The City is improving Victoria Memorial Square Park, located at 10 Niagara St., near Portland Street. The park is a designated heritage site and is part of the Fort York National Historic Site and the King-Spadina Heritage Conservation District. The park improvements will be informed by feedback from the local community and stakeholders.

  • Fall 2022: Hire a design team
  • Summer 2022 to Spring 2023: Community engagement and design development
  • Summer 2023: Hire a construction team
  • Fall 2023: Construction starts

The timeline is subject to change.

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September 2022

Online Survey

From August 30 to September 18, 2022, the project team ran a visioning survey to gather insights and ideas from the community about what they would like to see in the square in the future. In total, 753 people responded to the survey.

Download the survey summary.

June 2022

Resident’s Workshop

On June 15, 2022, the project team invited residents living along the perimeter of the park, including businesses and high-rises, to a virtual workshop being held as part of the community engagement process for the project. Nine residents attended, in addition to City staff and the Councillor’s office.

Download the summary report.

April 2022

Stakeholder Meeting

A meeting took place at the park with community stakeholders to discuss park issues. The project’s next steps include hiring a design team and the community engagement process.

The park currently includes a monument, playground and drinking fountain as well as several heritage features, open lawn areas and mature trees. The park’s historical significance and unique site constraints will be taken into consideration when planning the design. The park improvements may include:

  • Additional heritage interpretation elements
  • New social gathering spaces
  • Upgrade of existing pathways
  • New site furnishings (i.e. benches, chairs, seat walls and/or picnic tables)
  • Updated historical interpretive signage, including Indigenous history component, to be integrated with City’s new wayfinding system
  • General site improvements including upgrade to existing granite border/pathway, playground improvements, refresh of existing monuments
  • New planting features and trees
  • New grass
  • Lighting improvements
  • Potential integrated art feature

Background

The waterways surrounding the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario and what we now know as Toronto, have been occupied by Indigenous communities for thousands of years. Some of the First Nations that have inhabited and continue to inhabit these lands are the Anishinaabe peoples, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations, the Huron Wendat, and the Haudenosaunee.

In 1783, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe created Toronto’s first European cemetery. Simcoe’s infant daughter, Katherine, succumbed to fever in 1793 and was one of the first to be buried here. The final burial occurred in 1864, when the cemetery was full. The site was subsequently converted into public space known as Victoria Memorial Square and has been maintained by the City of Toronto as a public park since the 1880s.

In the late 2000s, several heritage features were added as part of a park improvement project. Features that exist in the park today include a narrow rectangular granite border on the lawn, which represents the footprint of the cemetery that contains approximately 400 burial sites and 17 of the original grave markers on the east side of the park.

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