Corktown Common

One of Toronto’s newest parks

In one corner of the park there is a plaque that commemorates the William Davies Company, once the owners of the land and buildings in this part of the city.

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“From 1874 to 1927, this site was home to the William Davies Company, reputed to be the largest pork packing plant in the British Empire. Established in 1857 by William Davies (1831-1921), the company made its fortune preparing and exporting cured sides of pork to England. Later, its products were sold through William Davies Company shops, one of Canada’s first store chains. In its buildings here, the innovative company controlled the entire process from slaughter to shipment. Processing nearly 500,000 hogs annually by 1900, the company contributed to the city’s nickname “Hogtown”.
In 1892, Joseph Flavelle (1858-1939) became a partner and managing director of the company. Under Flavelle, the business flourished until the 1920’s when it was hurt by falling markets. The William Davies Company merged with three other packing firms to create Canada Packers, which continued to operate from this site until 1932. The last of the company’s buildings here were demolished in the 1990’s.”

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An old coloured map of the area now called the West Don Lands.   This illustration also appeared in a blogTO post about the William Davies Company. http://www.blogto.com/city/2013/10/how_toronto_got_the_nickname_hogtown/

An old illustrated map of the area now called the West Don Lands. The red letters are as follows:
A – Gooderham & Worts, now the Distillery District
B – William Davies Company, now Corktown Common
C – CNR tracks
D – the Don River
A version of this illustration also appeared in a blogTO post about the William Davies Company.

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The last remains of the pork processing business disappeared long ago. After remaining vacant for a number of years, the site was developed into a park as part of the West Don Lands rebuilding.

 

small trees and other greenery , with a path and bench in the middle, in the foreground and the Toronto skyline is in the background.

The park is starting to look a lot greener as the plants and trees grow. This photo was taken from on top of one of the man made hills in the park. August 2014

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A black, grey, white and orange butterfly on a pink flower

There are now lots of butterflies….

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A bee and a butterfly on a tall upright light purple flower.

… and bees

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a metal and wood structure

A pavilion made of steel and wood sits atop a small hill in the middle of the play area. The pavilion was designed by by Maryann Thompson Architects of Boston The blue and green ovals are where there are fountains for warm weather water play.

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a woman is sitting on a bench, looking at her phone.  Behind her there are a number of buildings under construction

Looking west, and slightly north, from the pavilion towards the downtown area.  West Don Lands redevelopment in the immediate background.  Autumn 2013 (the building under construction is now almost complete – see above)

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Part of a large red metal sculpture is in the foreground, looking past it you can see the pavillaion on top of a small hill that is part of Corktown Common park

Looking northeast through the wood and red metal sculpture,  ‘No Shoes’, by Mark di Suvero.  May 2014

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Newly planted trees surroounded by grass.

The trees are starting to grow. They don’t look like much at the moment but give them time!

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raspberries, not quite ripe, on a raspberry canes

There is even a large raspberry bush but by the looks of it, only the birds and insects have found it!

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A map, screenshot from google maps, of West Don Lands and vicinity.

A map of the area today. The red X marks the spot of the new park.

When the park opened in 2013, urbantoronto.ca had an article about it.  You can read  about it  here

Some wonderful aerial views of the area can be seen in another wordpress blog

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