Monday, November 29, 2010

Toronto's Very Own Muscle Beach

OK, so not really.

A few weeks ago I walked by Sally Bird Park near the corner of Brunswick and Harbord and noticed something strange inside. Not a bench. Not a fountain. But what appeared to be a bench press and one of those strange running-glider-workout-things. Curious, I investigated further.

During the summer I saw signs up in the park that notified residents that reconstruction and improvements were coming as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan. The money to redo the park is part of the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program (RInC), with money coming from the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

Apparently, during consultation the public requested, among some safety improvements, that children's playground equipment be replaced with "adult oriented exercise equipment". There was also a request for a "water feature" to draw children to the park, which seems a bit contradictory. Perhaps the water feature is the sweat running off their parents face as they run/glide in place while their children sit and stare at the grass.

Anyway, if you're looking for a place to get in a good work out and then feed some pigeons, look no further than Sally Bird Park.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Picturesque Percy Park Pleasantly Pleases

A few weeks ago I and a few of my school chums were wandering around the area near the future West Don Lands project and stumbled across what appeared to be a park squeezed between an overpass and a bunch of very old buildings. What we had found was Percy Park, which is not even listed as an official park by the City of Toronto (it still shows up as a playground, even though its play equipment is now gone). It was redone in 2006 by Green Force, a show on HGTV about revamping urban spaces.

Here's a before-and-after shot. The 'before' photo is taken from an online community newsletter called The Bulletin and the credit goes to Cindy Wilkey. The 'after' photo is my own.



And just to give you all a sense of how close this park is to the overpass.

This is the little street that terminates in the new Percy Park.

There is some new development near the King St mouth of the street, which attempts to pay homage to the old style Victorian houses, but doesn't quite end up doing it right. There is also now a very ugly concrete mouth of a parking garage entrance at the end of the street.

Go check it out. It's a great example of what could have been a stifled, depressing public space being turned into something really cool. Its location is exactly in the centre of the map above, at the end of Percy street and abutting the Richmond Street overpass.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Photo: Before & After

This advertisement can be found on Bloor St West near Walmer. Apparently if you want to lose all that Photoshop weight you packed on this winter, you can go here.