Fresh Perspectives on Public Space: Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Jane’s Walk

May 12, 2015
Janes walk 2015 TEA

On Sunday May 3rd, TCAT’s Active Neighbourhoods project team joined up with the Toronto Emerging ARTivist’s (TEA) to lead a walking tour through Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park. The walk began in Flemingdon Park, walking down Don Mills Road and into the ravine, then meandering through the ravine and up into Thorncliffe Park on the other side. TEA is a local youth-led group who has completed a number of public art projects in the neighbourhood. They took the group to some of their favourite hidden places in the ravine and showed off some of their projects that have animated public space in the two tower communities. Car Martin, the Active Neighbourhoods Project Manager spoke about the progress of the Active Neighbourhoods project, with a focus on relaying the design solutions that have been suggested to improve the two main connections between the community and the ravine parks.

Many of the participants had never been to Thorncliffe and Flemingdon and it was an eye opening experience that broke down stereotypes about community and pedestrian environments in the suburbs. A number of participants mentioned how amazed they were to witness such a strong sense of community in a tower neighbourhood, a typology that many feel necessarily leads to isolation and anonymity. On the other hand, participants were shocked at how uninviting the access to the ravine was, even though the trails within are meticulously maintained. Similarly, while walking down the main arterial roads it was loud and difficult to hear the conversation, demonstrating the lack of appeal and functionality for pedestrian travel along main routes.