History + Community,  Lifestyle

Parks of the Danforth

Green spaces are a hot commodity in Toronto from the Rail Deck Park project in downtown Toronto to the Meadoway project spanning from East York to Scarborough. As Toronto continues its urban development, it’s important to preserve and create green spaces because they give people a chance to get outside and connect with nature.

If you glance across the Danforth’s skyline, you won’t see high rises or skyscrapers. Instead, walking through the neighbourhood will have you meeting independent businesses, fresh produce, and friendly faces. The Danforth is home to three urban green spaces: Todmorden Mills Park, Withrow Park, and Monarch Park. Each space has something unique to offer the community and they are definitely worth the visit!

Todmorden Mills Park (67 Pottery Rd.)

In 1821, the Helliwell family settled in the area of Todmorden Mills Park and established the brewery and distillery that still exist today. The area was named Todmorden because the natural landscape reminded the family of their home in Lancashire, England. As one of Toronto’s officially designated historical landmarks, this urban green space has had so much to offer the public since it opened in 1967. There is a 9.2 hectare wildflower preserve, a walking trail, a museum, forests, meadows, swamp lands, and a pond. It also has two historic millers’ homes— the Brewery and the Papermill Theatre and Gallery. 

In the hustle and bustle of city life, this urban green space provides peace and relaxation. Not far away from Todmorden Mills Park, there are subway stations, busy city streets, and the always packed Don Valley Parkway (DVP). As a historic space, Todmorden Mills Park gives context into how previous lives were lived in the Danforth, while also serving as both an urban and green space.

Withrow Park (725 Logan Ave.)

At the edge of Withrow Park, an 8 hectare area, there is inarguably one of the best views of Toronto’s skyline from the CN Tower to the tall buildings that cluster the downtown core. This view is even more impressive at night when you can truly see the city lights. Withrow Park is a community hub that contains two baseball fields, two outdoor tennis courts, a volleyball court, a wading pool, an off-leash dog area, an ice rink, and a playground. Seriously, there is something to see and do for everyone!  

While spending time in Withrow Park, it’s easy to see the juxtaposition between the downtown core and the Danforth. These areas are separated by a short distance over the Bloor Street Viaduct, and yet, they each provide something different for someone living in Toronto. In a largely residential area, Withrow Park serves its purpose as an urban green space by providing recreational areas and activities for the community. It’s also a great area to have a picnic in the summer or go sledding in the winter. The beauty of an urban green space is that it works for your needs. From exercising to playing sports to hanging out with friends, Withrow Park is there for you when you need it.

Monarch Park (115 Feldstead Ave.)

Located beside Monarch Park Collegiate and the Monarch Park Stadium, Monarch Park is a 5 hectare area that is home to some of the Danforth’s best facilities for recreation and community gatherings. There is an off-leash dog area, an outdoor pool, a wading pool, an ice rink, and a playground.

Monarch Park serves as a community hub for special events, holidays, and local gatherings. Each event allows Danforth residents to participate in a special experience with other community members. Students can hang out after school or after sports games. Parents can bring their children for a fun afternoon out at the playground. This urban green space allows city dwellers to pause, even if it is just for a brief moment, and relax.

Life is often busy. There’s no denying that. There are so many responsibilities and obligations that can make you feel like the concrete jungle is bogging you down. However, the Danforth centres itself through its urban green spaces and community atmosphere. Urban and green may seem like two opposing elements, but the Danforth manages to bring them together in its community and its residents in a way that is unique to the rest of the city.

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