Community and Social Services

2017 Parks, Forestry & Recreation

Parks, Forestry & Recreation

2017 Operating Budget Overview

Parks, Forestry and Recreation provides a wide variety of leisure and recreation opportunities that include all Toronto residents while operating and maintaining parks, playing fields, playgrounds, recreation centres and amenities, along with trails, forests, meadows, marshes, and ravines.

Parks, Forestry and Recreation Program Map

View the PDF version of the program map in greater detail.

2017 Operating Budget Highlights

The total cost to deliver these services to Toronto residents is $453.536 million gross and $315.127 million net.

Through base reductions, operational efficiencies and increased revenues, the Program is able to fully offset $17.005 million in operating budget pressures arising from the opening of new parks and recreation facilities, salary and benefit increases, and inflationary pressures.   Service changes to reach 2.6% below the 2016 Approved Operating Budget are not included as these would significantly impact service levels.

Fast Facts

  • 1.1 million hours of Instructional and Leisure Drop-in Recreation programs with 10.2 million participant visits.
  • 4,400 hectares of maintained parkland with 1.4 million booked permit hours.
  • 8 Blue Flag beaches.
  • 16,000 Toronto Island ferry trips carrying 1.4 million passengers.
  • 475,546 Urban Forestry work orders including 113,600 trees planted in 2016.
  • 800,000 permit bookings and program registrations


  • Total Recreation Service Hours increased by 6% from 2014 to 2015 as a result of new major recreation facilities openings.  Future year service hours are projected to increase by 1% per year due to the opening of new recreation facilities such as the York Recreation Centre, Parkway Forest Outdoor Pool and Wellesly Indoor Pool.

Key Service Deliverables for 2017

Parks, Forestry and Recreation offers a diverse range of leisure and recreation programming while operating and maintaining its physical and natural assets. 

The 2017 Operating Budget will enable the Program to:

  • Deliver instructional and drop-in recreation programs for all ages that teach a new skill or improve the competency level in a variety of activities including swimming, skating, summer and holiday camps, fitness, sports and arts.
  • Provide self-directed recreational opportunities through permits for recreational facilities such as ice rinks, facilities, parks and sports fields to individuals and community groups. 
  • Provide clean, safe and well-maintained green space, park amenities and beaches including the management of natural areas through restoration and preservation activities.
  • Operate two animal attractions.
  • Provide transportation services to the Toronto Island Park through Ferry Operations.
  • Enhance the urban forest asset through investment in new trees, protection and maintenance of the existing asset, and planning for the future.
  • Participate in the development of key policies to guide parks and recreation system enhancement, including the TOcore study with City Planning, Parkland Strategy, and Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan.
  • Modernize and transform business processes by leveraging technology solutions including the replacement of the Recreation Registration and Permitting system, a new work order management system and an effective on-line self-serve channel for customers.

Our Key Issues & Priority Actions

  • The 2013-2017 Recreation Service Plan is focused on increasing participation, reducing financial barriers, ensuring equitable access, and improving program and service quality.
    • The 2017 Preliminary Operating Budget includes the full year cost of $0.913 million net for the opening of new recreation facilities including the York Recreation Centre.
  • The 2013-2017 Parks Service Plan aims to maintain quality parks and improve parks spaces.
    • The 2017 Preliminary Operating budget includes $2.465 million to operate and maintain new park developments completed in 2016 & 2017.
  • Urban Forestry continues to address the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation (until 2019) while maintaining core service levels.
    • $7.1 million for Year 7 of the EAB Plan is fully funded by Environmental Protection Reserve and the Sustainable Energy Reserve.
    • $2.1 million will be invested to advance tree maintenance in priority areas.

2017 Operating Budget Highlights

  • The 2017 Preliminary Operating Budget of $453.536 million gross and $315.127 million net provides funding for:
    • Community Recreation to deliver programming to 10.4 million participant visits.
    • Parks to maintain 4,419 hectares of parkland and plant 6,100 horticultural beds.
    • Urban Forestry to complete 482,065 work orders including 103,300 tree plantings.
  • This represents a decrease of 0.3% to the 2016 Approved Net Budget through measures taken based on the following:
    • Base expenditure reductions ($11.108 million)
    • Efficiency Savings ($3.206 million)
    • Service Adjustments ($0.690 million)
    • Revenue Changes ($2.333 million)
  • New and enhanced funding of $2.482 million gross and savings of $0.267 million net.
  • Staff complement decrease of 192.5 from 2016 to 2017.
  • The Program could not meet the -2.6% budget reduction target because of the operating budget pressures of $17.005 million net.

2017 - 2026 Capital Budget and Plan Overview

Parks, Forestry and Recreation provides a wide range of leisure and recreation opportunities to Toronto residents while operating and maintaining its assets.  

The primary focus of the 2017-2026 Preliminary Capital Budget and Plan totalling $1.204 billion is to preserve and protect existing assets in a state of good repair while meeting the demands of an expanding and changing City through services improvements and leveraging opportunities for growth in service delivery.  Specifically, SOGR funding of $631.535 million is included for major repair and rehabilitation of parks and recreation facilities.

The 10-Year Capital Plan provides funding for service improvement projects for park development and playground enhancements, new ferry boats for the Toronto Islands, the Davisville Community Pool, the replacement of the Don Mills Civitan Arena and major IT business transformation projects for program registration and work management.

Growth related initiatives such as the construction of the North East Scarborough Community Centre, Western North York Community Centre, Bessarion Community Centre, 40 Wabash Parkdale Community Centre, and the Canoe Landing Community Centre will be completed over the 10-year planning horizon.

Where the money goes?

The 2017–2026 Preliminary Capital Budget and Plan totalling $1.204 billion provides funding for:

  • Land Acquisitions
  • Outdoor Recreation Centres
  • Park Development
  • Playground & Water Play Areas
  • Parking Lots & Tennis Courts
  • Pools
  • Arenas
  • Community Centres
  • Special Facilities
  • Trails & Pathways
  • Environmental Initiatives
  • Facilities Components
  • Information Technology

Where the money comes from?

The Preliminary 10-Year Capital Plan requires:  

  • New debt funding of $684.736 million representing 56.9% of the Program's 10-year capital funding.
  • Capital financing of $167.809 million or 13.9% will be provided from various reserve funds.
  • Development Charges of $215.002 million or 17.9% will fund growth and service improvement projects. 
  • Other Revenues (Section 37, Section 42 Alternate Rate cash-in-lieu, and Section 45) totalling $135.804 million account for 11.3%.
  • Federal funding of $0.760 million from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150) to complete projects started in 2016.

State of Good Repair Backlog

The Preliminary 10-Year Capital Plan includes cash flow funding of $631.535 million for State of Good Repair to address the backlog. The SOGR backlog as a % of asset replacement value will decrease from 15.9% in 2017 to 7.7% in 2026 as state of good repair funding increases in the latter part of the 10-year period. 

Our Key Issues & Priority Actions

Addressing State of Good Repair needs and reducing the accumulated backlog continues to be a priority and undertaking regular condition surveys to monitor the backlog are critical to managing this need and planning future estimates.

  • The Preliminary 10-Year Capital Plan includes funding of $631.535 million for SOGR funding to address accumulated backlog of $454.498 million in 2017.

Recommitting to incorporating projects that support the delivery of the Council Approved Service Plans such as the 2013-2017 Recreation Service Plan, the 2013-2017 Parks Service Plan, the 2012-2022 Strategic Forest Management Plan, the Our Common Grounds (2004), and the Recreation Facilities Report (2004).

  • The Preliminary 10 Year Capital Plan includes funding of $234.407 million for the design and construction of 5 new community centers.

Meeting the compliance standards under Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) (AODA). 

  • Parks, Forestry and Recreation will continue with the multi-year implementation strategy to ensure City-owned facilities comply with the "City of Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines" (ADG) by 2025.

2017 Capital Budget Highlights

The 2017 Preliminary Capital Budget for Parks, Forestry, and Recreation of $142.715 million, excluding carry forward funding, will:

  • Continue the construction of the Wellesley Community Centre Pool ($5.025 million);
  • Continue with major business transformation projects including the Work Management System ($1.868 million), Registration, Permitting & Licensing System ($5.623 million) and Business Performance Management System ($0.800 million);
  • Complete Grange Park Construction ($2.284 million); Ramsden Park ($2.000 million); and Harbour Square Park ($1.110 million); and 
  • Continue with the design and construction of the Canoe Landing Community Centre ($12.535 million); and the Bessarion Community Centre ($8.507 million);
  • Complete the construction of the College Park Artificial Ice Rink ($2.000 million) and improvements to the Riverdale Farm Simpson House ($1.250 million).