Neighbourhood looks to turn unused plot of land near Yonge/Wellesley into park

TORONTO – A downtown community, and a city councillor, are asking for the Ontario government to help them obtain a two-acre plot of unused land to turn into a greenspace in an area otherwise occupied by condos and offices.

The two-acre plot of land, estimated to be worth up to $100 million, is located on Wellesley, between Bay St and Yonge St, and is thought by many who live nearby to be a perfect location for a park.

“People need a place to relax, children need a place to play. I can’t think of a place that needs a park more than the Bay Cloverhill community,” Norman Waite from the Bay Cloverhill Community Association said.

The land was supposed to be developed privately but is now owned by the province. The city councillor for the area, Kristyn Wong-Tam, wants the land turned over to the city.

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“It is very difficult to get the attention of the province. I asked the residents ‘if you want this park as badly as you tell me, then take down the fence, let’s occupy it, get their attention and bring them to the table.’”

While the public has yet to set up tents and occupy the land, it does have a history of being used by the community for carnivals and a skate park.

The plot of land in downtown Toronto, worth upwards of $100 million, could be sold in the near future as the provincial government looks to reap the financial benefits of selling unused, or unnecessary land.

“Our target is to sell $285 million of surplus property before the end of the fiscal year. This property is one of those that cabinet has asked to be sold,” said Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure in Ontario.