Recreation in Willowdale
The North York Civic Centre located on Beecroft Road, one block west of Yonge Street, is a multi-faceted facility that includes the Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre and the North York Central Library. Adjacent to the civic centre is Mel Lastman Square, a popular public promenade that is equipped with a spacious amphitheatre, intimate wedding pavilions, a garden court, and a reflecting pool which doubles as a skating rink in the wintertime. Next to Mel Lastman Square is the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts which includes the Art Gallery of North York, the George Weston Recital Hall, and the Studio Theatre. The Willowdale Lawn Bowling Club is located across the street from the civic centre at 150 Beecroft Road.
The Mitchell Field Community Centre located at 89 Church Avenue includes an ice arena, an indoor pool, a gymnasium and community meeting rooms. Tennis courts and baseball diamonds can be found at Bayview Village Park off Bayview Avenue and Edithvale Park on Edithvale Drive. Willowdale Park, located off Hollywood Avenue also has tennis courts. In addition, the Willowdale neighbourhood contains many children's parks, equipped with playgrounds, that are conveniently situated throughout the neighbourhood.
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Recreation at Toronto’s Largest Urban Park
When you think of Downsview in North York you might immediately think of Yorkdale Shopping Centre, the Allen Expressway and the former Canadian Forces base (CFB Toronto) that occupies a huge swath of land that extends from WilsonHeights to Keele Street and from Wilson Avenue to Sheppard Avenue West.
Now there is a new neighbourhood landmark: DownsviewPark. Situated on the former CFB Toronto land, DownsviewPark is Canada’s only national urban park. This mammoth park sits on 572 acres of green space conveniently located right in the middle of Toronto, making it accessible for all to enjoy.
Development of DownsviewPark began in 2006; it’s still a work in progress. It will continue to evolve over the next few decades, as the master plan calls for the creation of five new neighbourhoods with mixed use including residential, parkland, commercial, educational and institutional. This is one of the largest redevelopment projects ever initiated in the city of Toronto.
In respect for the land’s former use — the home of De Havilland Aircraft Company and later a Canadian Forces base — this development includes the historical preservation of the former Downsview Hangar, a collection of steel, glass and concrete structures that once stored WWII aircraft. The Hangar is now enjoying a new life as a 45,000 square metre multi-purpose recreational facility that includes indoor fields, beach volleyball courts and ball hockey arena, as well as a pro shop and a restaurant called The Hangar Grill.
Downsview Park also has a Discovery Centre and Film Studios and has been able to attract a number of exciting tenants including: Canadian Air and Space Museum, Defcon Paintball, Downsview Park Arts Alliance, Downsview Park Merchants Market, Grand Prix Kartways, HoopDome, North York Soccer Association, The Rail Skate Park, Toronto Roller Derby League, Toronto School of Circus Arts, Treble Clef Music School and True North Climbing.
In addition to all its permanent facilities DownsviewPark hosts events year-round. A fall fair, a three-on-three street hockey tournament, a spring Earth Day festival, Downsview Park’s Trail of Lights during the Christmas season, and Canada Day at Downsview Park are just a few of these annual events. With all of these great facilities and events DownsviewPark is sure to become one of Toronto’s most popular recreational destinations.
The Downsview Park Hangar a perfect setting for indoor soccer.