Posts Tagged ‘Ulysses Curtis’

 

mural, blue letters on yellow, XOXO Downsview

below: Ulysses Curtis mural by Danilo Deluxo McCallum.  Curtis (1926-2013) played for the Toronto Argonauts football team in the 1950s.  He was considered to be the first black player on the team.

mural, black man with helmet and shoulder harness straps

The Downsview area and airplanes have been linked since the late 1920s when land here was being used for airfields—Barker Field, the Canadian Express Airport and the Toronto Flying Club.  In 1929 de Havilland Aircraft of Canada purchased 70 acres of farmland along Sheppard Avenue West.  In the mid-1950s de Havilland moved its operations to newly constructed modern facilities to the southeast.  De Havilland Canada was sold to Boeing in 1988 and then to Bombardier in 1992.

below: Bombardier facility and GO tracks on the east side of the park.   Downsview Park station at the north end of the park connects the GO system with the TTC’s Line 1.

Bombardier facility beside GO tracks in Downsview

In 2017, the Sesquicentennial Trail was developed on part of the site.  Sesquicentennial means 150 years, as in Canada was 150 years old in 2017.

below: The North Plaza of the trail features a semi-circular wall of rusted steel with cutout silhouettes of real historical photographs showing various people, buildings, and airplanes that was designed by John Dickson.

rusted metal art installation with sections of wall with cutout pictures, airplane windsock in front

part of an art installation, rusted metal with cut out pictures, cut out words that say danger low flying aircraft stop until clear

two pictures cutout of rusted metal

Small models of four of the aircraft built by DeHaviland ‘fly’ over the trail – the DH.60 Gipsy Moth, the Dash 8, the DHC-6 Twin Otter, and the Mosquito.   They cover years of both DeHaviland and aircraft history from the bi-winged Moth in the mid-1920’s to the turboprop Dash8. The later was developed in the early 1980s and is still in production today.

plaque describing 4 of the types of aircraft once produced in Downsview, DH.60 Gipsy Moth, the Dash 8, the DHC-6 Twin Otter, and the Mosquito

two model airplanes on pillars, look like they are flying above a pond, park, and new apartments under construction

below: High overhead, a DHC-Beaver, a bush plane developed in 1947 here at Downsview.

large metal flat silhouette of beaver airplane on tall metal poles as public art in a park

Grounded! But still great for child’s play.

playground at Downsview Park, yellow wood airplane on ground with pretend control tower

Hundreds, and probably thousands, of trees have been planted on the site.

two red muskoka chairs near the top of a hill, overlooking the trees in the valley below

below: Tulip tree

autumn colours on a tulip tree

below: Other areas have been set aside for native grasses and wildflowers such as milkweed, purple coneflower, and wild lupine.

plaque at donswview park describing tallgrass prairie and three of the plants that grow there

below: There is a large hill in the park and this is the view to the southwest from there.

Downsview view from hill in the park, looking southwest over a path, some apartment buildings, and rest of Toronto skyline

below: At the top of the hill stands an installation of blue flags along with two of the many red muskoka chairs scattered around the park.   This is “Wind Rose” by Future Simple Studio. This picture doesn’t show it very well but at the northwest corner, two of the flags are not blue – one is black and the other white (black for west and white for north).  These two flags, “The Turtle and the Traveller,” were designed by Mi’kmaq artists Chris and Greg Mitchell.   They are best seen when the wind is blowing!

blue flags hanging from poles, art installation at Downsview Park

maple leaves in autumn

small bird feeder on a tree, with a blue roof with red flower painted on the roof

Downsview has also been associated with the military.  In 1937, the Royal Canadian Air Forces expropriated portions of the site to establish the RCAF Station Downsview.  The site once had two residential areas with barracks – one for the enlisted soldiers and their families and another for the commissioned officers and their families.  Over the years the base expanded to include the original de Havilland lands.  In the 1960s, the military expropriated the lands adjacent to the Downsview Airport and closed 2.5 miles of Sheppard Avenue between Dufferin and Keele Streets.  That is why Sheppard Avenue swings north around what is now Downsview Park.

two small bird houses hanging against a tree, white round one with red conical shaped roof

In 1996 CFB Toronto officially closed.  Parc Downsview Park Inc. was established in 1999 to build and operate Downsview Park but administrative control over the land wasn’t transferred to the Park until 2006.

very red crimson maple leaves in fall

below: ArtworxTO Hub North with a mural by Mediah.  At the time, the site was being used by a film crew.

mediah mural at arthub at Downsview park

below: Another mural on the exterior of the ArtworxTO Hub building.  This one was painted by Kreecha.

mural at arthub at Downsview park

stickers on the back of a dark coloured car, robots shooting at stick figures, The Empire Doesn't Care about your stick figure family