Davenport Village transforms into 'jewel'...
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Jan 28, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Davenport Village transforms into 'jewel' community

Residents group, councillor working to turn Hydro One lands into greenspace

Bloor West Villager

Davenport Village is ready for its close-up.

The community-within-a-community at Davenport Road and Lansdowne Avenue boasts a large park and playground at its centre surrounded by a one-time railway factory turned into an authentic residential loft building, with townhouses, condos and a soon-to-be built grocery store and bank.

The icing on the cake includes a coffee shop and pub that are in the midst of construction.

“It’s turned out so much better than I had hoped for,” said Matt Park, founder and president of the Davenport Village Community Association. “We came out of nothing – we were a neighbourhood that folks thought wasn’t going to be transformative and we turned out that way.”

There are two parcels of land along Davenport Road at Foundry Avenue that are Hydro One-owned. Currently, they are cordoned off by a chain link fence topped with barbed wire. Davenport Councillor Cesar Palacio alongside the community association is working on brokering a deal with Hydro One to reclaim the land as public green space. Park credits the councillor for helping to secure designated funding for the Greenline Gateway project, which has gotten the go-ahead.

“I’m very proud to work with the community to create vibrancy. People are very excited – I’m very excited,” Palacio said. “I want to see those lands be beautified.”

These two parcels are links of a linear park, not unlike the West Toronto Railpath, Park said.

The reclaimed green space will serve as a gateway to Davenport Village with a wrought iron fence and pillars whose brick will be the same colour as those of the foundry lofts. The project will include gardens and chess boards, Park said. Work on the project is set to start this spring.

“Davenport Village is going through a tremendous transformation as we speak. It has become a jewel in the west end of the city,” Palacio said. “It’s just beautiful.”

Park and his wife moved into a ‘Phase One’ Davenport Village townhouse four years ago.

A year later, he created the community association to serve the 3,800 residents who live there.

“We’re a neighbourhood of kids and families,” he said.

A feasibility study is set to be done in the spring for a crosswalk at Foundry Avenue and Davenport Road. The crosswalk would be constructed adjacent a set of stairs that lead up to Earlscourt Park, which have yet to officially open.

Park grew up in Etobicoke and lived downtown for a stint with his wife before moving into Davenport Village. He said he happened to speak to an elderly Portuguese woman who told him, ‘This is a great neighbourhood, you should come here.’

Davenport Village Park was a mud pit when Park moved into the area. Now, it includes play structures and a pavilion and has the infrastructure for a splash pad.

Balzac’s Coffee Roasters is set to open in the former Powerhouse, a heritage designated building situated at Foundry Avenue and Powerhouse Street. The community association in fact formed a sub group ‘Friends of the Powerhouse’ to ensure the restoration was done correctly. Alongside the coffee shop, Balzac’s will open a pub. Three years ago, on a whim, Park reached out to major coffee chains via email inviting them to set up shop in Davenport Village.

Balzac’s took him up on his suggestion.

The group is pleased to see the proposed development of 68 new luxury town homes as well.

A meeting will be held in February to discuss the Greenline Gateway project. The Davenport Village Community Association meets once a month. For further details, visit the Facebook page Davenport Village in Toronto.

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