Sorauren Park – Next Stage Village Square

  From the pages of Park People

Sorauren Park lies in the west end, in Roncesvalles Village. Adjacent to the park, separated by a rusty old fence, is old industrial land with two buildings which once housed a linseed oil factory. Apart from use by squatters and as a speakeasy, the old brick buildings along Wabash Avenue had long been abandoned, one the 40,000 sq ft factory, and the other the 2,000 sq ft office. This changed in 2006, when a community group formed with a mandate to resuscitate the industrial land and incorporate it into Sorauren Park.

The Wabash Building Society developed a long term plan, first to fix up the smaller office building, then the land, and lastly the large factory space. The first stage is already completed, and in 2008 “The FIeldhouse” opened,with washrooms, meeting space, and a small kitchen for park users and the community. Operated by the City of Toronto, it’s an invaluable asset for the park, offering classes such as yoga, martial arts, music, arts & crafts, and a much appreciated storage space to help the farmers’ market and other park activities including the natural ice rink.

The next stage is the creation of a ‘town square’ on the land between the two buildings, including a bake oven and amphitheatre. The community spirit and drive to revitalize this park, with the support of the City’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department,  leave little doubt that this will soon be realized. When we asked  Doug Bennet, a member of the Wabash Building Society, what he attributed their success to, he cited a couple of factors. Firstly, the community incorporated the not for profit Wabash Building Society, with a bank account and a means to fundraise. Gord Perks, Councillor for Ward 14, and his two predecessors, have also been instrumental in shepherding this project, and local businesses have been generous in providing materials for The Fieldhouse. We look forward to  eating pizza from the bake oven in the near future!
For more details and inspiration visit Sorauren Park.

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