkeep, but they keep getting shut out.

All that said, this park is definitely well used. If you have a chance to visit it during an evening, I highly recommend doing so. There are so many people who use it. A good variety of ages and backgrounds. Really feels like Toronto.
 

evandyk

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Thanks for the review! Our kid liked the playground, and met a few new friends. And loved the fact that there was actually a working water fountain. We let him pee next to a tree, because there was no way we would walk all the way to the community centre (which you can't necessarily see if it's open from the playground). We got ice cream next door, which was fun.
 

evandyk

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All that said, this park is definitely well used. If you have a chance to visit it during an evening, I highly recommend doing so. There are so many people who use it. A good variety of ages and backgrounds. Really feels like Toronto.

We go to a lot of parks that have this feeling. St. James, Corktown, Regent Park, Sugar Beach, and this one sometimes, etc. All of them are really well used, it just seems that we could build them a little better.
 

Northern Light

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First off, I'd like to thank @Tuscani01 for that thorough and thoughtful post; great contribution!

Although there is now a DOLA, the unofficial dog park is that class C field. The off leash area was temporarily installed to appease people who complained that dogs were destroying the patch of grass, and using the turf field. Dog owners refuse to use the off leash area as its too small, and it becomes a muddy mess. A more permanent dog park is being built under the Gardiner, which should result in the removal of the temporary one. The class C field does have drainage issues, and the field has become so compacted from various events using the space over the years. It was also partially wrecked by CAFE when they drove trucks on it to set up a corn maze, and the damage was never fixed.

This explains a great deal. That said...........what was the DOLA (fenced in area) before it was a DOLA? just grass? There needs to be an intelligent thought as to how to use that space.

***

The class C field needs to be addressed, it does not work, as is, whether that means fixing it to be a working 'open space/field' or finding an alternative purpose to it would depend on community need.

The playground was also a late addition to the park, as the population of kids in CityPlace had a mini explosion.

Probably a wise addition. I'll stand by my assertion that's there a lot of under-utilized space around it, and there's room to do better.

The water feature next to the splash pad hasn't been working for about 10 years now and was actually filled in by the city. It was a beaver dam with an infinity style waterfall.

Sigh.....it needs repairing, just remove it........is a very questionable maintenance strategy.

Lastly, the hills were originally planted with low maintenance plants, but Parks staff clear cut everything. What grew back were just weeds. The developer paid to have everything re-done, but Parks once again came by and clear cut everything. Concord Adex is pretty disappointed with the way the park has been maintained by the city and has wanted to be more involved in the maintenance and upkeep, but they keep getting shut out.

What the ever living @#E$? Did Parks provide any explanation for this; because off-hand I'd be inclined to bill the person in Parks who decided on this course of action and have them pay to fix it. Not that that would happen, but it should.

I've seen my share of naturalization plantings mowed over...........not ok.............but at least, I have some understanding of how it can happen on relatively flat ground, when young plants aren't established, if there's no signage/fencing etc; and the person hired to mow just sees a overgrown grass.

But removing vegetation on a steep hill is a very purposeful act. For the most part, if you tried to run a riding mower down those hills at Canoe Landing, you'd roll it..........

All that said, this park is definitely well used. If you have a chance to visit it during an evening, I highly recommend doing so. There are so many people who use it. A good variety of ages and backgrounds. Really feels like Toronto.

Glad to hear it! Though we can and should do better for those people who are enjoying that green space.
 

Northern Light

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Thanks for the review!

You're welcome!

Our kid liked the playground, and met a few new friends. And loved the fact that there was actually a working water fountain.

Little kids, as with adults, can be surprisingly easy to please sometimes; and a real challenge at other times.

That a working water fountain is a source of joy, however, may be less a comment on your son, than on PF&R's lack of ability to keep water fountains working.

We let him pee next to a tree, because there was no way we would walk all the way to the community centre (which you can't necessarily see if it's open from the playground). We got ice cream next door, which was fun.

Washrooms matter; they aren't a frill; you can't justify them in every park, but its ridiculous that there isn't a set in this park.
 

evandyk

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That a working water fountain is a source of joy, however, may be less a comment on your son, than on PF&R's lack of ability to keep water fountains working.

Washrooms matter; they aren't a frill; you can't justify them in every park, but its ridiculous that there isn't a set in this park.
It was a bit funny to us, because we have decades of experience with water fountains, but at three years old, he has literally never seen a working one.

And I'm not going to be critical if a park has a working bathroom and you have a kid who has to pee *right now*, it happens, but bathrooms in Toronto parks are a joke among all parents with toddlers.
 

Northern Light

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It was a bit funny to us, because we have decades of experience with water fountains, but at three years old, he has literally never seen a working one.

And I'm not going to be critical if a park has a working bathroom and you have a kid who has to pee *right now*, it happens, but bathrooms in Toronto parks are a joke among all parents with toddlers.

And a bad joke among seniors, those w/disabilities, or illnesses/injuries that demand timely access to facilities.
 

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