Toronto opens new park in Regent Park community

TORONTO, June 21, 2014 /CNW/ - Councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale), City of Toronto staff and community members joined event partners Toronto Community Housing and The Daniels Corporation today to celebrate the opening of the new Regent Park.

"This park and its amenities provide a much desired natural recreational space for the community of Regent Park, allowing all a greater opportunity to enjoy the outdoors," said Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. "The City continues to reaffirm its commitment to increasing natural amenities in Toronto's urban landscape."

"Today's celebration was a delightful reflection of the way this space can be used to bring people together to enjoy art, music, food and recreation," said Councillor McConnell. "With the opening of this park, we also honour the contribution that Regent Park residents have made to the design of their neighbourhood gathering place."

Toronto Community Housing provided the land to the City's Parks, Forestry and Recreation division to develop into park space. The six-acre park is a $6.2 million investment by the City and includes a playground, splash pad, multi-purpose green space, plaza for community events, dog off-leash area, community gardens, greenhouse, bake oven, walkways and lush landscaping.

"This new park is a key part of how revitalization is fostering a vibrant community in Regent Park," said Greg Spearn, Toronto Community Housing's Chief Development Officer and interim President and CEO. "It's a place at the heart of Regent Park where residents, neighbours and people from across the city can come together to be part of a community that thrives."

"Regent Park, with the bake oven, greenhouse and community gardens, will provide a community gathering place where people, ideas and food can be shared and celebrated," said Louise Moody, Executive Director of the Christian Resource Centre, the Chair Organization of the Regent Park Food Partnership. "The Regent Park Food Partnership is delighted by the opportunities to engage local residents in animating the new park."

The new park's amenities and Regent Park Food Partnership, comprised of over 25 community groups and individuals, will create numerous opportunities for people to get involved in planting, growing, harvesting, cooking and sharing food, as well as enjoying farmers' markets, musical and public gatherings, and more.

"Regent Park is quickly becoming one of Toronto's best communities to live, work and play," said Martin Blake, Vice President of The Daniels Corporation, which is Toronto Community Housing's Development Partner in the Regent Park Revitalization. "The new park joins the incredible amenities that already exist in this community including Daniels Spectrum and the Regional Aquatic Centre along with the soon-to-open community centre and athletic grounds. All of these amenities nurture a true sense of community and we expect this fantastic outdoor space to be a favourite for all ages!"

The park opening event, called The Magic City, was sponsored by Toronto Community Housing and The Daniels Corporation and brought to life by choreographer Bill Coleman of Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, with musical direction by John Oswald featuring the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Bramwell Tovey, the Regent Park School of Music and over 400 performers of all ages from the Regent Park community. Community performances were supported by Artscape and Daniels Spectrum.

Regent Park is the ground-breaking example of how Toronto Community Housing's approach to city building can transform a community into a successful, mixed-income, mixed-use neighbourhood, with rental buildings, market condominium buildings, townhomes, commercial space, community facilities, active parks and open space.

The new park spans the block from Dundas Street to the south, Sumach Street to the west, Sackville Street to the east and Oak Street to the north.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

SOURCE City of Toronto

For further information: Media contact: Parks, Forestry and Recreation media line, 416-560-8726, pfrmedialine@toronto.ca, http://www.city.toronto.on.ca