Best Small Public Spaces #7 Ryerson Community Park

Best Small Public Spaces

#7 Ryerson Community Park

Clients seeking to immigrate to Canada often ask me why they should choose Toronto. In response to these frequent queries I thought I would create some top 10 lists of my favourite things in Toronto. These lists won’t include the typical tourist sights which anyone can Google, but rather the places and things that are off the beaten track and make Toronto special. These spaces and things are not necessarily “destinations” but instead moments of respite on a busy day…

Best Small Public Spaces
#7 Ryerson Community Park

Sandwiched between Gerrard Street on the north and Gould Street on the south, just west of Church Street is a hidden green oasis. The Ryerson Community Park is surrounded by Ryerson buildings and only if you are curious enough to pass through one of the entrances are you lucky enough to see the park that sits inside the gates. I am not a fan of demolishing century old buildings but this park does redeem the offence to some degree. The park is the original location of the Toronto Normal School, which is the predecessor of the world renowned Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). The Toronto Normal School was established in 1847 by Egerton Ryerson, as Upper Canada’s first teacher’s college. The façade in the accompanying photograph is what remains of the buildings, which once stood here. Interestingly, the site was used to re-train armed forces returning from WWII duty. Subsequently, in 1948 the Ryerson Institute of Technology was established thus carrying forward Egerton Ryerson’s connection to the site which now dates back more than 170 years.

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