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.

Project Timeline

  • Fall 2022: Hire a design team
  • Summer 2022 to Winter 2022-23: Community engagement
  • Late Fall 2022 to Spring 2023: Design development and detailed design
  • Late Spring/Early Summer 2023: Hire a construction team
  • Late Summer/Fall 2023: Construction starts
  • End of 2023: Construction complete

The timeline is subject to change.

Future opportunities to participate in the community engagement process for this project will be shared here when the details are confirmed.

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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:

  • Updated historical interpretive signage
    • to be integrated with City’s new wayfinding system
    • to include an Indigenous history component
  • Additional heritage interpretation elements
  • Upgrade of existing pathways
  • Upgrade to existing granite border/pathway
  • New site furnishings (i.e. benches, chairs, seat walls and/or picnic tables)
  • Passive social gathering areas
  • New planting features and trees
  • New grass
  • New lights

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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