The Report on the Review of City of Toronto Golf Courses will be presented to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on January 11, 2022 and City Council on February 2, 2022. Review the report, request to speak at committee or submit comments.

The City is conducting an operational review of our five City-operated golf course locations to better understand how to maximize golf and non-golf experiences.

Project Timeline

  • June 2021: Phase 1, City-wide engagement
  • June to July 2021: Phase 2, local community engagement
  • August 2021: Operational Review Report drafted
  • January 2022: Staff report and recommendations sent to Council

The timeline is subject to change.

The City is currently conducting an operational review of its five golf course locations: Dentonia Park, Humber Valley, Don Valley, Scarlett Woods and Tam O’Shanter. This work includes:

  • A review of golf course operations
  • A financial review of operating revenues, expenditures, and required capital investments
  • A review and analysis of potential future operating models
  • A jurisdictional scan for best practices
  • Industry and market analysis to understand trends
  • Stakeholder engagement to understand golf user experience at these courses
  • Stakeholder engagement on potential complementary and/or alternative uses at these courses

Purpose and Timing of the Review

Existing golf course operations contracts will be expiring and have been extended through 2022 (with an optional extension to 2023) to allow time for staff to develop and recommend a comprehensive sourcing strategy for golf operations. The review was also initiated at a time when City-operated locations were experiencing a number of challenging trends in a shifting industry landscape. A review of the existing model is necessary to ensure long-term financial sustainability, improved customer service, and a more positive user experience for people accessing the golf courses. These trends include:

  • Decreasing rates of play from 2013-2019
  • Changes to rates of play
    • More 9-hole golf being played and less 18-hole golf
    • More seniors as opposed to adults
  • Increasing operating costs
  • Significant state-of-good-repair costs for capital maintenance and inability to invest in improvements at these sites

In 2020, however, there was an increase in demand and use of City-operated golf courses due to COVID-19 restrictions as golf was one of the few outdoor recreation and social activities allowed during the 2020 golf season.

COVID-19 restrictions have also highlighted the importance of parkland and the public’s interest in improving the use and programming of outdoor green spaces. The general public has become more engaged in how outdoor spaces are being used, who has access to these spaces, and whether each space is being used to its full public potential. These new questions and concerns are also being applied to the City’s golf courses.

The City operates five golf courses across under a mixed operating model.

  • These courses are primarily owned by either the City of Toronto or the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority (TRCA)
  • Under the current mixed model:
    • Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PFR) maintains golf course assets and turf
    • Private operators manage ticket sales, golf cart rentals, pro shops, and food and beverage operations
  • All golf courses are designated parkland and governed by the City of Toronto’s Ravine and Natural Feature Protection by-law and TRCA regulations

While we aim to provide fully accessible content, there is no text alternative available for some of the content on this site. If you require alternate formats or need assistance understanding our maps, drawings, or any other content, please contact Alex Deighan at 416-338-5123 or Alex.Deighan@toronto.ca.

A map of Toronto which shows the five city-operated golf courses and their size. Each location is marked by a green circle and is organized as a grid by municipal ward. Locations from east to west include Tam O'Shanter (42.5ha), Dentonia Park (14.5ha), Don Valley (74.8ha), Scarlett Woods (24.8ha) and Humber Valley (43.0ha).

The goals of this project are to:

  • Continue to provide access to high-quality and affordable golf in the city
  • Improve golf-related amenities (clubhouses, food and beverage offerings, customer service, etc.)
  • Ensure responsible environmental stewardship and management of the sites
  • Advance the parkland and recreational needs of non-golfers with innovative programming, shared use arrangements, and increased access to these spaces where possible
  • Advance a winter use strategy to improve access and activation during non-golf season
  • Maintain a sustainable and financially responsible model
  • Balance multiple and competing desired uses

The initial ideas being explored by the City for each golf course location will be further developed through research and public and stakeholder engagement and include:

  • Improving golf courses for golf uses
  • Improving complementary non-golf access to courses (e.g. providing complementary recreational programming, trail connections, and/or winter uses)
  • Expanding recreational opportunities on portions of courses (e.g. adding new recreation amenities or sports fields)
  • Implementing environmental improvements
  • Providing access to food growing opportunities
  • Facilitating opportunities for Indigenous cultural practices

The following uses are not currently permitted or possible at each golf course location:

  • Building large facilities within floodplains
  • Selling or disposing of parkland
  • Development of residential uses
  • Free golf (the City does not have the resources to offer fully subsidized golf for everyone)

Community and Stakeholder Engagement

The review of City golf course operations, including opportunities for improvements and potential alternative and/or complementary uses, will be informed in part by a city-wide engagement process with the general public, key stakeholders, Indigenous communities and local communities that surround each location. Feedback from both golfers and non-golfers will be incorporated throughout the process.

January to February 2022

Presentation to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee and City Council

The Report from the General Manager, Parks Forestry and Recreation and the Chief Procurement Officer, Purchasing and Materials Management on a Review of City of Toronto Golf Courses will be presented to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on January 11, 2022 and City Council on February 2, 2022.

Toronto Meeting Management Information System (TMMIS), item number IE27.6 has more information on this agenda item, including the full Report. Opportunities to request to speak at committee or to submit comments are available at the top of the page.

Review the January 11 Infrastructure and Environment Committee agenda. The February 2 City Council Agenda is not yet available.

Summer to Fall 2021

Phase 2 of Community Consultation

The Project’s Phase 2 engagement activities included five Local Community Meetings, one online survey, an Indigenous Leaders and Communities Focus Group, and additional engagement activities as outlined in section 2 of the Phase 2 Community Consultation Summary. Through phase 2, the project team collected information about experiences and ideas about the future from a diverse range of participants.

Download the Phase 2 Community Consultation Summary.

Presentation to the City of Toronto Aboriginal Affairs Advisory Committee (AAAC)

On October 22, City staff presented an overview of the Golf Operational Review to members of the AAAC to gather input and perspectives on opportunities for Indigenous Placemaking, improving golf play, and complementary uses at each of the five golf courses under review.

Download the presentation.

Indigenous Leaders and Communities Focus Group

The project team met with 20 Indigenous leaders and representatives from different Indigenous communities in August 2021 to discuss the Project and the future of city- operated golf courses.

City-Wide Online Survey

The survey was available from June 14 to July 12, 2021 and collected thoughts, ideas, and preferences on the future of Golf Courses in Toronto.

Over 6,000 people participated in the online survey.

Local Virtual Community Meetings

One virtual community meeting was hosted for each of the five City-operated golf courses. Participants learned more about the operational review, and shared their thoughts and perspectives on the future of specific golf courses in breakout discussions. The Local Community Meetings were intended to understand the different perspectives of local community members (within 1km of each golf course), regardless of their relationship to golf.

Meetings included:

  • Tam O’Shanter Local Community Meeting: July 5, 2021
  • Don Valley Local Community Meeting: July 6, 2021
  • Humber Valley Local Community Meeting: July 7, 2021
  • Scarlett Woods Local Community Meeting: July 8, 2021
  • Dentonia Park Local Community Meeting: July 10, 2021

Download the June 14, 2021 public meeting presentation (this presentation is applicable to all five community meetings).

Summer 2021

Phase 1 of Community Consultation

Phase 1 included multiple engagement tactics to gather input and perspectives on the Project. The intention was to engage city-wide while providing opportunities for key stakeholders to engage.
Phase 1 included the following engagement tactics detailed below:

  1. One-on-one interviews and meetings
  2. Focus Groups
  3. City-wide virtual public meeting

Download the:

One-on-One Interviews and Meetings

Toronto City Councillors were invited to participate in one-on-one meetings with the Project team from June 7th to June 14th, 2021. The criteria for conducting a Councillor meeting was either: (1)they have a city-operated golf course(s) located within or directly adjacent to their ward; or (2) have invested interest in the future of golf course operations.

Focus Groups

Three invite-only focus groups were conducted in Phase 1. The focus groups were organized by stakeholder groups and included:

  1. The golf community (e.g. golf organization representatives, league organizations, operators) on June 7, 2021 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  2. Food access groups (e.g. urban agriculturalists, food sovereignty organizations, food security organizations) on June 9, 2021 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  3. Other advocacy and interest groups (e.g. environmental organizations, public space organizations, complementary sports organizations) on June 8, 2021 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

City-Wide Virtual Public Meeting

A virtual public meeting took place on June 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to discuss the future of Toronto’s City-operated golf courses. The meeting focused on sharing information about the City of Toronto’s Golf Operational Review project and collecting feedback on current and potential future uses of the five City-operated golf courses.

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