Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan
Parks and Recreation facilities improve quality of life. They inspire participation, meet resident needs and help to strengthen communities.
Parks, Forestry and Recreation is developing a 20-year Facilities Master Plan to guide investment in parks and recreation facilities such as community recreation centres, ice rinks, and sports fields. Toronto is changing, the population is growing and recreation trends are shifting. A long-term plan to build and renew facilities across the city will prepare us to meet recreation needs into the future.
To develop this plan we will consider demographics, the use and condition of our facilities, recreation and leisure trends, facility best practices, and legislative changes together with public, stakeholder and staff input.
What are parks and recreation facilities?
Parks and recreation facilities are physical spaces that support participation in sport, recreation and leisure activities. They are infrastructure designed with specific uses in mind, and may or may not be structures with walls and a roof. Examples include swimming pools, arenas, fitness rooms, tennis courts and sports fields.
Why is this plan needed?
As Toronto grows and changes, the recreation needs of residents also change. Since 2004 major recreation infrastructure development has been successfully guided by our ten-year Recreational Facilities Report, which needs to be updated with current data and research. The Council-approved Recreation and Parks Service Plans also direct Parks Forestry and Recreation to develop a Facilities Master Plan. The new Facilities Master Plan will be a comprehensive exercise that considers demographic data, utilization information, trends, legislative changes and community, staff and stakeholder inputs to inform recommendations. The need for a master plan is also driven by changes in the needs, expectations and service delivery models for both parks and recreation.
What does this plan mean for residents?
The availability, distribution and use of parks and recreation facilities is important to everyone. Parks and recreation are integral to quality of life for all residents. There is a strong relationship between the provision of public recreation and benefits to personal, community, social and economic well-being. The Facilities Master Plan will identify gaps and develop strategic investment priorities by facility type based on a principle of equitable distribution across the city. This will help to ensure that residents across the city have equitable access to parks and recreation facilities, and to the benefits they bring to communities and to the city overall.
What types of facilities will this plan address?
The facilities in scope for this plan are: community centres; gymnasiums; multi-purpose rooms; weight rooms and fitness rooms; indoor playgrounds; walking tracks; indoor and outdoor pools; splash pads and wading pools; indoor and outdoor arenas and ice pads, curling rinks; lawn bowling, tennis, bocce and outdoor basketball courts; bike and skate parks; sports fields (soccer, multi-use, softball, baseball diamonds, cricket pitches); sports bubbles; dogs off-leash areas; and field houses/change rooms.
How did you decide which facilities to include or not include?
Most types of parks and recreation facilities will be addressed in this plan. Some facilities, for example, golf courses and playgrounds, were not included because they have been addressed through other planning initiatives. Smaller park amenities such as ping pong tables and outdoor fitness stations are also not included.
When will the Facilities Master Plan be completed?
The Facilities Master Plan is scheduled to go to City Council’s Executive Committee on October 24, 2017. If adopted, it will go forward to City Council at its meeting on November 7, 8 and 9, 2017.
Will there be a cost associated with the Facilities Master Plan? Yes. The directions in the Facilities Master Plan will influence future Parks, Forestry and Recreation Capital and Operating budgets. The financial requirements would, pending Council approval, be considered starting with the City’s 2019 budget process.
Why does Parks, Forestry and Recreation need so many plans?
Parks, Forestry and Recreation operates 1,500+ parks, 136 community centres, 40 arenas with 48 ice pads, 52 outdoor artificial ice rinks with 65 ice pads, and 65 indoor and 57 outdoor swimming pools. Making sure our facilities and services operate effectively and meet the needs of residents across the city and over the long term is complicated. Developing plans for different aspects of our work that are based on current research and informed by public feedback is important. It helps us to understand what the needs are, set priorities, allocate resources and make sure that everyone involved is working toward the same goals.
Some areas of the city seem to have more facilities than others. How will the plan address this?
The Facilities Master Plan will consider the geographic distribution of facilities across the city, levels of use at existing facilities, demographic information, recreation trends and other recreation service providers. This information together with feedback provided by the public and stakeholders will be used to identify gaps and develop strategic investment priorities by facility type based on a principle of equitable distribution across the city.
How will this plan address the needs of Toronto’s diverse communities?
The Facilities Master Plan will guide the future provision of park and recreation facilities and amenities based on principles of inclusion, access, equity and quality. The development of the plan will include a focus on identifying and addressing barriers to access for diverse groups and communities. It will improve our ability to offer facilities and services that meet identified needs, and to improve equity with respect to facility and service access. Increased access to park and recreation facilities improves individual, social and economic well-being.
How can I get involved?
Public consultation for the Facilities Master Plan is over, however, comments can still be provided by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage you to sign up for our email updates to get up to date information on the plan’s progress.
The Facilities Master Plan will cover most types of parks and recreation facilities. Some facilities, for example, golf courses and playgrounds, were not included because they have been addressed through other planning initiatives.
City of Toronto community centres provide space for programming and community use. They range from small to large, and each offers a different combination of program rooms that may be combined with weight rooms, youth spaces, gymnasiums, indoor pools or other amenities.
The City has over 40 fitness facilities, with multiple membership and use options available to residents. Fitness facilities are typically located within community centres. They feature a weight room, fitness room and membership may include access to additional amenities such as a gymnasiums, indoor pool or program rooms.
Parks, Forestry and Recreation operates one indoor playground. Playground Paradise is a two story play structure open to children up to age 12. It is open on a drop-in basis and for party bookings.
More than ten multi-lane tracks are available at community centres across the city. Designed for walking or running, these indoor tracks typically have a rubberized surface and are often located above gymnasiums. They are available on a drop-in basis and used for programs such as walking clubs.
Indoor and outdoor pools
There are 65 indoor pools across the City of Toronto with varying aquatic features and design. Indoor pools are open year-round for drop-in use, programming and permitted use. The City’s 57 outdoor pools are open in summer and most are located in parks.
Outdoor skating rinks, arenas and curling rinks
The City owns and operates 40 indoor arenas, 52 outdoor artificial ice rinks and four skating trails. The City also owns nine arenas that are operated by Boards of Management. There are three City curling facilities which are mainly used by club, permit and rental groups.
Wading pools and splash pads
Wading pools are supervised shallow water play areas for children. Splash pads are unsupervised water play areas with shower heads, spray jets and other features. The City operates more than 100 wading pools and 90 splash pads in parks and playgrounds.
Over 670 sports fields are located in City parks. For permitting purposes, they are classified as Premier, A, B or C based on field characteristics and quality. Approximately 64,000 sports field permits are issued annually for sports such as soccer, baseball, cricket, football, rugby, lacrosse and ultimate frisbee.
There are 180 City outdoor tennis court locations, mostly in parks. Approximately two-thirds are public courts that are free and available to the public at all times. Approximately one third are permitted by community tennis clubs. Outdoor tennis court locations are open from April to October.
Outdoor basketball courts
There are approximately 130 outdoor basketball courts across the City. Most are located in parks – see park locator map for locations. Basketball courts are generally used on a first come first served basis, when not permitted or being used for programming.
There are over 100 bocce courts in City parks, with a small number of indoor courts also available. Outdoor courts are used on a first come first served basis, and may occasionally be permitted by groups. Indoor courts are available for drop-in use, permitting or operate on a membership basis.
Lawn bowling greens
Lawn bowling facilities consist of one or more lawn bowling greens and may include a clubhouse. Lawn bowling greens are finely-laid, close-mown and rolled stretches of turf. There are currently 13 lawn bowling clubs operating out of City of Toronto lawn bowling facilities.
Dog off-leash areas
Dog off-leash areas within parks provide a place for dogs to exercise and socialize. They range in size and design, with all new areas containing fenced boundaries. There are over 60 designated dog off-leash locations across the City.
There are four City of Toronto off-road cycling facilities where riders with various skills and experience can do off-road cycling and build skills. Bike parks offer a variety of progressive and technically challenging features such as dirt jumps, ramps and pumptracks.
There are 13 skatepark sites across the city, including some seasonal and indoor locations. City skateparks feature key elements that reflect different styles of skateboarding – street skateboarding, riding bowls and transition, freestyle, longboarding and downhill.
Our Common Grounds: Toronto Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan was approved by City Council. This 15-year plan emphasizes the strategic goals of environmental stewardship, child and youth development and lifelong active living. This plan includes recommendations for facility planning.
The Recreation Facilities Report was approved by City Council. This report outlines directions for planning and provision of the City’s recreation facilities over a five to ten year period.
The Recreation Service Plan was approved by City Council. This five-year plan aims to increase participation in recreation, decrease financial barriers, and improve local and geographic access to recreation, and directs Parks, Forestry and Recreation to develop a 20-year facilities plan.
The Parks Plan was approved by City Council. This five-year plan sets out four areas of priority: communicate and connect with users, preserve and promote nature, maintain quality parks, and strengthen system planning, and directs Parks, Forestry and Recreation to develop a 20-year facilities plan.
The Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan project launched and was scheduled for completion in 2017. A staff report providing an update on the Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan was approved by Council’s Executive Committee on October 20, 2015.
The Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan was under development and on track for completion in 2017. A staff report providing a progress update and interim consultation report for the plan was approved by Toronto City Council on October 5, 2016.
The consultation plan provides a summary of the consultation principles, audiences and activities for the Facilities Master Plan, and outlines how input received will be documented and reported.
Get details on how you can get involved in surveys, town hall meetings and other activities, and see consultation result summaries.
Learn about how groups and organizations that use, have an interest in and are affected by decision-making about parks and recreation facilities are engaged in developing the Facilities Master Plan.
Consultation for the Facilities Master Plan included two main phases. Phase 1 was focused on understanding facility needs and establishing principles to help inform needs assessment and draft strategic directions for the plan. In Phase 2 we tested and refined the draft directions for the plan, and gathered information on facility improvements.
Input was provided by over 5,500 residents and stakeholders. See the consultation summaries provided below to learn more about what we heard.
Phase One (December 2015-June 2016)
- 1 Resident Survey (#1) – Summary
- 4 Town Halls – Summary
- 13 Focus Groups – Summary
- 2 Stakeholder Advisory Group Meetings:
- 1 Website Feedback Form – Summary
- 1 Toronto Planning Review Panel Meeting – Summary
- Phase 1 Consultation Summary – Summary
Phase Two (November-December 2016)