Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division

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The City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division is the division of the Toronto municipal government responsible for city-owned parks, forests, and recreation centres. The division governs over 3 million trees, 1473 named parks, 839 sports field, 140 community centres, and about 670 other recreational facilities including: pools, golf courses, ski centres, greenhouses and ferries.[1][2] Each year, more than 1.2 million Toronto residents participate in over 54,000 recreation and leisure programs offered by the division.[3]



In 1884, an administrative group named the Committee on Public Walks and Gardens, was officially created to oversee the city’s parks and green space. Before then, the city as a whole was responsible for them since the incorporation of Toronto in 1834.[4] In the nineteenth century, the focus of the committee was on the maintenance of green space and the provision of walks and gardens; not much was addressed in terms of recreational activities or recreation facilities. In the early twentieth century, the social conditions of the city changed dramatically, and supervised recreational activities became a subject of interest. The twentieth century also marked the development of playgrounds around the city. In 1912, there were no playgrounds; by 1947 there were 121. Picnic and recreational facilities were also opened up around the city in the parks. In 1945, the department was given the responsibility to oversee the creation and maintenance of community centres. In 1947, the department was renamed as the Department of Parks and Recreation.[4]


Following the city merger in 1998 the former department Metro Toronto Parks and Culture and merged with the counterpart department in each of the former municipalities to former the current department:


In 2005, the Department of Parks and Recreation was split into the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division and the Toronto Economic Development and Culture Division.

The division reported to a deputy city manager and with the new executive committee it will report to two councillors who are heads of city council standing commott:


The City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division’s vision is for Toronto to be known by the world as a “City within a Park”, a tapestry of parks, open spaces, rivers and streets that will connect their neighbourhoods and join them with their clean, vibrant lakefront.[5]


Currently, the Division is organized into six branches: Community Recreation; Parks; Urban Forestry; Management Services; Parks Development and Capital Projects; and Policy & Strategic Planning.[6]


The Division organizes the city into five districts: North, South, East, West and Central Services and Waterfront. The Central Services and Waterfront District is responsible for cross-city issues as well as specific services such as the ferry services. The North, East, South and West Districts are further divided into three physical areas. Each of these subdivisions has a manager in charge of the operation of recreational programming, facilities and parks; a Technical Services and Urban Forestry Section responsible for the delivery of forestry services, facilities and park maintenance, and janitorial support; and an Operations Support Co-ordinator in charge of overseeing the cohesiveness of their subdivision with others as well as the community.[7]

FUN Guide[edit]

The department releases a semi-annual booklet called the FUN Guide, providing information on programs and services available for people of all ages. There is a booklet produced for each city district: Etobicoke York, North York, Scarborough and Toronto & East York. The booklet is organized by topics such as: Adapted/Integrated Services, Preschool, Registration, Arts, Camps, Fitness and Wellness, Jobs, Leadership, Older Adults, Permits, Skating, Ski & Snowboarding, Sports, Swimming, Youth, and Volunteers.[8] Other recreational activities and services provided by the division are: camping facilities, community centres, cycling, discovery walks, golfing, and tennis.[9]


The Parks, Forestry & Recreation Division is responsible for:


Some marinas are owned by the city, some are operated by private clubs:

  • Bluffer's Park Marina - City of Toronto
  • Ashbridge's Bay Marina - City of Toronto
  • Aquatic Park Sailing Club - City of Toronto
  • Centre Island Marina
  • Mugg's Island Marina - private
  • South Island Marina
  • Algonquin Island Marina
  • Ontario Place Marina
  • Humber Bay Park Marina - City of Toronto
  • Colonel Samuel Smith Park Marina - City of Toronto


The division is responsible for the five ferries (four are passenger ferries) that travel to the Toronto Islands.[11]

See also Toronto Island Ferry

Discovery Walks[edit]

A series of self-guided trails in various parks in the city along rivers, ravines and beaches that have cultural and historical significance:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ”Toward a Healthy, Active Future: Toronto Parks & Recreation Strategic Plan” City of Toronto, May 2004. Retrieved on 2009-1-17.
  2. ^ ”Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation Annual Report” City of Toronto, 2007. Retrieved on 2009-1-17.
  3. ^ "The new Toronto FUN Parks and Recreation Guide has arrived" City of Toronto, 2001-8-15. Retrieved on 2009-1-17.
  4. ^ a b “Parks and Recreation Dept. Publications.” City of Toronto, City of Toronto Archives. Retrieved on 2009-1-17.[0]=&ProcessID=6000_1980(0)&KeyValues=KEY_78873
  5. ^ “Parks, Forestry and Recreation” City of Toronto. Retrieved on 2009-1-17.
  6. ^ “City Divisions – Parks, Forestry & Recreation” City of Toronto. Retrieved on 2014-05-29.
  7. ^ ”About Us: Parks and Recreation” City of Toronto. Retrieved on 2009-1-17.
  8. ^ “The FUN Guide” City of Toronto. Retrieved on 2009-1-17.
  9. ^ “Recreation and Facilities” City of Toronto. Retrieved on 2009-1-17.
  10. ^ “City Divisions – Parks, Forestry & Recreation” City of Toronto. Retrieved on 2009-1-17.
  11. ^ Partridge, Larry (March 1976). "Toronto Island Ferry History: The Modern Fleet: 1935 - 1960". Retrieved 2003-03-14. 

External links[edit]