City officials and staff joined businessman William Meany, along with members of the community, to officially open the William Meany Hedge Maze on Toronto Island Park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today.
“Toronto residents and visitors may now explore the William Meany Maze as it was originally designed by the late Peter Vanderwerf, landscape designer, in 1967,” said Councillor Pam McConnell. “Everyone can look forward to spending hours of fun in this Toronto Island Park gem.”
“The maze was the highlight of my visit to Toronto Island Park as a child,” said Meany. “When I found out it had been removed, I knew I had to do something to bring back this Toronto treasure. I am thrilled with the results and it gives me great pleasure to know that children will enjoy the new maze as much as I did when I was a child.”
In 2012, during his annual visit to Toronto Island Park, Meany, a Calgary businessman originally from Mississauga, was astonished to learn that the original Toronto Island hedge maze had been dismantled after being crowded out by shade trees. Meany was determined to work with Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff to rebuild the maze so that visitors to Toronto Island Park could enjoy this treasured landmark once again.
Working with Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff, Meany provided all of the materials and equipment required to rebuild the maze to its original specifications, a donation valued at over $200,000. Staff were able to locate the original blueprints drawn by Vanderwerf, which were used to guide the restoration of the new maze.
Construction on the new maze began in May 2014, roughly 50 metres northwest of the original maze site. Over 1,200 black cedars were planted by hundreds of volunteers from various groups, including Boy Scouts Canada, Labatt Breweries, Toronto Island residents and Live Green Toronto. Construction was fully completed by September 2014 and the trees were given time to take root in their new environment.
The City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division is committed to providing the community with exceptional service that contributes to the quality of life for all Torontonians. The restoration of the maze has reinstated a landmark feature for one of Toronto’s most significant and well-used public parks.
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