Expanding Victoria Memorial Square Park

Photo credit: Ken Greenberg

As our downtown communities grow and become more dense with residents, jobs, and visitors, it is increasingly important that we are making the most of our existing parks and public spaces. This is why I introduced a motion last week at Community Council to move forward with expanding Victoria Memorial Square Park and transforming the surplus paved space adjacent to the park. 

Victoria Memorial Square Park is a heavily-used public park near the intersection of Wellington Street West and Bathurst Street, which has at its centre the earliest known cemetery associated with Fort York and the Town of York. At least 400 people were buried there before the cemetery was closed in 1863. In the 2000s, as a new residential neighbourhood grew up around it, the local community and the City of Toronto undertook a major revitalization to rehabilitate the park and celebrate its past. Due to the high volume of activity in the park today, it requires intensive ongoing maintenance by City staff to keep up with wear and tear.

Wellington Street West is a public street that forms the northern limit of Victoria Memorial Square and for most of this boundary, the pavement is unusually wide. The extra pavement does not extend to the Bathurst Street intersection so it is not useful for the movement of vehicles or bicycles; instead, it is presently a common location for illegal parking. Although this surplus paved space will be a small increase to the area of the park, in the local context every square metre is meaningful.

I would like to give a special thanks to the Wellington Place Neighbourhood Association for their leadership on this initiative. Stay tuned for further updates in the coming months.