Urban Forestry Projects

Chorley Park

Chorley Park Trail Connection

Unstable dirt path winds down the ravine hillside between the dense undergrowth of the forest canopy.Chorley Park is located in the Toronto neighbourhood of Rosedale – Moore Park (Ward 27).  The location of Ontario's last Government House, the site was developed into a park in the 1960s. Chorley Park overlooks the Don River Valley near the Beltline Recreation Trail and the Don Valley Brick Works Park.

Update on Trail Connection Project - January 14, 2016

A new and improved plan for the Chorley Park Trail Connection is moving forward, with construction expected to be completed in 2017.

The new plan is the outcome of extensive public consultation, including the public meeting in June 2014, three meetings of the specifically formed 30 person Stakeholder Working Group in 2014-15, a meeting with people with disabilities in January 2015(PDF), and several meetings and communications with local Resident Associations, Friends of Chorley Park, and local Councillors.

The new plan includes many community requested features that are significantly different then original plans presented in 2013 and 2014 .

Primarily, instead of just one paved switchback, the plan now includes two trail connections:

  • A natural surface footpath for hiking in the forested area (similar to the foot trails that exist today)
  • An asphalt switchback with a gradual slope (which meets accessibility obligations)

Original Plan (2013-14)

3m wide switchback trail with very visible retaining wall on upslope and fencing throughout

 

Revised Plan (2015)
Two trails:

Natural surface footpath

2m wide switchback trail with hidden retaining walls on downslope and minimum fencing

As well as retaining a natural surface footpath, many changes were made to the switchback trail design:

  • Added five rest areas, with seating where possible
  • Reduced trail width from 3 meters to 2 metres, which will feel like about 1.6 metres once vegetation grows into the shoulders of the trail
  • Minimized visible retaining walls (original very visible on the upslope next to the trail, now positioned almost exclusively on the downward slope where they will be mostly hidden by vegetation
  • Reduced fencing, from 100% of the trail to about 15% of the trail (only locations required by Building Code)
  • Reduced trail length from 535 metres to 375 metres
  • Introduced a bioswale to improve stormwater management at the base of the hill, making the Beltline Trail drier and more reliable in this area
  • Recommended stone material for the one set of shortcut stairs connecting to the switchback
  • Reintroduced and rerouted a trail connection between the top of the trail and the sidewalk, travelling southwest along the slope ridge connecting to the existing legacy driveway

For full details and plan drawings see:

For a more accessible version, read a text only description

See other tabs above for all the materials and summaries of the public meetings and Stakeholder Working Group meetings that lead to this final design concept.

The City would like to thank all the volunteers who dedicated many hours to participate in the consultations and we appreciate everyone's patience during the months it took to realize this new plan.

Expect to see new construction signs posted and flyer notices distributed this summer, with construction work anticipated to begin in the fall of 2016 and completed in early 2017.

The City of Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), is working towards the construction of a new trail to connect Chorley Park to the Beltline Trail and Moore Park Ravine. 

Project Information

The existing footpaths, asphalt trail and timber staircase at Chorley Park are not safe for public use and will be removed and converted to a natural forest condition. Rehabilitation of this existing infrastructure to bring it to up to standard and safe for public use is not possible at its current location because of the potential construction impact on the endangered butternut trees within the area. These trees are protected under the Ontario Endangered Species Act.

Existing steep foot path – to be converted to plantings and replaced with a safer trail connection Existing rotting wooden stairs – to be converted to a natural forest condition and replaced with safer trail connection
Existing steep foot path – to be converted to plantings and replaced with a safer trail connection Existing rotting wooden stairs – to be converted to a natural forest condition and replaced with safer trail connection

To provide safe access into and out of Moore Park Ravine we have developed a plan for two trail connections at Chorley Park:

  • A natural surface footpath for hiking in the forested area (similar to the foot trails that exist today)
  • An asphalt switchback with a gradual slope to provide access for trail users with differing abilities

 

The trail connection project was originally identified as part of the 2012 plan for improvements to the Beltline Trail.  The plan has seen several revisions developed through extensive public and stakeholder consultation. For full details and plan drawings see:

For a more accessible version, read a text only description

See other tabs above for all the materials and summaries of the public meetings and Stakeholder Working Group meetings that lead to this final design concept.

Construction is expected to start in late 2016 and completed in 2017.

Public Notification and Consultation

A drop-in event was held on June 24, 2013 to give the community (primarily members of the North Rosedale Residents' Association) the chance to learn more and provide feedback about the Chorley Park Trail project, how it will be implemented, and what disruptions to expect.

In November 2013, the City distributed pre-construction public notices to surrounding residences and also posted an advisory sign on the Beltline Trail at the base of the hillside.

Chorley Park Pre-Construction Sign

In addition, the North Rosedale Residents' Association (NRRA) disseminated information about this work, including the Winter 2013-2014 newsletter on the NRRA website.

On May 12, 2014 Councillor Wong-Tam and City staff hosted a meeting for residents to learn more about the Chorley Park Trail and to ask questions of City staff and project leads.

On June 9, 2014 the City convened a public meeting to present new design options and to receive comment from residents after receiving concerns from residents about the planned asphalt switchback design.

Below are the materials provided at the meeting and a summary of the feedback received to date.

Stakeholder Working Group

In October 2014, a Chorley Park Trail Design Stakeholder Working Group of 30 community members was formed to provide advice on recommended trail design principles and elements. See all materials and summaries from the three working group meetings.

Results of the working group process are summarized in the following document:

For a more accessible version, read a text only description

Consultation Meeting for People with Disabilities

In January 21, 2015 the city hosted a Consultation Meeting for People with Disabilities to receive their input on various aspects of the potential design of the Chorley Park Trail, including slope, passing, resting and viewing areas, and other relevant accessibility features. The context for this meeting and its role at this stage in the process is explained in the Accessibility Update Memo written by the project team that was presented to the Stakeholder Working Group in November 2014.

Below are the materials that were presented at the meeting and a summary report that includes feedback received from participants.


The outcome of all stakeholder and public consultations, is summarised in the following document:

For a more accessible version, read a text only description

Trail pre-construction notification will be posted and distributed in early 2017, with construction work anticipated to begin in the summer of 2017 and completed by the end of the year.

The Chorley Park Trail Design Stakeholder Working Group was formed in October 2014 with the following mandate:

To provide advice to the City of Toronto on recommended trail design principles and elements that are suitable and feasible for the Chorley Park trail connection.

The group had 30 members representing a wide range of stakeholder interests. The group had three formal meetings, chaired by a third-party professional facilitator. Outputs from the working group were used as prioritized advice to the City, who is responsible for the final decisions on trail design and implementation. See Chorley Working Group Terms of Reference (PDF).

The final results of from Working Group process are summarized in the following report:

For a more accessible version, read a text only description

Below are all the meeting materials and summaries.

Meeting 1 - October 14, 2014

2014 Chorley Park site visit, participants listening to speaker at base of a unstable path on the ravine slope

2014 Chorley Park site visit, the working group is walking up one of the switchback trail in the Don Valley Brick Works Park

The first Working Group meeting began with a site walk on the Chorley Park hillside and at existing switchbacks trails in Don Valley Brick Works Park.  Once indoors, the focus of the meeting was creating an initial list of key factors to consider when designing the trail, recognizing what common ground could be found on these topics, and where further discussion was needed most.
Meeting summary and materials (PDF)

Meeting 2 - November 27, 2014

Chorley trail working group second meeting

Chorley trail working group second meeting

The second workshop focused on understanding the City's obligations for providing an accessible trail connection (i.e. for people with disabilities), comparing various trail design options, and recognizing preferences in key trail design elements.

 All City prepared materials presented to the working group are included below.

Information Materials :

Meeting Summary (PDF)

Update Note from the Facilitator of Chorley Park Trail Design Working Group - July 2015

NOTE: In between meeting 2 & 3, in January 2015 the City hosted a separate consultation meeting for people with disabilities concerning requirements for Chorley Park Trail Connection. Read summary of January 2015 meeting with people with disabilities.

Meeting 3 - September 9, 2015

 Graph showing working group response to having a natural path through the forested area. 1 - no support, 1 - moderate support, 20 - strong support

A graph showing the levels of working group support for different types of material to be used in the construction of the stairs, with stone having overwhelming support  ahead of concrete, wood and steel.

The goal of the final workshop was to get feedback on the new trail design concept, drafted to best meet both stakeholder recommendations and City obligations.  Feedback was focused on remaining optional elements where stakeholder preferences could be most impactful.

Materials

Following meeting #3, the City produced the following to address outstanding questions about trail accessibility requirements:

After a final meeting with representatives of the Resident Associations and Friends of Chorley Park, the City issued the following final plan:

For a more accessible version, read a text only description

The City would like to thank all the volunteers who dedicated many hours to participate in the consultations and we appreciate everyone's patience during the months it took to realize this new plan.

Trail pre-construction notification will be posted and distributed summer 2016, with construction work anticipated to begin in the fall of 2016 and completed in early 2017.


The Chorley Park Trail Design Stakeholder Working Group was formed in October 2014 with the following mandate:

To provide advice to the City of Toronto on recommended trail design principles and elements that are suitable and feasible for the Chorley Park trail connection.

The group had 30 members representing a wide range of stakeholder interests. The group had three formal meetings, chaired by a third-party professional facilitator. Outputs from the working group were used as prioritized advice to the City, who is responsible for the final decisions on trail design and implementation. See Chorley Working Group Terms of Reference (PDF).