Truly sublime urban living requires convenient access to green space. Parks really are the hubs of individual neighbourhoods, where residents congregate, enjoy the outdoors, walk their dogs, unwind in the green space and play with their kids.
These pockets of green space are even more valuable (and fascinating) when they have a story behind them, as does Humewood Park, located at 37 Humewood Dr, near St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street.
Today, when you visit Humewood Park, you’ll be greeted by lovely, leafy green areas, canopies of mature trees, walkways, many benches that are perfect to sit and read or drink your coffee and a children’s playground. Many years ago, this piece of land was actually part of William Hume Blake’s estate (for whom the neighbourhood was named.
In fact, there is a plaque erected in the park to honour William Hume Blake and to tell a little of his history. An Irish immigrant, he settled in the area in 1932. He was the Solicitor General for Canada West in the mid-1800s and was a major figure in shaping law and government for Canada in the years that followed. He was the first professor of law at King’s College and was active in Reform politics throughout his career.
This park has always been very much an important part of the fabric of this community for decades. Story has it that this site was saved from developers years ago (likely during the planned development in the 1960s) and was turned into a much beloved neighbourhood park. Given that generations have passed since this event, it is hard to find people with direct knowledge of it as many of those neighbours have moved away or passed away. Nonetheless, this is a great example of neighbourhood activism that reflects the passion that residents in this neighbourhood have for their community.
Neighbourhood Activism is still very much alive today as neighbours once again advocate for ways to improve Humewood Park, located within the Humewood-Cedarville neighbourhood. Local City Councillor, Josh Matlow chaired a Communiuty Meeting on Dec 2nd with a proposal to revitalize the children’s playground. The proposed plan aims to expand the footprint of the playground to include climbing sturctures that offer more challenging play for children ages six and older. The existing play structure (which will remain at the park) is most loved by toddler-aged children, up to about age six. There’s no doubt that new, larger play structure will be welcomed by older children.
The commnunity meeting was also attended by City of Toronto construction project managers as well playgound designers who listended to communuty feedback and concerns about the potential for trees being cut down to make way for the playground’s expansion. Josh Matlow swiftly eased neighbourhood concerns about the maintaining the park’s tree canopy and assured the group that healhy trees will not be cut down for any reason.
The key takeway is that Humewood Park is a beloved greenspace with deep history and is a gift to the neighbourhood from past generations who fought for it’s creation. it’s important to consider the park’s many uses to ensure it’s vitality for generations to come.
These playground improvements may start as early as June 2020, but there is still time to submit feedbck toouncilor Josh Matlow by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org