Learn about Sorauren trees with the new guide and game

With the leaves falling and easy to pick up and examine, it’s the perfect time to learn about many tree species that grow in Sorauren Park!

Thanks to the High Park Nature Centre, Sorauren now has it’s own LEAFO card. It’s like Bingo, except with trees! So while you’re learning, you can make it a game, too.

Visit our new Sorauren Natural History page for your downloadable copy of the LEAFO card. It’s a great game for birthday parties. Can you find the park’s giant and rare elm tree? Did you know that Sorauren Avenue used to be called Poplar Grove?

Many park trees been planted and cared for by volunteers, in collaboration with Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation and generous funders such as TD Friends of the Environment, Evergreen and Live Green Toronto. A few trees in the park are not shown on the LEAFO card, including Manitoba, Norway and sugar maples… bonus points if you can find those.

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The original Pumpkin Parade returns Nov. 1

Photo of a long line of jack-o-lanterns lighting up Sorauren Avenue Park

The tradition continues November 1 when this year’s Pumpkin Parade comes to Sorauren Park… or, shall we say, when you bring your pumpkin art to the park.

Started by resident Colleen Kennedy and her neighbours in 2004, the family-friendly Sorauren Pumpkin Parade has spawned other parades across Toronto, with the City reporting a record 47 parades in parks this year. Parades have also been held in New York, Montreal and other cities.

Bring your jack-o-lantern to park the day after Halloween. Place them along the park’s main path. The parade looks best when pumpkins are lit.

Thanks to the City of Toronto and Councillor Perks for supporting the parade. Your old pumpkin will become tomorrow’s compost.

Follow us for Railpath expansion news

Sign up for Sorauren Park News and follow @SoraurenPark on social media for the latest news on the expansion of the West Toronto Railpath and links to Railpath groups.

The West Toronto Railpath is an exciting project to create a multi-use trail along the eastern edge of the Metrolinx Kitchener GO rail corridor that runs beside Sorauren Park.

Artist’s concept for the trail bridge crossing the Barrie GO line. A connection to Sorauren Park would run from the high point of the bridge into the park (on the right-hand side from this southward-view image, by the old Wabash chimney)

The northern part of the trail, from the Dundas/College bridge north to Cariboo Avenue, was completed in 2009.

Plans are well under way to complete the southern portion, from the Dundas/College bridge past the park to Queen Street and eventually Stanley Park, connecting to the new pedestrian/trail bridge crossing the rail lines into Garrison Common/Fort York, and hence to the waterfront.

How does it affect Sorauren Park?

To continue the trail south, a pedestrian/trail bridge must be built to cross over the Barrie GO line, near No Frills.

The opportunity exists to create a spur off the top of the pedestrian/trail bridge into Sorauren Park, connecting the west side and east side of the tracks with a multi-use trail.

Map showing concept for West Toronto Railpath bridge into Sorauren Park

Click to enlarge.

The 2014 West Toronto Railpath Extension Phase 2 Planning and Design Study included designs showing the opportunity for connecting Sorauren Park.

Metrolinx and the City of Toronto are working on the Railpath extension. Many community groups, including the Friends of the West Toronto Railpath, are advising the planners.

It’s important for residents interested in the connection to Sorauren Park to attend community meetings and make your views known.

Meeting notices will be posted on SoraurenPark.com, on our social media feeds @SoraurenPark (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and through our email newsletter.

Thanks for a great WaBASH Fall Festival

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It was a hot time in the park on Saturday Sept. 23! Thanks everyone who attended The WaBASH Fall Festival. The Kids Zone was packed, the Pup Show was a hit (and hoot), the bands were on fire, the pizza oven was on fire, the food was delicious, the evening perfect for outdoor movies.

Big thanks to all our volunteers who kept the event moving seamlessly. Thanks to our musicians and authors and food vendors. Here’s the full schedule of events and participants.

You can see more coverage and video on our Facebook page.

A special thanks to our amazing sponsors, whose support allows us to produce these free events for the community. Please show them your support.

 

Beautiful new drinking fountain thanks to donations

The new drinking fountain and water bottle filling station thanks to the FitzGerald family and friends

Thirsty? Check out the new water fountain and water bottle filling station by the Sorauren Fieldhouse. Thanks to the FitzGerald family and friends, who raised $20,000 in donations in honour of Owen FitzGerald. It’s a wonderful addition to the park and a memorial the whole community can enjoy for many years to come.

The concrete pad poured for the fountain was specially designed to also accommodate the new bake oven, to be constructed this summer… watch for notices.

Thanks also to Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation and Parks, Forestry and Recreation for making this legacy a reality.

City Council votes YES to Wabash Community Centre

Birds-eye view drawing of the old brick linseed oil mill building, re-imagined as the Wabash Community Centre

2009 concept plan for Wabash Community Centre by Oleson Worland_Taylor Smyth architects, in joint venture. The plan would use the footprint and exterior of the old linseed oil mill

Toronto City Council has voted to start work this year on the Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park.

Work will begin with a modest $50,000 budgeted for pre-engineering. That will be followed by design in 2018 and 2019, with shovels in the ground planned for 2020, towards a 2022 or 2023 opening. Total project budget is $32.4 million.

“After 17 years on the books and many years of community advocacy before that, this is wonderful news,” said Joël Campbell, chair of the all-volunteer Friends of Sorauren Park. “This is a milestone.”

The Friends of Sorauren Park recently concluded its “Unlock the Community Centre” awareness campaign, the latest in a long series of actions to advocate for the centre.

The project is included in Parks, Forestry and Recreation’s capital budget and plan, which City Council approved Wednesday, February 15, 2017, as part of the overall City budget.

The most recent plans for the community centre, prepared as part of a 2009 feasibility study, would convert the abandoned Canada Linseed Oil Mills building next to the park into a 40,000 sq. ft. community hub with a gym (shown above), multipurpose rooms, studios and fitness rooms, youth space, kitchen and third-floor event space with a rooftop terrace.

Follow us on social media @SoraurenPark, our website and this newsletter for updates and news on design consultations.

Friends of Sorauren Park would like to thank Councillor Gord Perks, along with previous Ward 14 councillors Sylvia Watson and Chris Korwin-Kuczynski, who all moved the project along at various stages at City Council.

Most of all, thanks to the community, which has advocated ceaselessly for the community centre since the early 1990s. Never stop believing.

Illustration showing a gym and hallways with light streaming from the top

Artist’s rendering of gym and first floor of community centre

Pumpkin Sale fundraiser for the park Oct. 21

Get your pumpkins here! The 10th annual Sorauren Pumpkin Sale runs Saturday Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the park.

Come for your pumpkin, face painting, and hot apple cider. Meet your neighbours.

Every dollar raised goes towards park improvements through the Friends of Sorauren Park. This year we are raising funds to cover outstanding costs for the new pizza oven.

Over the years, the pumpkin sale has raised $22,000 for park projects including new benches, trees, Fieldhouse appliances and capital enhancements including the Town Square.

The Pumpkin Sale is hosted by Chander Chaddah, Broker, Sutton Group Associates in support of the Friends of Sorauren Park.

See you on the Town Square on the 21st!

Photo of pumpkins spread out on the Sorauren Town Square under sunny blue skies

The Pumpkin Sale at the Sorauren Town Square