Downsview Lands Community

It's not every day that a huge metropolis gets handed a vast open area, yet that's exactly what happened when Jean Chretien closed down CFB Downsview in 1994, earmarking its mixed bag of installations for recreational use. Unfortunately, a park doesn't happen just like that. Like a child, it takes a community to make a park.  And that's why the DLCVA came into being at the same time.

Some of the problems that came with this real estate 'gift':

  • Development has whittled the original 572 acres to 360.
  • There is no money for improvements, or as the Park says, "we are self-financing".
  • A railroad (CN / Barrie GO Line) runs through it, while rivers of traffic flow around it.
  • The old hangars were built to withstand a direct bomb hit.
  • The Park lacks an identity.
  • There are pockets of desolation.
So, whether one likes it or not, after 20 years, Downsview is still a park-in-the-making.
Yet there is much that is exciting and dramatic in this development:
  • Scenic walkways, exotic fauna, excellent bird watching and a spectacular pond
  • Numerous business startups
  • State-of-the-art athletic centres of excellence
  • Greenhouses and a wildlife habitat centre
  • Outdoor performance venue
Our role is to tell this story from the community's point of view. 

So let us know what you think of our park-in-the-making. 
Downsview Area Secondary Plan

This is a City approved plan that spells out where they think development should go.  The entire area extends from Wilson Ave to just north of Sheppard, and Keele Street to the east side of Allen Road. 

When it was announced that the Spadina subway would be extended to Hwy 7, Council decided to have a second look at the Secondary Plan for Downsview.  In keeping with planning policy, it was decided that more density was needed along the subway corridor.

We fought the law and the law won...

The original plan had 8,327 residential units

The revised plan has 9,841 units. 

We also lost 9 hectares of park in the process.

We went to the OMB to present our concerns.  But in their August, 2011 decision they approved the plan as is.

The plan is split into 5 residential neighbourhoods:

Stanley Greene - is approved for 1,356 residential units.  This is located at the southern most end of the Park where the former military housing was.  They have begun grading and construction will begin on approx 700 units in the fall.

William Baker - is approved for 3,534 residential units.  This is located at Keele & Sheppard and extends a little north of Keele.  They will all be mid-rise (11-13 storey) apartment buildings.  This will probably be the next neighbourhood to be developed.  But first they have to extend Transit Road from Wilson north to Chesswood and west to Grandravine.  The Transportation Master Plan says they MUST do this before any development takes place in order to relieve congestion.  An Environmental Assessment has been started.

Sheppard neighbourhood - is approved for 1,026 units

Allen West - is approved for 1,396 units

Allen East - is approved for 2,531 units

One very exciting development is that Centennial College may move their Aerospace program to Downsview Park.  An Aerospace Working Group has been formed.  This is great news for Downsview!



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