Toronto has an amazing number of public spaces. You could visit four parks a day, seven days a week, and it would still take you about a full year to see every single one of them.
But if you were meeting a friend for an afternoon in Oriole Park, Stanley Park, or Regent Park, you might need to be a little more specific. A handful of Toronto parks require more than just their name to be properly identified.
Duplicate park names often, but not always, exist as relics of the city’s fragmented planning prior to the merger.
An example is Oriole Park, or maybe I should say Oriole Parks, two parks about 10 kilometers apart that have nothing in common except their name and approximate size.
One of these is on Oriole Parkway in the Yonge and Davisville area, while the other can be found between Don Mills Road East and West near Fairview Mall in North York.
In most cases, the explanation for duplicate park names is really quite simple.
According to a city spokesman, “Toronto has more than 1,500 parks, and in more than one instance these parks share the same name, for example Oriole Park – North York and Oriole Park – Toronto and Regent Park – Etobicoke and Regent Park – Toronto.”
After reviewing the matter, City of Parks, Forestry & Recreation officials confirmed to blogTO that, at least in the case of the duplicate Oriole Parks, “both of these parks were designated prior to the merger.”
While the two eponymous parks may both be in the same city today, this was not the case before the 1998 Toronto merger merged the former city with East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, and York into a single entity.
This means that the Toronto and North York governments have both independently named their own Oriole parks, and neither has been renamed in the 24 years since.
Similar post-amalgamation oopses can be seen all over the Toronto map, such as saying you’ll meet a friend on the corner of King and George might have a different meaning to someone who lives downtown than for someone who lives in the downtown Weston area.
When the metropolis was founded in 1998, there were originally a staggering 103 of these duplicate street names, although most of these have been corrected through name changes or disambiguation on the signage.
But duplicate park and street names will live on.