With all the amazing public parks in the city, Christie Pits near Bloor and Christie is a notable one. Originally called Willowvale Park, a name that never caught on, and was later referred to as Christie Pits, named for the sand pits in the park and William Mellis Christie, co-founder of the Christie & Brown Cookie Company (“Mr. Christie”).
Across the street from Christie Subway, the sloping park is a large one at 21.9 acres and known for its sports facilities, outdoor swimming pool and steep toboggan hills. With three baseball diamonds, it’s the place to practice your swing, from big league players to summertime tee ball. Here are five hidden gems in this family-friendly neighbourhood.
Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park), 1922
1. Free outdoor movies.
After a temporary hiatus, the Christie Pits Film Festival returns for free outdoor flicks in the park. It’s a great date night under the stars and the line-up this year is a fun mix of Hollywood blockbusters and Alfred Hitchcock thrillers. Grab your lawn chairs and enjoy! Sundays by donations, July 5-August 16.
2. Semi-pro baseball.
Christie Pits is all about baseball. It’s home base to semi-pro leagues like the Toronto Maple Leafs or minor ones like those pint-sized tee ballers. Catch a game almost every weekend on the Dominico Field.
3. Go organic.
Just one block south of the park is the neighbourhood’s largest organic grocery store. Fiesta Farms and its adjacent garden store is an independently-owned shop with a large variety of fresh produce and organic products you can’t find anywhere else. There’s someone to help carry groceries to your car (a major bonus if you’re with small kids) or pack a picnic and walk to the park.
4. Water slide!
Inside the park is the Alex Duff Memorial Pool, an outdoor swimming pool with a two-storey water slide and warm splash area for babies. Opened daily in the summer with extended hours on those extra hot days, the pool is packed with every age group.
5. Pop-up festivals.
There’s always something happening in and around the park, especially in the warmer seasons. A GMO-free festival and organic farmers market, the annual Koreatown Spring Festival, folk and art events––get your face painted or just relax and enjoy some live music.
What are your hidden neighbourhood gems? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list!
Photo via Facebook, City of Toronto Archives.