THANK YOU! Town Square opens to blue skies and dancing

Photo of adults, kids, taking over new Town Square space under blue skies with future community centre in the background

Residents flock into the new Town Square after the official opening. Photo courtesy Erin Hatfield

Phase 1 of the new Sorauren Park Town Square — Toronto’s newest magical public space — opened July 7 to rave reviews and under blue skies despite the day’s rain.

While the Farmers Market bustled and soccer players hustled on the park’s sports field, the Square was officially opened by Parks staff removing fencing, on cue from Councillor Gord Perks, who gave welcoming remarks.

Prior to the opening, Company Blonde Dance Projects performed an initiation dance on the Square. Chander Chaddah, a board member from the Wabash Building Society, thanked Square supporters and gave a brief history. The Wabash Building Society is the non-profit community group that initiated and shepherded the project in collaboration with Parks, Forestry and Recreation and funding groups.

After the fence opened, everyone was invited to join a Zumba dance on the Square. Meanwhile, the new all-volunteer Adopt-A-Tree crew, led by coordinator May Haslam, furiously attended to the 40+ new trees and hedges with plenty of water.

Visit the Parkdale Villager website for story and photo.

Photo of gravelly field in front of the old linseed factory on Wabash Avenue beside Sorauren Park

BEFORE: the derelict and off-limits industrial land prior to the new Town Square and green spaces

SPECIAL THANK YOU to these supporters:

Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation: Alex Mut, Peter Didiano, Peter White, Lennox Morgan, Trena Cesario, Rob Richardson and many other PFR staff

Live Green Toronto: Jeff McCormick and staff

TD Friends of the Environment: Carolyn Scotchmer and staff

Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation: Jayne Fry and board

Sound system: Natalie Waddell and Jorge Miguel

Company Blonde Dance Projects

Diane, the awesome Zumba instructor

The Planning Partnership: Town Square designers

Sorauren Farmers’ Market

Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents’ Association, which started the Sorauren Park initiatives many, many years ago

The many Phase 1 donors listed on the website and now on the Phase 1 donor banner posted in the park on the east-side fence

Phase 2 fundraising is now under way to furnish the Square with benches, a bake oven, an iconic trellis from which to hang movie screens, donor walls and art, and more. Learn about the Buy a Bench program (limited benches available), how to get a tax receipt, and how to join the donor wall.

See you at the Town Square!

Town Square Phase 1 opening July 7 – you’re invited!

New Town Square nearing completion. Full site will include new lawn and 50 new trees

New Town Square nearing completion. Full site will include new lawn and 50 new trees

Mark your calendars: the community celebration to mark the opening of the new Sorauren Park Town Square, Phase 1, takes place Monday, July 7 at 6 p.m. (NOTE: This is a new date, postponed from earlier posts due to construction delays.)

To usher in Toronto’s newest public space, the Town Square campaign’s “take down the fence” theme will be enacted with a ceremonial de-fencing. Please join your neighbours as we collectively “take down the fence” using a long rope we’ll all grab onto. One, two, three… pull!

This phase of the Town Square is possible because of the awesome support and donations from the community. Every dollar counted, and leveraged funding from other sources including a major contribution from Live Green Toronto, support from TD Friends of the Environment, large donations from Howard Public School and The Little Paper’s Little Festival, crucial support from Councillor Gord Perks, and many other donations.

Special shout-out to Chander Chaddah, who has supported the Sorauren Pumpkin Sale for many years and made major donations to the Town Square campaign to mark his 25 years in business in the neighbourhood.

Of course, none of it would be possible without Parks, Forestry and Recreation, which not only provided base funding, but also enthusiastically supported the community campaign and believed in the project. Credit also to the designers, The Planning Partnership.

The opening event will feature music and dance on the Square. The Farmers Market will also be running on its usual Monday schedule at the park, and soccer will be in full swing. Expect a fun, busy time!

The end of Phase 1 marks the start of the Phase 2 fundraising campaign to finish the square with park furniture, a bake oven, and a major architectural feature: the trellis that will connect the Fieldhouse to the future community centre (old linseed factory). The trellis will serve as an iconic gateway to the park and provide practical functions such as mounting for an outdoor movie screen, the future donor wall, lighting, shade and cool things we haven’t even imagined yet.

Please come on July 7.

Town Square Phase 1 construction ramps up

Heavy equipment grading the exposed ground at the town square site
Grading for the new Town Square. View looking south to Wabash Avenue
The Town Square site used to be the location of flaxseed elevators that feed stock to the mill (in the background). The flaxseed came by rail up a spur along Wabash Avenue

With the sort-of better weather, construction on the new Sorauren Park Town Square has swung into high gear. Heavy equipment is grading the site in preparation for landscaping this spring.

Phase 1 of the Town Square is scheduled to open this summer… stay tuned for opening event news. Construction has started thanks to generous donors from the community, grants from Live Green Toronto and TD Friends of the Environment, support from Councillor Gord Perks, and financial and project management from Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

The Town Square is located on Wabash Avenue between the Sorauren Fieldhouse and the old linseed mill building (and future community centre). Phase 1 includes:

  • grading the site
  • installation of mostly permeable pavers for the square
  • shade and ornamental tree plantings… approximately 50 new trees
  • roughed-in electrical service for events and lighting in the Square
  • a new sidewalk on the north side of Wabash Avenue
  • additional bike locking rings

Once this phase is completed, the site will become part of the park.

But, with your support, there’s more to come in Phase 2:

  • a signature trellis feature connecting the Fieldhouse to the linseed factory, serving as a gateway into the park and providing practical features such as mounting for a movie screen
  • new park benches
  • park lighting
  • garden features
  • a bake oven

Phase 2 fundraising has begun, but more is needed! You can donate any time, but watch for a formal kick-off of the Phase 2 campaign coming soon.

None of this would happen without the ongoing support and generosity of the community.  A big thank-you to everyone who has donated to the Phase 1 campaign. A special thank-you to Chander Chaddah, who made a sizable donation to mark his 25th anniversary as a real estate agent in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood. Everyone who donated $100 or more is listed on the virtual donor wall (eventually to become a permanent donor wall). Your donations make a difference!

Sorauren Town Square construction signs
Town Square coming soon… new construction signs erected by City

Phase 1 Town Square construction ready to start

Thanks to extraordinary community generosity, a Live Green Toronto grant, and support from Councillor Gord Perks, Phase 1 of the Sorauren Park Town Square is set to become a reality later this year.

The Phase 1 community fundraising campaign far exceeded its initial goal of $40,000, raising to date almost $62,000 and counting. Councillor Perks was able to secure additional funding in order to meet the conditions of a $125,000 matching grant from Live Green Toronto, providing $250,000 in funding that helps start the project managed by Parks, Forestry and Recreation. Phase 1 construction can begin later this summer.

How far Phase 1 goes is still being determined by the design and construction teams. The Planning Partnership has been hired by the City to prepare final design concepts and drawings. The full build-out of the Square will require a second phase of fundraising.

Town Square concept with Market
Town Square concept with Market

Make your gift go further… all donations doubled before May 1

Double the value of your donation to the Sorauren Park Town Square campaign by giving before May 1! Thanks to a matching grant, Live Green Toronto will match all donations to the Sorauren Park Town Square project before a May 1 deadline.

The new Town Square will bring the derelict space between the Sorauren Fieldhouse and the old linseed oil factory back to life. It will provide more space for an expanded Farmers’ Market, community gardens and trees, benches and picnic tables, and space for performances, concerts and festivals. It will also feature a bake oven and community sinks.

Donations of $100 or more will be recognized immediately on the virtual donor wall and eventually on a permanent donor wall to be erected in the Square. Donations also receive a charitable tax receipt from our fundraising partner, the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation.

Help complete Sorauren Park and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come!