Introducing Sorauren Summer Kids Fun! It’s a weekly series featuring a fun instructional video with self-guided activities you can do at home or at the park. You can also drop by the Friends of Sorauren Park table every Monday at the Farmers’ Market, 3 – 7 pm by the Town Square, for (physically distanced) activity tips.
The program is geared for kids aged 6 or under… or for all kids-at-heart.
And you can win prizes! Take photos of your Sorauren Summer Kids Fun creations and activities, and tag @SoraurenPark on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. There will be a weekly draw for free popcorn, redeemable at the concession stand at the Sorauren Park Outdoor Movies once they start up again (fingers crossed!), plus one grand prize at the end of the summer from Scooter Girl Toys, our Sorauren Summer Kids Fun sponsor.
Check SoraurenPark.com every Monday or our @SoraurenPark social media sites for each new activity.
The Friends of Sorauren Park are pleased to launch a second season of Dogs of Sorauren Park, part of the Sorauren Stories video series created last year during the pandemic.
The first profile features Pepsi and owner Elyse. The videos can be seen on SoraurenPark.com, on @SoraurenPark social media platforms, and on the Friends of Sorauren Park YouTube channel, where the entire Sorauren Stories video catalogue is available for your viewing pleasure.
Follow us to watch more videos over the summer. Many thanks to the owners, the pooches, and the Friends of Sorauren Park summer students, Dion Lynch and Amanda Vo, who are compiling the series and working on more exciting summer programs for the community.
Thanks also to our new Dogs of Sorauren Park season sponsor, Master Mechanic High Park. If you follow Master Mechanic, you’ll know why!
The City of Toronto says construction will start this month on the revitalization of Charles G. Williams Park across Wabash Avenue from Sorauren Park. The project has been in the works for several years; construction signs recently went up around the park.
The park will be closed during construction, which is expected to last till this fall. Design highlights include:
A new playground, new landscaping and new pathways
Because the programming plan, including a pool, requires more space than what is available at the site of the old Canada Linseed Mill property at 40 Wabash Avenue, all five design options have an impact on the park.
The board of directors of the non-profit Friends of Sorauren Park (FOSP) has voted to support option 5, called “the Angler” by the City’s design consultants, Diamond Schmitt Architects. While none of the options is perfect, No. 5 the Angler has many advantages in the opinion of FOSP, including:
least impact on the park, tucking the community centre along the back
preserves the Town Square and Fieldhouse, in which the City and community have invested more than $1 million and which are key elements of the park
the only design that preserves the full grassy slope facing the Town Square and creates an integrated hardscape/softscape community event space, enhancing the way the park is used for outdoor movies and performances (remember the Tragically Hip concert simulcast and Raptors playoff games?!)
preserves the popular (and growing) tree grove including the serviceberries near Wabash Avenue, and many other trees cared for by Adopt-a-Tree volunteers in 2014 and 2015
speaks to the reality of the rail corridor that cuts the park on an angle, and to the angled Robert Watson condo building north of the park, part of the neighbourhood vernacular
the fourth building block tucks neatly into the landscape of the park along the railway creating a “wedge” that becomes a clear focal point on the park side, and an entrance space on the rail corridor side, with the potential for a “great lobby” that invites community interaction
accommodates all the City-mandated community centre program plans
creates interesting roof space options
maintains the circular flow of the park and provides easy access to a planned future footbridge crossing the tracks and connecting the park to the West Toronto Railpath
retains and integrates the industrial heritage features of the linseed building
aligns with the preferred design principles already outlined by Friends of Sorauren Park and confirmed through FOSP-led community consultations and survey (1,200 responses)
“We’ve looked closely at the options, and while there are always site compromises in a constrained space, in the end there was little debate among the directors,” says Joël Campbell, chair of Friends of Sorauren Park. “Design option 5, the Angler, was the clear winner for us. We look forward to continuing the collaboration with the City and the design consultants as work progresses through the design process.”
That process is continuing through multiple stages, including the current survey and May 11 virtual public meeting. See more details on the City’s Wabash Community Centre project page; excerpt below. We encourage you to get involved.
Virtual Public Meeting
May 11, 2021
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Attend the virtual public meeting to learn about the site design options and share your feedback.
Note: An earlier version of this article referenced a May 3 opening date. The Market will not open on May 3, and instead will open May 24.
The Sorauren Farmers’ Market is planning to open on Victoria Day, Monday, May 24, outdoors on the park’s Town Square. The Market’s normal outdoor schedule is 3 – 7 pm every Monday.
In normal years the Market moves from its winter home indoors at the Sorauren Fieldhouse to its outdoor home in the park in late May. Pandemic conditions prevented the winter market from opening this past season, replaced by the Farm Box program which has now wrapped up.
Follow Sorauren Farmers’ Market on social media for updates, or visit the Market website. The Market is produced by the Sorauren Farmers’ Market Association.
Dear Friends of Sorauren Park, Neighbours of Roncesvalles, Parkdale, High Park, WDW, Junction, Bloor West & Brockton,
We are the Sorauren Park Hosers. A dedicated group of ice enthusiasts who love nothing more than to build a rink for everyone to enjoy. Our group floods the rink at Sorauren Park 9 times a week, logging in over 60hrs of volunteer work to keep the rink quality up and the ice surface safe. That is on top of the scores of hours needed to create over 3 inches of ice just to cover footprints.
The Hoser Crew loves seeing the community enjoy our hard work. This year it was even more important to us to build a usable rink to help offset all the shutdowns and restricted access to recreation due to COVID-19.
Unfortunately, those restrictions also affect our community supported, free-use natural ice rink. The City of Toronto has passed the responsibility of monitoring compliance of the safe use rules onto the Hoser Crew. We have been informed that By-Law officers may be following up to confirm those rules are being respected. Signs have been posted around the rink, but in case you missed them allow us to share them here:
NO SHINNY (provincial orders also prohibit practicing, no hockey sticks)
MAXIMUM 25 people
STAY 2 METRES APART except for members of your own household
WEAR A MASK
The one rule we all struggle with the most is “No Shinny”. There is nothing more enjoyable than an afternoon of Shinny with your friends and family. The Hoser Crew loves a good game too. Remember the 2019 Hoser Celebrity Shinny game? That was the most fun that we, as a collective team, have had together in the many years that we have been building this rink.
Over the last couple of days the Hoser Crew has been conversing on how to encourage the community to respect safe use of our hard work. Many of us have had to remind shinny players of the rules and have pointed to the signs outlining the City’s guidelines. Unfortunately, the shinny games continue and we now have to take some additional steps to prevent the potential for fines, rink shutdown or both.
This weekend the Hoser Crew will be redesigning the rink experience by creating snow islands in the middle of each of the two pads. These islands will create more of a skating trail to encourage physically distanced skating and discourage shinny. With the warmer weather Thursday and Friday this seems like the right time to rethink our COVID-era rink. The surface is in pretty bad shape and it will take at least 40 to 50 hrs. of labour Friday, Saturday and Sunday to get it back to where it was last weekend.
From the bottom of our Hoser hearts we thank you all for taking the time to read this message. We also thank you in advance for helping us out by respecting the rules of use. Let’s hope that next season we can all gather again around the rink with a fire, pizza, hot cocoa and enjoy a celebrity shinny game amongst this city’s greatest community!
If you missed the debut of our special anniversary documentary on Facebook Watch Party, fear not… you can watch the half-hour doc on YouTube any time you like.
25 Years of Community Building: The Story of Sorauren Park, captures great archival footage from the early 1990s when the community was fighting for the park. See interviews with advocates, then and now, talking about the early days and what the park has become. Other volunteers tell the story of the park and its role as a community hub, including through the pandemic.
Sorauren Park’s 25th Anniversary video series, Sorauren Stories, continues this month with the release of Artists of Sorauren Park, two short episodes featuring painters Michael Gerry and Leslie Norgate.
Both local residents, Michael and Leslie have found inspiration in the people, nature, buildings and moods of Sorauren Park.
After a COVID delay the City of Toronto with its consultants and architects is starting community consultations for the new Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park.
The first event is a Virtual Town Hall on September 22 from 7 to 8 pm. Virtual small group discussions follow on September 28, and an online survey will run from September 14 to October 5. All details including registration information is posted on the City’s project page. Look under “Get Involved.”
Did you know Sorauren Park is home to one of the few surviving elm trees in Toronto? Do you know which tree in the park evolved to proliferate through a special relationship with mastodons? Do you know which park tree is a Great Tree of Peace for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy?
Since we can’t show movies in the park this year, the Friends of Sorauren Park are making our own movies, and bringing them to screens across the neighbourhood and around the world.
Sorauren Stories is our 2020 summer video program, starting with the ongoing Dogs of Sorauren Park series, a new People of Sorauren Park series, and the upcoming Trees of Sorauren Park and 25th Anniversary special. Videos will appear on all Friends of Sorauren Park social media platforms, and will also be compiled on our new YouTube channel, with closed-captioning.
For a summer like no other, the Friends of Sorauren Park have launched a fun new program to enjoy and learn about the park while keeping everyone safe. Sorauren Stories is a series of videos and video events about the park, its people and pets, its natural history, its human history, and its power to inspire.
The series is rolling out across Friends of Sorauren Park media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, our website and newsletter, with interactive elements in the park itself.
The Friends of Sorauren Park presented the results of its Wabash Community Centre survey and consultation process June 4 at FOSP’s first-ever webinar.
More than 100 people registered for the event which was also attended by Councillor Gord Perks and City staff.
FOSP chair Joël Campbell and directors Stephen Dorsey and Donna MacMullin walked participants through the survey results. (View the full presentation deck.) Almost 1,200 community members responded to the survey.
Over the years many local businesses have supported the programming, activities and projects that make Sorauren Park a treasured part of the community. They’ve done this with cash sponsorships or donations, in-kind donations of goods or services, or other types of support.
Now is our time to support them (even more!) to keep our community strong and ready for a return to normal, whatever the new normal looks like. Use our directory below to support our supporters, and check business status.
Councillor Gord Perks has released the final plans for the renovations of Charles G. Williams Park across the street from Sorauren Park, and they reflect many of the ideas put forward by the community and the Friends of Charles G. Williams Park.
The final design for the southward extension of the West Toronto Railpath continues to include a provision for a future bridge into Sorauren Park. A February 26 public meeting in a packed room at Museum of Contemporary Art showed the plans in maps and diagrams.
The old linseed mill at 40 Wabash Avenue, site of the future community centre
The City of Toronto has hired one of Canada’s best-known architecture firms to design the new Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park. Diamond Schmitt Architects was awarded the work after an open bid process. Councillor Gord Perks confirmed the news at the November meeting of Friends of Sorauren Park.
The non-profit Friends of Sorauren Park will hold its Annual General Meeting this Thursday, June 3 at 7 pm via Zoom. If you’d like to participate, please contact us at email@example.com and we will send you the link.