It's a non-descript expanse of grass bordered by train tracks; there's no apparent reason to choose this patch as a place to honour one of Canada's contributors to world literature.
Wrong, said Councillor Michael Walker ( St. Paul's) at yesterday's official opening of Toronto's Robertson Davies Park, located on Avenue Road just north of the CP Rail tracks.
Pointing up Avenue Road, Mr. Walker recalled that the writer was educated at Upper Canada College, and then served as founding master of Massey College at the University of Toronto.
As well, Mr. Davies lived for 15 years at Oaklands, the condo at the corner of Avenue Road and Cottingham Street. "This was Robertson Davies's community," Mr. Walker said.
And it was two community members, lawyers Susan Neumayer and Rob Macmillan, admirers of such Davies novels as Fifth Business , who contacted Mr. Walker 18 months ago about renaming the park.
Yesterday, family and friends and about 30 neighbours turned up to watch Brenda Davies, the writer's widow, elegant in a broad-brimmed hat, unveil a sign and a bronze plaque.
Also on hand was Brenda Librecz, the city's general manager of parks. She said that this newest of Toronto's 1,400 parks will become less non-descript under the city's 25-year parks renovation strategy: "Those parks with themes, and this is one, will be considered for special cultural activities."
People in attendance had varying ideas about how to make this a more Daviesian park.
The writer's biographer, Judith Grant, suggested a small bandshell or stage, referencing his love of theatre. His editor and publisher, Douglas Gibson, proposed "a memento mori sundial." Mr. Davies's great-nephew, Michael Davies, envisioned a bronze sculpture of books with open pages.
A friend, Professor James Carley, said simply: "Benches. Quiet places where you sit and think."
Mr. Davies lived in Toronto until his death on Dec. 2, 1995, at age 82.