Grange Park (Toronto)
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Grange Park just before sunset
Location of the park in Toronto
|Location||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Operated by||City of Toronto|
Grange Park is a prominent and well-used public park in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located south of the Art Gallery of Ontario, beside the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU), and north of University Settlement House, at the north end of John Street. The Park lends its name to the Grange Park neighbourhood in the vicinity of the park.
Grange Park features a wading pool, children's playground, and numerous trees and walkways. Historically, it was the backyard of "The Grange" that eventually was expanded and became the Art Gallery of Ontario.
The wading pool was originally open 10am to 5:30pm, but, due to records of bather load, it was determined that there was very little usage in the morning, and more in the evening, so the hours of operation were changed and are now 12pm to 7:30pm. These hours are shortened towards the end of the summer and closed in the winter. Because of the slow drain, the drain is usually opened a couple of hours prior to closing, so the water levels are lower toward the end of the time that the pool is open for.
The wading pool features sloped beach style zero-depth entry along some directions, as well as wide curved cement steps along other areas. Recently the large curved cement steps have been dotted with metal spikes and blocks to discourage use by skateboarders. Unfortunately, these spikes/blocks create a trip hazard to users of the wading pool.
During the winter, Grange residents usually operate a natural ice rink.
Land title and management
Grange Park is officially owned by the Art Gallery of Ontario, but is run by Toronto Parks and Recreation. The late Harriet Boulton, also known as Mrs. Goldwin Smith, provided in will that the Grange and annexed lands which was her home would be gifted to the Art Museum of Toronto. The land to the south of the Grange were to be made available for use as a park in perpetuity. Title to the Grange and the Park are vested in the Art Gallery of Ontario, which evolved from the Art Museum of Toronto. An agreement between the City of Toronto and the Art Museum of Toronto was made on January 20, 1911 regarding Grange Park.
Current issues and debates
One of the current issues and debates is whether to open up the fence between Grange Park and the adjoining Butterfield Park (the park under the OCAD "floating building") into one large contiguous park. This would improve access to Grange Park by OCAD students, but would also increase traffic through the children's playground area.
As a result of this issue, the desire to have a basketball court in or adjacent to Grange Park, Grange residents conducted a series of discussions with officials of the Art Gallery of Ontario and Councilor Adam Vaughan. These discussions resulted in a proposal to establish the Grange Park Advisory Committee (GPAC), a proposal which was discussed at a bi-lingual community meeting held on May 21, 2008. The proposal was approved by the Board of Trustees of the Art Gallery of Ontario. GPAC's co-chairs are Councilor Adam Vaughan and Rupert Duchesne a trustee of the AGO.
The goal of GPAC is to create a great city and neighbourhood park, and it will advise on a capital project aimed at the restoration and revitalization of Grange Park and to advise on an oversight structure for the on-going maintenance and program for Grange Park. The current focus of GPAC in October 2008 is to undertake an examination of the ecological health of the park.
Groups and societies affiliated with Grange Park
- Grange Park Working Group (headed up by the City of Toronto)
- Grange Park Preservation Group (GPPG)
- Grange Park Advisory Committee (GPAC), established in 2008 through a consultative process between the Art Gallery of Ontario and residents of the Grange neighbourhood.
- Grange Community Association (GCA), established in 2008