A once barren lot at Bloor and Dufferin, dubbed “Bloordale Beach,” may soon find its name etched into reality if an online petition receives enough signatures.
Bloordale Beach unofficially opened in May 2020 in a gravelly area where construction had been stalled on Croatia Street. Locales filled the area with beachside sofa seating and artisanal signs, and it quickly became a bright spot during the most difficult days of the pandemic (even former mayor John Tory noted the importance of the beach).
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Many community members contributed to the beach, adding signs or other elements, like the Barkour Area, where dogs could improve their agility. It was also the site of film shoots, beach songs, performance art, music videos, dance performances, and even a community garden, where people could connect while growing flowers and food.
The site, located at 90 Croatia Street, shut down in September 2021 to make room for a high school to be built. The Bloordale Beach organizers previously launched a petition to name the school “Bloordale Beach CI” in commemoration of the park, and on Monday, they launched a new petition to officially assign an adjacent site with the “Bloordale Beach Park” nickname.
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“The new park, currently a construction site, will be located at 70 Croatia Street—nothing exists between numbers 70 and 90,” the change.org petition launched by Bloordale Beach organizers reads. “They’re currently figuring out what to do with this new park. From the image on the new park’s website, it looks like the park will be right next to the beach, but actually, there will be a new street between the site of the former beach and the new park.”
According to the City of Toronto, the park at 70 Croatia will be 3,580 m2 (about the size of a baseball field), and will be bordered by a residential development to the north and a new street public street to the west.
The Bloordale Beach organizers note that the former beach site was “well-loved and highly important to the community”, and so should be should memorialize as part of the neighborhood’s local history.
“In doing so, it will ensure that future generations know about Bloordale Beach and what it meant to us all,” the petition reads. “Naming this park after Bloordale Beach is not just about preserving history, but is about maintaining the essence of our neighbourhood. Bloordale Beach Park will ensure there is a lasting tribute to our beloved beach and will continue its legacy by providing an open space for community members to gather, connect, and create memories.”
As of writing, the petition has 266 of their goal of 500 signatures. Organizers plan to submit the required forms to the city, suggesting that Bloordale Beach Park is the best name for the park.