Toronto

New green space is squeezing its way into the King-Spadina area

City council has unanimously approved a motion put forward by Coun. Joe Cressy to transform a public parking lot at Spadina Avenue and Adelaide Street into a new public park.

City council unanimously approved motion put forward by Coun. Joe Cressy to transform public parking lot

A city-owned public parking lot at Spadina Avenue and Adelaide Street will be transformed into a small public park in the next few years. (Andy Hincenbergs/CBC)

A new green space is coming to Toronto's King-Spadina neighbourhood, after a vote by city council.

Councillors approved a motion last week by Coun. Joe Cressy, who represents Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina, asking for funding to transform a public parking lot at Spadina Avenue and Adelaide Street into a new park.

"Downtown Toronto is the most parks-deficient area in the entire city today," Cressy said. "If you're going to raise a family in a high-rise, the park becomes your backyard."

"It's critical we create those new green spaces."

The city-owned lot at 105 Spadina Ave., which is 1,3658 square metres in size (or about one-third of an acre), will be transformed in the coming years.

Cressy's dream, which was two years in the making, was to have a new, small space for dogs and kids in the downtown core. His motion put forward Friday asked the city to look into ways of building a green space faster.

The conversion will be financed by $10 million the city is getting from a developer in exchange for more height and density in one of the company's nearby projects. 

In exchange, the developer will use some of that money to replace those parking spots in a new condo development.

Dave Harvey, executive director of Park People, a group that advocates for green public spaces, says public parks in the city are essential to create a sense of community. (Andy Hincenbergs/CBC)
   

"Is it a true win-win where the city gets a new park, the public parking space are replaced in a condo development and frankly, for the next 50 years, everybody wins," he said.

Cressy said with the population of downtown Toronto expected to double from 250,000 to half a million in the next 25 years, it's essential to seize opportunities for new parkland.  

Greenery important for mental and physical health, says Park People

Dave Harvey, executive director of the greenery advocacy group Park People, says studies show green spaces are becoming more important for mental and physical health as Toronto's population continues to increase. 

"It's just exploding in terms of people living there and working there and green spaces just haven't kept up," Harvey said. "We need to look at every mechanism possible to find new green space." 

With the area's growing population, Harvey said people want to live and work in a spot where they can breathe and enjoy a sense of community. 

He said this new space will help the area remain livable as it becomes more crowded. 

"It's going from parking to park," Harvey said. "Just for a place to go at lunch time, to get a little space." 

With files from Natalie Nanowski