Sport & Leisure

From the 1920s to the 1950s, Sunnyside Amusement Park was one of the best sites for sports and entertainment in Canada. It boasted, among other attractions, a roller coaster, merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, a well-used lakeside boardwalk, the Palais Royale dance hall, a band shell and a softball stadium. All that remains is the Bathing Pavilion and swimming pool, and the Palais Royale.

Sunnyside rides, c 1923 (courtesy Toronto Harbour Commission Archives).

The arrival of the Great Western Railway in the mid-1850s set up a conflict that would intensify over the years between public amenities and private interests. Highways followed. Most of Sunnyside was lost through the widening of Lakeshore Boulevard and the construction of the Gardiner Expressway in the 1950s. A network of pedestrian/cycling bridges over the transportation corridor now connects the old shoreline to the new park system and lakeshore.

Sports clubs emerged as the growth of the financial, commercial and industrial sectors combined with a rapidly expanding population, provided both the funds to start such organizations and the audiences to enjoy them. Toronto has had its fair share of sports triumphs (and failures), many of which happened on or near the waterfront.

A selection of sites from this theme is laid out in the trail The Active Waterfront.

The Stories