5 Toronto parkettes worth visiting
The City of Toronto defines a parkette as a park less than 0.5 hectares in size. Unlike neighbourhood parks, parkettes are designed for a more passive and aesthetic enjoyment of green space. While Toronto's parkettes aren't an ideal place to go for a long stroll or to throw the ball around they do provide some intermittent (and necessary) relief from concrete.
Toronto's parkettes are occasionally but infrequently built as a conscious effort by the city, but more often result from infrastructural grey areas, a little sod and a few trees filling in the gaps between buildings. Here are a few relaxing, well-placed or just plain noteworthy ones.
Dundonald Street Parkette
Dundonald serves as a great alternate north-south route to avoid the traffic around Church and Yonge. A paved path goes through the park, connecting Charles St. to Dundonald St., while lots of benches provide places to regroup, enjoy a lunch break, or people-watch.
Amenities: On-leash dog area and playground.
Where: Dundonald Street to Charles between Yonge and Church
Getting There: Steps from Wellesley Station
Neighbourhood: Church-Wellesley Village
Albert Crosland Parkette
This parkette was built in the late 1970s on the grounds of an abandoned warehouse. The land is bordered by stone and iron gates and the fences of neighbouring residential areas have been painted with a variety of colourful murals. The L-shaped parkette, also known as the Fuller Street Park(ette), had neighbours up in arms over a swing set that was to be built in 2008. When city workers began removing sod from the plot to install the equipment, protesting neighbours blocked their progress, believing the swings would take away green space and encourage crime.
Amenities: Basketball court, wading pool and playground.
Where: 14 Fuller Ave.
Getting There: 501 Queen W. Street Car / 301 Queen St. W bus stop at Jameson Ave.
Phin Avenue Parkette
The Phin Avenue Parkette is located in the Pocket along the Danforth, backing onto the Greenwood Subway Yard. It's known for hosting Phin Park film nights and is a short walk from cafés and plenty of Greek restaurants.
Amenities: Playground, wading pool, running track, soccer field and basketball court (not bad for an -ette).
Where: 115 Condor Ave
Getting there: Donlands Station
Neighbourhood: The Danforth
Sgt. Ryan Russell Parkette
Formerly known as the Dupont Parkette, this space was renamed after Sergeant Ryan Russell who died in the line of duty January 12th, 2011. As some will remember, Russell's life was lost while he was responding to an emergency call to apprehend a stolen snow plow that struck the officer in pursuit. Russell was killed just blocks from where the parkette sits north of Dupont on Avenue Road.
Amenities: Walk-through trail, large trees casting shade, benches.
Where: 250 Avenue Rd
Getting There: From Dupont Station, 26 Dupont bus to Avenue Rd.
Joel Weeks Parkette
The newly re-designed Joel Weeks Parkette opened on August 3rd. The park's facelift took five years to complete, leaving area residents without a local park during that time. The new and improved parkette is designed to honour the Don River through what's described by its designers as an "urban river" theme. The park is named after Joel Weeks, an eight-year-old boy who fell into an open sewer and drowned while playing with friends on Easter weekend in 1982. The city is planning to hold a community consultation process to officially name or rename the park.
Amenities: Playground, water fountains, benches, 67 new trees, performance space and a community garden.
Where: 5 Matilda St
Getting there: Queen Street East Subway to Carroll Street
Writing by Matt Stephen. Lead photo by Loco_Ono in the blogTO Flickr pool