First Toronto park named for a child
By Brian Laxson
While a house guest of a friend it was my habit to take a daily walk. One of these saw me sunning on a bench at a nearby park. The new style of fixtures draws your attention especially the cone like rope climber, concrete ping pong table and permanent playhouse in the sandbox. Yet the true wonder was upon returning to tell my friend.
“Did you know it was named for my son?” she said, “The first park in Toronto named for a child.”
This then is their story.
Her son, Joshua, was 7 years old suffering from severe cancer. The doctor’s required that should he have friends over they all would have to wear gloves and masks. As loving as his mother young Joshua didn’t want to see his friends go through that.
Instead they would meet at the nearby park. At that time it was called “Treasure Island” and included a concrete boat for oceanic imaginations. It was also here that his mother and family had taken up the city’s “adopt a park” program. They were the volunteers who would clean the park including removing broken glass before it found its way into the knees and hands of children. So here was the sick child in a mask, wearing his own gloves and mask, at play in his family’s tended park.
As happens maintenance needs grew with the “Treasure Island” up for a refit. The old was taken down and new began being put it. When as happens the sick child passed away.
During a park meeting, surely full of sadness at the loss of one of their happy voices, one of the other parents pointed out that the sign had not yet been put back up. It was she who nominated changing the park’s name.
My friend, mother of Joshua, would have to gather letters of recommendation which was quickly done. These were presented to city hall. She states not one person city hall turned it down. It was thus quickly passed that this was the Toronto’s first park named for a child:
If you wish to see the park for its history or new play sets you will find it at 504 Dawes Road (Google Map)This is just a little south then west from St Clair and Victoria Park.