EDITOR: This continues Shawn Micallef’s posts following the Green Line hydro corridor through midtown Toronto, location of the Green Line Ideas Competition. Check out greenlinetoronto.ca on December 4 to find out how you can participate.
Section 4 Beaver Lightbourn Parkette
At the Beaver Lightbourn Parkette, the cultivated and maintained green section of the corridor begins again, with a cut lawn where neighbourhood dogs are walked — with no children’s amenities present, the dogs, and their owners, seem to gravitate here. Curiously, a portion of the diagonal pathway changes from crushed stone to a wooden boardwalk, complete with wooden rails, as if there was marshland below, yet there’s only more lawn. An equally strange low wooden fence is present that seems to have no purpose other than echoing the direction of the power lines above.
A vestige of the area’s mixed residential and employment use is the Beaver Bread smokestack that still stands to the north, marking where the industrial bakery once stood.
Section 5 – Chandos Park North
Chandos Park begins beyond Lightbourn, along Chandos Avenue. This park contains a paved road hockey rink, taking the hockey off the road and into the park. Toronto is famously a hockey town, yet has many “no ball hockey” signs on its city streets. This rink seems to be one place where another option is provided. On a sunny fall day the collection of branches windblown into piles around the asphalt suggest it isn’t well used, though a City of Toronto Parkland Acquisition Study says this eastern section of Ward 17 has less than one-fifth the green space of the average Toronto neighbourhood. Still, it remains a busy route for pedestrians. An older woman pulling carts with groceries stops and rests on the one of the benches here under the power lines next to a couple of women chatting on an adjacent bench. A park used like any park in the city. A block south the click and clack of the Dupont railway corridor trains come and go, as do younger guys in souped-up four-cylinder cars who race up and down neighbourhood streets with the thump of dance music bass pumping out of their tiny little mini-muscle cars.
Section 6 – Chandos Park South
The south section of Chandos Park, across Chandos Avenue, zigzags between fenced-in private property, on a course by backyard fences, making this section seem like a big back yard as it has none of the standard playground equipment most parks have. Throughout this corridor, some places where the pathway crosses streets there are curb cuts for wheelchairs, bikes and those grocery carts, but at other places, like between the two Chandos parks, there isn’t, so it isn’t a completely accessible route.
The eastern edge of the park is quite loud as it borders Dufferin Street, a major traffic and transit pipe north and south. The relative calm of previous portions of the corridor is gone, replaced with car honking and diesel bus noise. A relatively new semi-circle of large stones provides seating and a view of the Dufferin traffic and the fairly busy foot traffic passing by, especially when area schools let out. Also in view are the first commercial establishments in the corridor along Dufferin.
Section 7 – Dufferin Junction
Across Dufferin it isn’t immediately clear that passage is possible following along the hydro corridor. Previously, the continued open space invited people to carry on but here the east side of Dufferin is lined with chain link fences with barbed wire tops, behind which U-Haul rental vehicles and an open hydro substation are located. The substation has the romantic name of Dufferin Junction (and should this neighbourhood ever need a hip name, there it is). Along either side are industrial buildings and one very strange-looking derelict house that seems frozen in a state of mid-renovation. To somebody new to the area, the narrow, muddy passage between the rental lot and substation is only apparent when other people pass through. And they do, though it’s somewhat uncomfortable, with portions of the fence leaning due to rental vans ramming into it over time. Once through, it isn’t clear if the scrubby grass is public or private, but the well-worn dirty path leads out to an alley and the next Parkette.