Public or Private Park
beside a highway? Who wants to make a tennis clubhouse on the
shoulder of a 4-lane expressway? Who wants to play ball, walk dogs
or have a picnic in the middle of an interchange? Does it sound
ludicrous? Hold on a minute, this is what we would all be doing -
right now - when Cedarvale Park almost disappeared in 1971. The
Spadina Expressway was cancelled and Cedarvale Park remains
In short, the vision and hard work of community members retained
Cedarvale Park as a legacy for all the people for future generations. It
unites and benefits the community by being accessible to everyone.
The Issues At Hand
The community engagement process has failed regarding recent and
future plans for Cedarvale Park. Autocratic decisions and absence of
leadership has lead to the appropriation of public space in Cedarvale
Park. Toronto Parks, and the City seem to have admonished their
duty to protect public space. Community members have called for a
Cedarvale Park plan that suggests long-term vision for the park.
A case in point is with the Leo Baeck private school (AMS site see
below). Leo Baeck has proposed a private playground and related
sports areas with limited access times for the public. Another possible
plan is to create a perimeter road that circles Leo Baeck to facilitate
the vehicular traffic and drop-off of students.
Public parking spots at Phil White Arena have been negotiated for
and obtained by Leo back for their staff.
Adjacent to the Leo Baeck site are new tennis courts replacing the
old structures. The newly reconstructed tennis courts were welcomed
by the neighbourhood and community at large, however there was
much vocal opposition when it was revealed that a ‘Cedarvale
Tennis Club’ with 400 plus members was established without prior
knowledge of any of the neighbourhood residents.
Adjacent to the tennis courts and the Children’s Garden are plans for
a play structure with water play features. Community members have
come forward suggesting that the play structures be designed with
cutting edge innovations. These current designs create more creative
play season round. It also makes the site more accessible for all the
community members young and old. See the designs and thinking at
Stand up for your park! Cedarvale Park.com respectfully asks that
any public space be for the benefit for all the community. We ask that
a long term planning be implemented. Please sign the petition and
forward to other interested community members.
Please write City Councillor Joe Mihevc
email@example.com and personally request community
consultation and development of a vision and long-range plan for
A Short History
It was the legacy of community activists such as urban theorist
Jane Jacobs, who said (paraphrased) “Toronto planners haven’t the
faintest interest in the values of neighborhoods or community”. See
The debate over the Spadina Expressway, and its eventual
cancellation, is regarded as a watershed moment in local politics.
Toronto City Council was changing with the likes of David Crombie,
John Sewell, Allan Sparrow and Colin Vaughan. This new council
viewed the Metro government and its officials with suspicion as
not being accountable to local residents. In the 1950s and 1960s,
Metro and City Councils had pushed through numerous large
projects in transportation, and housing. The impacts on the central
neighbourhoods had been substantial and had led to grassroots
At its time of cancellation in 1971, premier Bill Davis made this
“If we are building a transportation system to serve the automobile,
the Spadina Expressway would be a good place to start. But if we
are building a transportation system to serve people, the Spadina
Expressway is a good place to stop”
The neighbourhood directly south of the Spadina Road (Allen
Expressway) termination was then converted to a maze of one-
way streets that exist within the Vaughan Road, Arlington Avenue,
Oakwood and Eglinton Avenues. The one-way streets are meant to
buffer commuters to avoid a short cut through the neighbourhood.
The result is frustrating for drivers but the neighbourhoods south of
the Allen Expressway termination point were united by the existence
of Cedarvale Park and the community thrived with several schools in
the immediate area.
1971 - 2010
In 1970, Arlington Middle School (AMS) building was erected on 1.2
acres of land that the TDSB (Toronto District School Board) obtained
on the fringe of Cedarvale Park. Toronto City Parks owns the parking
lot and surrounding area of the school. It was positioned in close
proximity to the Phil White Arena.
Grades 7 and 8 students attended AMS since 1971. The students
were old enough to bike, walk and transit to the school. Often many
students walked through quiet Cedarvale Park from the nearby
schools such as J. R. Wilcox, Cedarvale, Rawlinson, Humewood,
West Prep, and F.H. Miller. AMS was located between the Eglinton
West TTC station and Vaughan Road TTC service which allowed
students to independently travel from all corners of the city to attend
this premier Middle School.
AMS has functioned as a community hub for many things such as
City of Toronto by-elections, neighbourhood community meetings and
for summer sports and recreation programs.
In 2009-2010 the TDSB held a series of ARCs (Accommodation
Review Committees) to get community input on which schools
should be closed. The ARCs were well intentioned but flawed in their
decision making process. As a result, the AMS site was to be closed.
The TDSB argued that it only owned the building. The community
was furious that the newest school of the five feeder schools was to
be sold. The only silver lining was that the local city councillor Joe
Mihevc wanted to pursue the building as a Community Centre. Many
doubted that this was possible since the building was poorly designed
for a community centre and would need extensive reconfiguration to
The community was disheartened when a proposed community
centre did not materialize and the building was sold to a private
school. Leo Baeck has a K-8 student population of which many
students of elementary ages and must be driven and bussed to
school. The neighbourhood has concern because of the possibility of
the daily increase in traffic.
Be An Activist For Your Park!
Take action. Please sign the petition and forward to other interested
Please write City Councillor Joe Mihevc and personally request
community consultation and the development of long rang planning of
Joe Mihevc - firstname.lastname@example.orgTennis Courts - Initial proposal to virtually exclude the public. Eventually the proposal was withdrawn.
Why This Is Important
A CALL TO ACTION – SIGN THE CEDARVALE PARK PETITION
A MASTER PLAN IS NEEDED TO COORDINATE ALL THE CHANGES
Many changes are happening to Cedarvale Park quickly and without appropriate and/or any community consultation.
If you care about Cedarvale Park and the future of this unique city resource and want to ensure that any changes reflect the needs and wants of the community sign this petition.
The petition asks Councillor Mihevc to HALT any proposed changes to Cedarvale Park and ear-mark funds for an independent body to prepare a SITE PLAN in collaboration with Parks and Recreation and community stakeholders.
THEREFORE, by signing the petition, you confirm that:
1) Money should be earmarked for an independent body to produce a SITE PLAN for Cedarvale Park in collaboration with Parks and Recreation and community stakeholders; and
2) NO CHANGES are to be made to the Park until that process in completed and consensus-based recommendations are achieved.
COUNCILLOR MIHEVC AND HIS OFFICE ADMIT THAT THERE IS CURRENTLY NO OVERALL VISION FOR THE NUMEROUS CHANGES THAT ARE HAPPENING to CEDARVALE PARK. WE NEED TO ACT NOW! SIGN THE PETITION.
Need more info?
Over the course of the last few months the community has learned in piecemeal fashion that there have been several proposed changes to Cedarvale Park. Some proposals, such as the building of an outdoor ice rink and even outdoor washrooms, are already underway and some are on the cusp of being solidified, such as a Private Tennis Club (which has assembled 400 members before being open to the community at large) which would appropriate and control our brand new publicly funded courts. There are also changes to the public space of Cedarvale Park itself, such as two new play areas for Leo Baeck’s use during the school days, a car drive way through the Park and behind the school and the installation of a water play feature, which are being put into action without any meaningful community consultation.
How did this happen?
A community meeting organized by Councillor Mihevc was held at the end of January 2012 at which time attendees were told of possible upcoming proposed changes. Attendees were asked to sign-up on email lists for projects that interested them (such as whether the Tennis Courts should be private or public, Leo Baeck’s take-over of public park land for its own playground and use of the baseball diamond, and the location of a water feature with a budget of approximately $400,000). Since January 2012, no substantive emails have been sent to those who signed up as interested parties and the community at large has not received A SINGLE COMMUNICATION from Councillor Mihevc or any other interested stakeholder containing any proposals or meaningful information. Indeed, his current newsletter does not mention any of these changes, except for the water feature! As of April 17, 2012, there is no mention of any changes proposed to Cedarvale Park anywhere on Councillor Mihevc’s website. There is no information about what variances or steps are proposed or are already underway. The line of communication from our City Councillor is clearly broken.
The last “community meeting” held in April was scheduled only to be about Leo Baeck’s playground and use of the baseball diamond, but a new and separate proposal was raised for the first time for Leo Baeck to receive a “small sport court”. It is not known what this change means, but there is no doubt that this proposal was not on the agenda. Nonetheless, Councillor Mihevc’s office has advised that because no one raised any objection at the meeting, there will be no further community consultation and the proposal will proceed!
We can argue the merits of such projects and whether they should usurp public resources, but the real issue is how have these projects managed to progress to the point of approval with minimal or no public consultation when many community members have so clearly expressed interest?
What we know
It is undeniable that the community is interested in these issues and has been shut out from any meaningful involvement. It is undeniable that there is NO OVERARCHING VISION for our beloved Cedarvale Park.
What we have is an admitted piecemeal approach and a process that lacks transparency. For this reason, we are asking for community members to let Councillor Mihevc know that we demand:
1. Community consultation
2. A Vision through SITE PLAN
We want a clear outline for the future of Cedarvale Park and we would like ALL CHANGES TO BE HALTED until we are able to provide input and receive clarity on how the decisions for changes are made.
How will we achieve this goal?
We implore you to sign our petition which asks Councillor Joe Mihevc to halt impending proposals for change until we have a clearly outlined holistic vision that incorporates community input and that he align all improvements to that vision.
Time is of the essence. The next community meetings are set out below. Our goal is to acquire as many signatures on the Cedarvale Park Petition as possible and to bring as many community members out to attend so that we can ensure that all changes reflect the broad community’s wants and needs.
Next Community Meetings
Water Play Feature Location
April 25th at 7 p.m. (Arlington Public School).
Private Tennis Club to limit the amount of public access hours to the park
May 1st at 7 p.m. (Arlington Public School)
PLEASE SHARE THIS EMAIL AND PETITION LINK WITH ALL AREA CONTACTS SO THAT WE MAY REACH OUR GOAL.
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