At the Toronto Pedestrian Committee meeting yesterday, we learned about the new version of the Toronto Parks and Trails map, which has just been released. The latest version is new and improved after consultations with members of the public who know the city’s trails, and also with accessibility advisors.
The colours used follow CNIB standards, and the finish is non-glare to make it easier to read in the sunlight. These features may be aimed at the visually impaired, but they also make the map easier to read for everyone. Another interesting feature is the list of street addresses of parks (we wrote an article about these in Spacing a while ago), which makes it easier for people who depend on Wheel-Trans to use the system to go to a park.
Other useful new features include identifying public washrooms — four separate categories (all-year/seasonal, and accessible or not), and also closest TTC stops. And there is a convenient phone-numbers diagram for various activities or problems members of the public might want to call someone about relating to parks.
It’s also just way more detailed than the old map, and so it should be much easier to use. One interesting result is that it reveals just how many gaps there are, large and small, in what should be the network of walking trails in the city. Some are caused by golf courses. There are certainly opportunities for the City to improve these networks.
They’ve printed 100,000 copies, and the map is available at civic centres and at City Hall. If that’s not convenient, you can get one mailed to you by calling 416-392-1111 (option 5 — you have to leave a message). You can also get the map online as a PDF.
The city will have a launch of the new map on the morning of Sunday May 3 at a “Walking Info Fair” (PDF) at Todmorden Mills, in conjunction with the Paddle the Don event.
Another interesting walking map initiative is the “Let’s Walk” pamphlets put out by public health, which provide specific park walking route suggestions in various parts of Toronto. These were put together with a grant from the Ontario government’s Health Promotion ministry. They are a bit old now, and they were sufficiently popular that the City has almost run out of them (and it’s not clear if the money will be available to update them). The maps are available online in PDF format, though.
Finally, a new non-governmental project called “Thirsty City” has just launched. It is putting together guided tour maps of walks “exploring the secret life of water in Toronto”, including descriptions of various points of watery interest. The first is called “Suburbs, Springs, Sewers & Sprawl“, and we are promised that more will follow.