This month, Deer Park locals will meet with Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) staff to discuss dedicating two acres of the Davisville Subway Yard land, near the corner of Yonge and Davisville, to its neighbour — Oriole Park.
“I’ve been pleased to see the TTC hasn’t given initial objections,” said Coun. Josh Matlow. “They’ve been open to having this conversation.”
The TTC currently uses the Yonge Street and Chaplin Crescent site as a headquarters and to store subways cars. However, according to a study conducted in 2009, Davisville Subway Yard is not designed to store the new Rocket trains, which are replacing the current subway cars. There has also been discussions about moving TTC headquarters.
Currently the city is putting together the Davisville Yard Planning Study, in an attempt to draw up guidelines that will “shape potential development in the future.” According to the city’s Official Plan the yard is zoned ‘mixed-use’, meaning both commercial and residential developments are possible.
Ulli Rath from Friends of Oriole Park (FOP) said it makes sense to transfer a portion of the yard to the park, even if the yard is eventually sold to a developer. He said the park is always crowded and will be busier with the opening of a disability-friendly play structure this summer.
At 5.17 acres, Oriole Park is one of the city’s smallest community parks and the only one in the Deer Park area. “This is something that has support from the community,” said Rath.
FOP originally outlined their proposal at a TTC meeting back on Dec. 15. At a Feb. 2 meeting, TTC chair Karen Stintz said that the community group will meet with TTC staff. Matlow confirmed it would be in April, although the official date was not set at press time.
Matlow said there are several ways the added space could be used, including the creation of a vegetable garden in the park, a popular choice with Brentwood Towers residents. According to Rath, the extra land could be used for activities such as Tai Chi, and as a space for outdoor bake ovens. Matlow said, if the TTC ultimately agrees to partition land, the next step would be to work with the city’s parks and recreation department to plan and design the park expansion.