The ‘urban oasis’ amid the towers

Mayor Tory at College Park
BIG CHANGE: Mayor John Tory recalls witnessing the decline of the old park before its revitalization.

Toronto mayor John Tory remembers the old College Park.

He used to work near the space at Yonge and College streets and witnessed the park’s decline firsthand, he told about 150 people who attended the reopening of College Park on July 10 after years of construction.

Which is why he was so excited to see what has been created there, he said.

“A revitalized College Park will provide a new and fresh gathering space in the centre of this neighbourhood,” he said in a followup tweet.

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Also speaking at the event and praising the new park were University-Rosedale councillor Mike Layton and Toronto Centre councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.

Stilt performer at College Park.
SWISH: Kids were entertained by stilt performers at the park’s reopening.

A city press release called it an “urban oasis in the downtown core.”

And it is quite a relief from the surrounding city — with its trails, greenery, fountains, sculptures and sitting areas overlooked by gleaming highrises, several of which are condos housing some of the park’s expected users, as well offices for workers who may appreciate the new park for their breaks.

“College Park is a green oasis not just for the large and growing residential neighbourhood in Downtown Yonge, but also the thousands of employees, visitors and students looking for a respite from the daily hustle and bustle of city life,” said Mark Garner, COO of the Downtown Yonge BIA. “Revitalizing the park encourages new uses and brings new activities into the park, to the enjoyment of all community partners as well as Torontonians at large.”

One five-metre-wide trail, named for Canadian figure skater Barbara Ann Scott, is designed to as a walking loop in summer and a skating rink in winter.

Sculptures at College Partk
OASIS FOR TOADS TOO: A couple of amphibian sculptures relax beside a fountain.