2014 Villain: Stop the Chorley Park Switchback Activists
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2014 Villain: Stop the Chorley Park Switchback Activists

Nominated for: the worst kind of NIMBYism.

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until 5 p.m. on December 30. At noon on December 31, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.


If you’ve never been to Chorley Park, you’re probably not alone. It’s a secluded piece of parkland in the heart of Rosedale, a lovely little spot where you can walk your dog or just enjoy some nature. Because it’s not conveniently accessible for most Torontonians—the only way to get there is by making your way through the richest parts of Rosedale—most people don’t know about it. The City proposed a switchback paved path through the park that would connect up with the existing trail through the Don Valley Brickworks park, giving the public better access to Chorley Park. The switchback would also make the park safer to access, because it would replace a steep, unpaved dirt trail. The City held two years of consultations on the switchback, and everything seemed ready to go.

Until, that is, a group of “activists” started complaining that there had been insufficient consultation about the switchback and that creating a lousy paved path would destroy the park’s natural beauty. The City tried to engage these activists and come up with a compromise—which was a waste of time, because the Stop Chorley Park Switchback group’s aim appears to be to avoid any kind of switchback, or indeed any kind of trail that would link the park to the Brickworks, because they don’t want outsiders in what they appear to view as their own private park.

That’s it. That’s all the Chorley park brouhaha seems ever to have been about. Rich people, who are totally fine with uprooting literally anything on their own gigantic Rosedale estates, are suddenly adopting pious environmentalist positions and complaining that the switchback is a waste of taxpayer dollars. They don’t want people ruining “their” park by being there. There is simply no reason to oppose the switchback that’s founded on any sort of genuine principle. These are just affluent NIMBYs—and, accordingly, Villains.