Cadillac Fairview must have been horrified when it realized it had overlooked an inconspicuous little green oasis - about half a hectare of land on the southeast corner of Dundas and Bay. And, good god, grass and a mix of about 29 coniferous and deciduous trees still grow there. The developer has recently dusted off a 1978 agreement with the city that would see parking and retail on the plot and a new business school for Ryerson U, according to Cadillac Fairview spokesperson Neil Murphy.
But others casting their eyes eastward to the disaster that is Dundas Square think the city should be preserving what few patches of green remain in the downtown.
For Eugene Kim, a lunchtime parkette-goer who works across the street, it's about the way these kinds of spaces enhance our quality of life.
"You can't put a price on a tree - the shade it provides, the visual respite, how it keeps the topsoil and shields us from the noise," he says.
Kim calls other lunchtime options like Dundas Square and even Nathan Phillips Square "inhospitable" at best. The obvious concrete factor aside, he points to Dundas Square's skulking security guards and glaring pixel boards.
So Kim's calling for a critical mass of lunchers in the parkette at Bay and Dundas on Monday (May 17) between noon and 3 pm, "to send the city a message that we use this park, we love this park and please don't take it away from us." (Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The loss of permeable surfaces is also a concern because of water pollution, points out the Toronto Environmental Alliance's Shelley Petrie.
"Every time we build over green space, we're losing areas where rainwater can be absorbed into the ground, filter out pollution and recharge our polluted rivers, streams and lakes."