TORONTO – The large amount of green space in Toronto is one of the most evident aspects of the city for travellers flying over the city and it’s that green space that has led to some people describing the city as a “city within a park.”
Approximately 8,000 hectares – 12.7 per cent of the city’s land base – of the city’s greenspace is considered maintained parkland.
The space can play an important part of forming community throughout Toronto’s many neighbourhoods, according to Councillor Sarah Doucette.
“High Park is a destination park. You can get there by subway, by walking, cycling almost anything,” Doucette said. “People want a local neighbourhood piece of grass, open space, hopefully playground equipment.”
Toronto’s largest park at 241.46 hectares is Morningside Park.
An interactive map of Toronto’s parkland.
However not all of Toronto’s greenspace are large destination parks such as Morningside Park or High Park.
Many of the parklands are parkettes such as the Alex Wilson Community Garden – Toronto’s smallest parkette – which is only 0.0214 hectares.
“What I love about some of the smaller parks is people leave their playground equipment there. They leave their toys,” Doucette said. “Everyone overlooks them. You’ve got playground equipment. You can do other interesting things. You can put some flowers in there. You can get the community involved.”
The city currently budgets approximately $392 million for park maintenance.
Anna Hill, a representative of Park People – a group that advocates for green space – echoes Doucette suggesting that small parkettes are an integral part of building community.
“I think Toronto’s parkettes are critical for the neighborhood,” Hill said. “The local parkettes where people go after dinner with their dogs with their kids, it’s really where are you meet the people that you live next to.”
Approximately 66,000 community recreation programs utilize the city’s vast greenspace and Hill notes that the city needs both parkettes and destination parks such as High Park.
“Destination parks are the life of the city and parkettes are the lifeblood of the neighborhood,” Hill said. “You need both.”