Join Councillor Wong-Tam, City of Toronto staff, and Toronto Region Conservation Authority staff on January 27th from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm to learn more about the status of the Corktown Dog Off-Leash Area.

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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, and Lawren Harris Square.

Lawren Harris Square is the proposed site for the new dog off-leash area because:

  • The square is located close to a large population of dog owners.
  • The square is not heavily used by local residents, with most choosing to spend their time in the neighbouring Corktown Commons.

Locations considered were:

Corktown Common, the east side of the berm:

  • This area is located in a flood plain and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), which regulates land use in the flood plain, will not allow a fenced dog off-leash area.

Corktown Common, the south lawn:

  • Is not suitable because the hill is used by families for tobogganing in the winter and the field is often permitted for entertainment and recreational uses.

Underpass Park West on the west side of St. Lawrence Street:

  • This area of the park hosts a farmers’ market on Thursday afternoons during the spring, summer and fall, and an off-leash facility is not compatible with the market's use of the space.
  • There are transportation maintenance projects planned for the overpass structures in 2024-2026, which would again displace a dog off-leash area soon after construction.

Showing 5 comments

  • SO
    Sol Omon
    (January 8, 2022)
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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
    (January 6, 2022)
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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
    (January 6, 2022)
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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
    (January 6, 2022)
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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

  • TM
    Trevor Mcleod
    (Jan 6, '22)
    Followed
  • VA
    Vanessa Abram
    (November 10, 2021)
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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.