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Toronto the green: City parks attracting global attention

Toronto parks tour an opportunity to showcase what's been achieved and to learn, say city staff

Children play in Regent Park. The revitalized neighbourhood will be at the centre of this weekend’s parks tour by members of City Park Alliance.

Torstar News Service file.

Children play in Regent Park. The revitalized neighbourhood will be at the centre of this weekend’s parks tour by members of City Park Alliance.

The greenest of North America’s green are converging on Toronto this weekend for a lesson — or two — in developing urban parks.

More than 30 leaders in park conservancy will tour Toronto in conjunction with City Park Alliance, a Washington D.C.-based organization working to improve urban green space in North America.

City staff say it’s an opportunity for Toronto to showcase how it became “a city within a park,” while also learning from other jurisdictions like New York, Los Angeles and Seattle.

“The goal is to examine how parks play a role in city building and neighbourhood development,” said the city’s parks and recreation spokesman Matthew Cutler.

Toronto has a successful track record of incorporating park life into communities, Cutler said, citing examples like Corktown Commons, an anchor park in the new west Donlands neighbourhood, the revamped Regent Park athletic grounds and High Park.  

“Parks go beyond just being lovely places. They’re tools of social cohesion and city building,” he said.

The tour comes at a time when Toronto is looking to further develop its green space through projects like the Under Gardiner, the Green Line, and the Don River Valley Park.

“Those are some exciting things happening around parks in Toronto,” said Park People founder Dave Harvey. “It’s the right time to be selfish and learn a great deal from these people’s feedback.”

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