Park enthusiast says Don River Valley needed facelift years ago

A Toronto hiker believes plans to revitalize the Don River Valley are long overdue.

On Tuesday, during a press conference at the Evergreen Brick Works, Mayor John Tory and Evergreen Brick Works representatives announced details of a new Don River Valley Park. They referred to the project as the “super park,” which will stretch from the Brick Works south to Lake Ontario, making it, when completed, the second largest park in Toronto.

Jacob Harnish, 21, an avid hiker and cyclist in the city, believes that civic officials should have dealt with valley restoration years ago.

“I think the mayor and city officials could have (given) the Don River ravine a major facelift years ago,” Harnish said.” They have had these plans since 2012 and it is sad that it took the city almost five years to finally do something.”

Tory voiced his excitement about the Don River Valley Park, including new cycling and pedestrian paths and the art that will be displayed on each trail. Private donors have raised $3.5 million in support of the project. At the press conference, Tory admitted the city needs to do more to improve city parks.

“We have been very good at improving the condos and office towers, but we haven’t been so good at improving the parks,” he said.” We are in the process of making this park a public park and create one more stitch of green around the vibrant downtown core.”

Even though park user Harnish believes the Don River Valley should have been restored long ago, he’s excited about the proposed “super park.”

“I do think that this project will motivate the city to improve on other parks so that our greenery does not go to waste,” Harnish said.

Planners hope to complete the Don River Valley Park project as early as 2020 with the north entrance trail completed by 2017.