Friday, January 31, 2014

the toronto that wasn't department

Source: the Globe and Mail, March 19, 1976. Click on image for larger version.
"A master plan for Aquatic Park in Lake Ontario calls for expenditures of $26 million for a 5,000 seat ampitheatre, campsites, a wildlife area, fishing piers, and accomodation for 1,500 power and sail craft," opened a 1976 Globe and Mail article on future plans for the Leslie Street Spit. The plan also provided for the private sector to build attractions like hostels, hotels, and a "20-acre marineland park."

A Metro Toronto and Region Conservation Authority official noted that over 150 potential uses for the site were studied so that the proposed park would complement, not compete, with existing recreational facilities along the waterfront. Under the plan, the public would enjoy unrestricted access to 70 percent of the park's shoreline.

The article doesn't address the pressing concern of what to do with the quonset hut in the middle of the spit, whose naming rights were later claimed one fine April 1 by Spacing magazine.

Alas, you cannot go swimming in an artificial lake in the middle of the Leslie Spit, nor can you enjoy water rides at its mini-marineland, or shower after an overnight camping trip. I think the non-realization of this plan was a good thing, as the greenspace which evolved along the spit provides a temporary weekend escape from the hurlyburly of the city. It's a ideal place for a lazy day's bike ride or walk, to stare at the many species of birds who stop by for a rest, or guess where the debris along the water was carted in from.

Additional material from the March 19, 1976 edition of the Globe and Mail

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