Cawthra Park may soon be renamed to recognize a prominent queer Canadian, says Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
Wong-Tam says she already has a name in mind, but she is staying silent until she gets the stamp of approval from city staff and feedback from community members. She says the City of Toronto has a naming policy that must be followed before the name can be released.
“It will be someone who has given tremendously to the community,” she says. “I think there will be some pretty broad-based support for the name I am putting forward . . . This is someone who has been a big supporter of LGBT rights, who has stood beside us during the bathhouse raids and never really taken a bow for contributions for sexual liberation.”
Wong-Tam is proposing either a renaming of the entire park or just the new gateway entrance. “We are still very early on in this process,” she says.
Last year, Wong-Tam told Xtra the City found $450,000 for “park improvements.” At the time, she said the funding for the park renewal comes from the Section 37 grant the city negotiated in exchange for granting a zoning exception to a new rental apartment tower at 66 Isabella St.
Park construction will take place between the end of Pride 2013 and the opening of WorldPride 2014, so that neither event is disturbed by the renovation work.
Design plans are not yet ready to be released, she says. “There are all kinds of changes coming. There’s a new lighting strategy. They are redesigning all the park furniture. There is a lot of green space coming. We want the park to be very flexible in use.”