Jay Hoots unveils plans for new Sunnyside Bike Park in Toronto at last night’s open house on the site of the soon-to-be constructed park. Construction begins later this summer on a now unused strip of land just below the Gardiner expressway in the Lakeshore Boulavard and Ellis Avenue area along the waterfront.
A small group was on hand last night at the site of the future park where Jay Hoots, the parks designer, spoke about his vision for the park.
This park has been long coming and I am so pumped we are at this point. I have been involved with the Toronto scene now for over 6 years and have watched the mountain bike scene not only grow, but mature. I am impressed with the level of care that riders have and the appreciation for their trails. With this in mind, I think the park will be used a lot! However I think the location is the key. While commuters inch along the Gardener and Lakeshore they will have no choice but to watch bike riders ‘free’ and having fun – which I hope can only inspire hands off the steering wheel and onto grips, even if only on the weekend. I also think that once the park is built, neighbours, other trail users and all the negative folk will start to understand that mountain biking isn’t painful and there is a significant relationship between riders and nature, ultimately reducing their fears and increasing opportunity for more parks and more trails. – Jay Hoots
Concepts for the park were on display and Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette shared a few words with the crowd.
At a community consultation held last October, residents were interested in finding a more appropriate place than High Park protected areas for off-road cyclists. The cyclists, naturally, wanted somewhere to do their thing and were pretty pleased to hear Jay Hoots was involved. He’s the most experienced bike park designer in North America. – Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette
Jay Hoots is one of the pioneers behind bike parks worldwide and with nearly 40 parks and 30 trails under his belt, there is no better candidate to build this first-ever mountain bike skills park in Toronto. Hoots’ concepts for this park include his staple elevated bridges, berms, rollers, jumps, as well as rock and log trails. The park is broken down into five zones.
- Skills Zones
- Jump Line (advanced & expert)
- Jump Line (beginner, intermediate & advanced)
- Drop and Wall Ride
Jay pledges that this park will be every bit as good as his other world renowned parks with their trademark line options and ‘flow’. The park will make use of an already built showroom, remaining from a condominium project, which will be part of an amenities area including washrooms, benches, picnic tables, drinking fountains as well as a shaded seating area. The park also incorporates many naturalized areas making use of existing trees with plans to plant more.
Trees not only provide shade, but create a great atmosphere for being in nature that a lot of people are looking for when they’re riding. We plan to build around the existing trees and will be planting many additional trees and shrubs to enhance the natural environment. This project is being led by the City of Toronto’s Forestry department, so protecting and enhancing greenspaces is central to why we are building this park. Ultimately we want to enhance the natural environment by allowing people to use and interact with it.. – Scott Laver, Natural Environment Specialist, City of Toronto Urban Forestry
The Sunnyside Bike Park incorporates a series of different areas that provide specific ride opportunities but everything can tie together. The park has a pump track zone, Huge jump zone, Wall ride, Drop Zones and elevated ladder rides with skinnies. There is a perimeter trail that gets you from section to section or you can just hang out and pull a trail-a-bike with the kids. I tried to keep as many trees as possible and we will be planting more so the park with have lots of shade. I am trying some new concepts with tying advanced, and intermediate lines together with some beginner stuff so that everyone can ride together but not have cross traffic issues. I think I have a precedent-setting number of lines and the park is going to really provide huge opportunity for riders to create all sorts of new lines…awesome! – Jay Hoots
While thunderstorms were surely behind a relatively low turnout, general disbelief that a park is actually being built was likely a contributing factor. No one can believe this is actually going to happen and mountain bikers in our region have not yet had an occasion such as this to show their solidarity. Now we will be put to the test. With so few mountain bike trails being built, the skepticism is warranted. These public designs and breaking-ground in the fall will make the park very real, very quickly.
The site is perfectly located near bike lanes, public transit, regional and local trails and has ample parking nearby. It is also a very visible site which will help promote and expand the reach of off-road cycling. We felt this was a great location for this type of park because it is an under-utilised greenspace that is close to existing recreation areas (High Park and Sunnyside Park). – Scott Laver
The fact that the city chose to build a mountain bike skills park over the plethora of other things they were pressured to build here is inspiring. All a direct result of the dismantling of the High Park Dirt Jumps, this park was born. The ecologically sensitive area has been restored and this park will replace it; eliminating the need for rogue building on private and crown land.
Yes. We recognize there is an unmet demand for this type of recreational facility in other parts of the city. We know that if this park is a success, it will open the doors for similar projects across Toronto. – Scott Laver
The new bike park will address the lack of off-road cycling venues in the west end of the city. It is hoped that it will reduce or eliminate informal parks being created in ecologically sensitive areas in the High Park neighbourhood. The project is a concrete example of Park, Forestry and Recreation’s work with the off-road cycling community to protect the natural environment and trails system. – Councillor Sarah Doucette
Whether this is the first or the last park erected in the city will depend largely on its integration into the community and united support from the cycling population at large. This park, and our local mountain bike scene will be under a microscope and in the public eye like never before. It is crucial that cyclists everywhere rally for this park and others like it. Now is the time when each of you must become an ambassador to this sport. Credit must be given to parks such as Joyride, an indoor park in Markham, for paving the way and illustrating the demand and potential success of parks such as this. No longer will we have to rely on television to define our sport to the general public, thousands of motorists stuck in rush hour traffic along the Lakeshore will see for themselves the value in this. Kids riding bikes in the outdoors, that’s the bottom line.
What is certain is that the park is needed and that it presents one more avenue for families to enjoy the green areas in the city and to be introduced to the great sport of mountain biking. Having Jay Hoots design this park and for it to occupy such a highly visible location in the city is sure to draw much needed attention to the sport. Now it’s up to us to show them our best.