Corktown was identified and submitted by Councillor Wong-Tam and City staff as the top priority in Ward 13 because of the displacement of the OLA that happened in 2018 when Enbridge construction began.

An off-leash area was previously located in the neighbourhood at Corktown Common and was removed by Enbridge when major work was undertaken in the area. Enbridge is funding the replacement of the dog off-leash area.

A dedicated dog off-leash area is needed in the community because:

  • There is a high concentration of dog owners in the neighbourhood, and therefore there is a significant demand from residents for a dog off-leash area.
  • Conflicts occur often between Corktown Common park users and dog owners who unleash their dogs in the Common. By providing a dedicated space for off-leash dogs, these and related conflicts are reduced.

Members of the community have expressed several concerns about the previous Corktown OLA including: the unsuitable location, small size, lack of shade and seating, and the overall design and accessibility.

Over the past year, Councillor Wong-Tam worked with City staff and local community stakeholders to identify a new suitable location. Several locations were considered including various places within Corktown Common, Underpass Park West, Lawren Harris Square, and the South Lawn.

Showing 8 comments

  • Victor Wong
    Victor Wong
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    I believe the East Berm option is the best solution for the following reasons: 1) most economical because it only requires wood posts /wiring similar to existing fencing along service road running along Don River and gardens around the parkside. No other amenities are required or requested. There is no need for expensive amenities like special surface treatment, water fountains, benches, lighting standards, shade (trees, umbrellas), pipes, drainage, etc., compared to Underpass West OLA option (UPW) estimated to costs $500,000++ 2) low hanging fruit and low tech solution which can be implemented very quickly with signs and perhaps other minor changes compared to UPW which will be built in two phases over 3 years starting 2023 at the earliest and completed 2026 (TBD); 3) I completely understand TRCA’s mandate to protect the structural integrity of the Flood Plain Landform (FPL) by not allowing any structure to penetrate the berm. However, as mentioned, there already exists shallow wood posts/wiring along the service road and park gardens. Presumably the existing posts do not comprise the FPL therefore some new posts should not affect the FPL either. As per point 1, no amenities are necessary or requested that will breach the surface of the berm; 4) With all due respect, the City’s requirement for a fenced OLA is a bit of a red herring. A fence makes sense for safety and security reasons if an OLA is surrounded by public streets because of traffic, TTC vehicles, sidewalks, parking, traffic lights, etc. However this quiet location is bordered by a gated service road and a high ridge separating the meadow side from the parkside which is clearly delineated by a cement walking path from Bayview Avenue to the elevated playground area. You never seen families/kids playing, have picnics, sunbathing, reading on the meadowside so there is no need to separate the dog owners from other park users with a fence because there already exists a natural barrier between them. A good example/precedent of a naturalized OLA without a fence is Cherry Beach Park where natural wildlife, indigenous vegetation and dog users use the park harmoniously; 5) The OLA City Report requires the City to take into consideration the unique characteristics, size and topography of each park when considering new OLAs. I would submit a fence per say is not required taking everything into consideration. As a fall back, you could install fencing/wiring on the east side of the ridge walking path similar to fencing already installed around the park gardens; 5) formalizing the East Berm as an OLA avoids having to reduce other valuable park space to build an OLA somewhere else which will likely create issues with other park users.
    The late Jane Jacobs, renowned urban planner and city builder believed the best/vibrant neighborhoods grow organically from the “ground up” and not from the “top down”. A great example is Kensington Market where local residents decided where is the best place to live, work and play. My wife, dog and I have lived in West Don Lands for over 5 years. We use the park multiple times every day. It is a fantastic park addressing many multiple uses. In most cases, local residents know what’s best for their neighbourhood. Based on our discussions and experience, I respectfully submit the large majority of the dog and non-dog owner have implicitly chosen East Berm as their preferred OLA location. The governing authorities (City, TRCA, WT) should listen to the residents and make this happen. Thank you for your consideration.

  • ML
    Michael Laudij
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    The rationale being used by the TRCA is INVALID considering the level of development already underway throughout the Portlands (which are also within the flood plain). Is the intention to leave the storage lot at Lakeshore and Cherry OR the former recycling site at Cherry and Commissioners completely vacant until some future point when these lands are no longer at risk? Or will preparatory development proceed regardless? Area residents, YOUR CONSTITUENTS, do not necessarily require the lands east of the berm to be developed for specialized use, only fenced off.

  • ML
    Michael Laudij
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    No one wants a dog park at Lawren Harris Sq, as it was originally (poorly) designed as a place for ALL residents to enjoy… as it is bordered by three condos, it should never have been concerned as a dog run/piss pad for pets that will be barking and playing from sun-up until after sun-down.

    No one CARES that the east side of the berm is located on a flood plain, that hasn’t deterred pet owners from using the area for years already… because I can guarantee, an OLA at Lawren Harris Sq or not, pet owners will continue to run their dogs on the east side of the berm… this bureaucratic nonsense with the TRCA is infuriating… YOU NEED TO START LISTENING TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS, and GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY ACTUALLY WANT.

  • SO
    Sol Omon
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    Dear Mayor Tory and the Toronto Conservation Authority

    I am reaching out once again to the Mayors office and and reaching out the Toronto Conservation Authority with respect to the Harris Square which a few dog lovers are wishing to convert it into an off leash dog park with the blessing of Councillor Wong-Tam

    Please research into the Harris Square as to why it was designed by a builder and the blessings of the city of Toronto in the first place.

    Think of an intimate, elegant public square in Paris, London or Rome. That is the idea behind Lawren Harris Square, a quiet, understated public space right in front of the final phase of River City Phase 4. Also designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh, Lauren Harris Square is composed of crushed granite and twenty four multi-stem locust trees, a simple composition as a counterpoint to the exuberance of River City.

    Let’s save this for what it was designed for. Please vote on the city survey and say NO – Please get involved and stop this madness.

    CORKTOWN COMMON

    Corktown Common is the epicentre of the West Don Lands neighbourhood. Designed by internationally renowned New York-based landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, it is a perfect example of park design done right. This beautiful 18 acre park is the largest green space in the area, and a wonderful new amenity for neighbourhood residents as well as people from across the city. Designed to integrate with the contours of the Flood Protection Landform underneath it, Corktown Common is a sprawling park that has been purpose-built to serve the city. It has multiple playgrounds, a splash pad, pavilion with barbecues and a fireplace, an athletic field and plenty of open spaces. You can also take advantage of the meandering trails, bike and walking paths, boardwalk and off-leash dog park. If the existing off-leash inside the park is not working then the city can find a creative way to find a spot in the 18 acres to solve this issue which a subset group is asking for. BUT please do not mess the Harris square – PLEASE SAY NO.

  • AK
    Ashish Kulkarni
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    Lawren Harris Square is a bad idea for a few reasons:
    - the target population are people in Corktown who aren’t close enough to the Power St OLA. That is, people along Mill St, Distillery Lane, Cherry St, Rolling Mills Rd, Tannery Rd. The square is not a central location given the number of condos going up on Mill, Cherry streets. Within a year the median location will be Cherry St at Mill St. Lawren Harris Square is not a central location, so fewer people will have convenient access to it.
    - proximity to 3 condos. I’m all for an OLA, but like hell would I (even being the owner of 2 dogs) want it to be right outside my window. The noise would be unbearable for those residents, and even worse for those who don’t own dogs (and remember the Golden rule of winning votes councillor… Don’t mess with voter’s property values haha)
    - it’s NOT BIG ENOUGH! The Power St OLA is about twice as big as the square, and even it seems really crowded with just 12-15 dogs running around. Corktown has way more volume that the square can sustain.

    There are more reasons, but I’ll stop there for now. Alternative locations:
    - how about the green space North West corner of Mill and Bayview? Didn’t seem like it’s being used for anything, and it sure as hell is too small for a condo to go up.
    1-25 Overend St
    https://maps.app.goo.gl/V9i8WZRvKXBypVXe8
    - South Lawn of Corktown Commons: Newsflash… It isn’t the only hill in Corktown Commons, and the other permitted events can be done at Lawren Harris or one of the other lawns of the Commons. It’s really not that hard.
    - East Lawns of the Commons area (i.e. areas on the east-facing slope of the Commons). They aren’t actively maintained, so they see very little use anyways, and usually by dog owners who let pets run free there. There’s a lot more room, very little current traffic, no real current use, not outside anyone’s windows, and it’s also closer for Mill and Distillery residents. Seems to fit all required criteria.

  • AS
    Alex Strelchenko
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    Please consider a different location. The proposed location is not suitable for off-leash area given its very close proximity to 3 condo buildings

  • TM
    Trevor Mcleod
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    Why can’t the off-leash area be re-installed exactly where it was prior to the Enbridge work being done? https://goo.gl/maps/evrvkrMs1q3oR4ur8

  • VA
    Vanessa Abram
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    Please consider a different location that is not the front yard to three large multi residential buildings. Lawren Harris Square currently behaves as a completely public square. Dedicating this open space to a special interest group will be a detriment to the accessibility and the sense of community in the neighbourhood.