People in Toronto wondering why park fountains have been shut down for months
On a hot summer day walking around Toronto, it's lovely to just sit on a bench and take in one of the city's green spaces, especially for those of us who don't have a yard of our own at home and/or have pups to walk.
But for some residents, the parks in their neighbourhoods have left a bit to be desired lately as they undergo "revitalizations," sometimes for years on end.
During this work, some amenities are turned off and parts of the parks rendered inaccessible for entire seasons, causing locals to wonder when the work — which they often can't see any progress being made on — will be complete.
I mean, the plans they have put in place for the park look great, and I'm sure it will all be great when it's done. But I don't know why there couldn't be some water in the meantime as the years go by.— Gary Smith (@citypainter) June 16, 2022
People have taken to social media to point out how some of the amenities at public spaces such as David Crombie Park near St. Lawrence Market and George Hislop Park just south of Yonge and Bloor have been shuttered for multiple consecutive years despite the fact that it appears "zero revitalization work has been done."
"The plans they have put in place for the park look great, and I'm sure it will all be great when it's done. But I don't know why there couldn't be some water in the meantime as the years go by," one resident bemoaned of the former park on Twitter this week.
With it, they attached a photo of what appears to be an anti-climactic fountain, though a fountain nonetheless — one that was once functional, and is now turned off and blocked off with a pylon as the park awaits new finishes.
Here it is, a brutalist celebration of plywood and pylon. Honestly it used to be quite nice when the water is on and people can sit around it. pic.twitter.com/HXZxtChNES— Gary Smith (@citypainter) June 16, 2022
According to the City, ornamental fountains were turned off during the pandemic and only reactivated in 2021, with many then requiring repairs, pipe flushing, cleaning and more.
In the meantime, the city is focusing on activating other amenities like drinking fountains and washrooms before getting decorative fountains up and running, hopefully by the end of the month.
Lockdowns also unfortunately delayed a number of park projects, stalling work that is still slated to be completed eventually — such as the full redesign of George Hislop and revitalization of David Crombie.
Part of the work on the latter space includes fully replacing the mechanical equipment for some water features, which is reaching the end of its functional life.
Meanwhile, water attractions like wading pools remain generally closed city-wide until their official opening for the summer on June 30.
Same with George Hislop parkette near me. They forcibly cleared out the encampment next door to Sanctuary, put up signs saying they're doing "sod and irrigation improvements", it's been closed to local residents for over 2 years now. They lie to us because Council lets them. pic.twitter.com/Qr4SrK8v6E— PatriciaKnits (@PatriciaKnits) June 16, 2022
With the final report for the full redesign of David Crombie Park only submitted in May 2021, actual reconstruction won't commence until 2024.
George Hislop was due to remain closed as part of the city's Yonge Street Linear Park Improvements — which also impacts Norman Jewison Park and Alexander Street Parkette — until summer 2022, though construction timelines now state that work won't be starting until fall 2022, and will only reach completion by fall 2023.
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