Mountain bikers who were evicted from an unsanctioned bike park in High Park a year ago can look forward to having a new, city-approved array of jumps, ramps and stunts in place by late fall.
The Parks, Forestry and Recreation department announced Monday the new off-road bike park will be located just south of High Park, on a strip of land north of Lake Shore Boulevard West, between Colborne Lodge Drive and Ellis Avenue.
The city is hiring British Columbia's Jay Hoots – billed as the most experienced bike park designer in North America – to design the dirt, rock and wood features. Elements will include a skills trail, pump tracks, jump lines, a large drop and a wall ride.
"If Jay Hoots is doing it, it will be fantastic," according to Timothy Charles, founder and past president of the Toronto Off-Road Bicycling Association. Mr. Hoots has designed 39 bike parks, mostly in British Columbia and Alberta, including a 1.8 hectare site in Hinton, Alta.
Mr. Charles, a 48-year-old general contractor, said the park won't be the domain of riders from any one age group.
"It's great news for neighbourhood kids, teenagers, adults – anyone who loves getting out for some outdoor activity," he said.
Scott Laver, a natural environment specialist from Parks, Forestry and Recreation, said the park will include picnic benches, drinking fountains and a family area.
The site is currently occupied by a sales office for a nearby condominium development, a mowed lawn and utility boxes, Mr. Laver said. Construction will start this fall and the park will ultimately take up about a third of the land between Ellis Avenue and Colborne Lodge Road.
He said the original plan was to locate the new park in High Park, but that after consulting with bikers it became clear there was demand for a park that was much larger than what could have fit into the proposed High Park site.
Mr. Charles said Kitchener, Mississauga and Markham all have similar parks and that the Toronto park will be an overdue addition to the city's store of recreational facilities.
"Now we can begin moving forward so these types of parks are everywhere, like skateboarding parks or tennis and basketball courts," he said.
There is an open house at 3 Ellis Avenue on June 21 at 6:30 p.m. for further information and design consultation.