Opening of Downsview National Urban Park in Toronto

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Toronto can now boast of being home to a national urban park. Formerly the site of CFB Toronto, Downsview Park now includes over 350 hectares of publicly accessible green space that includes new bike and walking paths, a stormwater lake and over 50,000 new trees and shrubs. Thousands of townhouses are also on the way, which are part of a land deal negotiated with Urbancorp that helped fund landscaping and park design.

Officially unveiled on Thursday, tonight’s fireworks will mark the first major event for the recently renovated site. Visitors can expect something different from most existing green spaces in Toronto. With the exception of the existing sports facilities at the Hanger, it’s not really a place to play but to enjoy (if that distinction makes sense). While the trails look promising and the newly planted trees will eventually grow tall, in its current state Downsview is really just a well-maintained outdoor space that lacks a lot of facilities.

Over the next decade, however, you can expect more and more action at Downsview. In addition to real estate development, the metro is expected to arrive in 2015, and there is talk of more sports facilities in and around the former de Havilland hangars. It might not seem like much, but with an influx of people, you can bet great things are on the way for this previously underutilized area.

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Photos by Irina Non

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