The renovated Charles G. Williams Park is open! The construction fences came down in November 2021.
The renovated park, across the street from Sorauren Park, includes new senior and junior playground equipment and nature play area. But it’s a park for all ages… there is a new basketball court, junior court, ping-pong table, bocce court and chess tables. The new splashpad will be ready for summer play. The park also features a safer new main entrance at the corner of Sorauren and Wabash avenues, new pathways and many more benches, plus the beautiful existing tree canopy.
The new park design owes much to the advocacy of the Friends of Charles G. Williams Park. It was build by Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation and its design consultants and contractors, and supported by Councillor Gord Perks.
Keep reading for the history of Charles G. Williams Park.
Contact the Friends of Charles G. Williams Park to stay informed of news and meetings.
The park was an initiative of the Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents’ Association called “12 Acres Short”. It was begun in the late 1970s to secure much needed parkland for the North Parkdale area (Sorauren Park didn’t exist then: TTC repair barns occupied the space).
The association was successful in acquiring funds from three levels of government that were used to buy and demolish an old paint factory on the site. City planners worked with local residents to design the park which was officially opened on June 25, 1983 in a ceremony organized by the RMRA and attended by politicians, historical board members, City planners, and local residents. It features the popular playground, sandbox, basketball court, games tables, picnic tables, and a wading pool open and staffed by Parks, Forestry and Recreation in July and August from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.
Charles Williams’s son, Harvey Williams, his two grandchildren, Gail and Richard Williams, and all of his great grandchildren were in attendance.
Charles Gower Williams was born in England and emigrated here just before the First World War. He was an early resident of Wright Avenue and representative of new immigrants to the community at the time. He enlisted in the Canadian army when war broke out, leaving his Welsh-born wife and two-year old son behind. He died fighting in 1917.
In 1984, a bronze plaque was mounted on the brick wall on the east side of the park that read as follows:
This park is dedicated to the memory of Charles Gower Williams, husband of Mary E. Williams, who died tragically during World War 1 defending our country and freedom.
We are the grateful beneficiaries of the sacrifice that he and so many of his generation made, leaving all that was dear to them, facing danger, enduring hardship, and finally passing from the sight of men.
LEST WE FORGET
The plaque is currently in storage, with will be restored to the park as part of the 2021 construction project, next to a newly planted Vimy Oak. Williams’s grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren still live in the area.
(Thanks to Rod Sherkin for this history. January 2014.)