Toronto plans to cut key attraction in large park due to climate change


The more than 500 acres Centennial Park is one of the gems of a Toronto green space, known for its large size and recreational facilities ranging from a stadium and veranda to a golf course and go-kart track.

It is also one of only two ski and snowboard runs operated by the city in winter, providing a much cheaper and closer option than the resorts further north which also happens to be the perfect size for beginners. can practice their skills before hitting somewhere. more difficult like Blue mountain.

Since it was first opened in the late ’60s, the park is overdue for a makeover, and the city recently released a long-awaited master plan of what exactly that will entail.

Render of a new arboretum area, courtesy of the new City of Toronto office Centennial Park Master Plan.

Things like a new skating rink, playgrounds, skatepark, trails, gathering spaces, public art and more are now on their way to Etobicoke Park, along with better commemoration of the Indigenous history through gardens and design aspects.

But, some just-made changes to the plan now quietly suggest the city is getting rid of key centennial items, including the ski resort.

centennial park

New views of the Centennial Park Pond. Render of the new city of Toronto park master plan.

The “replacement of ski slope activity” is one of the improvements mentioned in the October 2021 master plan updates, which advise the city to review facilities that are “at the end of their life”, the ski resort being cited as an example.

“Although Centennial Park and Earl Bales Snow Centers are the only downhill skiing and snowboarding facilities in the City of Toronto, the infrastructure is at a critical point where a decision must be made regarding the future of the city. Centennial Park Ski and Snowboard Center, “the new iteration of the plan bed.

“The decline in ski and snowboard center use and the deterioration of infrastructure, coupled with the uncertainty of a changing climate, provide an opportunity to overhaul the ski area. “

centennial park

A skating rink will bring new winter activities to the park in the absence of the ski resort. Render of the city of Toronto Centennial Park Master Plan.

According to the document, the site’s main ski lift is no longer functional and the entire hill was closed in 2017 due to faulty snowmaking equipment, the proper functioning of which is essential for such a hill during periods of low. snowfall.

He also notes that, according to recent urban studies, smaller-scale ski trails are becoming less popular and changing winter conditions are certainly a factor.

The idea is to transform the hill and its associated buildings into a more flexible space suitable for various uses throughout the year, something 71 percent of survey respondents said they support, while only 29 percent said they don’t want ski resort to be removed or relocated.

The hill is one of the three priority areas for changes (along with the pond and the heart of the park), with a reimagining that will retain a toboggan area but see the chairlift building and chalet reused as something else .

Renovated trails will make the hilltop lookouts more accessible, while a cultural fitness center, fire pits, and the aforementioned skating rink will live at its base. The hill will also be the site of an amphitheater halfway.

centennial park

A redesign of the belvedere at the top of the hail and the paths that lead to it will give it a refresh and make it more accessible. Render of the new city of Toronto Centennial Park Master Plan.

As noted by the star, contrary to the town’s solicited public response for the plan, many residents are not happy with the idea of ​​getting rid of the ski facilities and merging them with those at Earl Bales Park, a half hour drive from North York road.

For many, the hill was a more accessible way to access the notoriously expensive and intimidating sport.

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