Coaster Enthusiasts of Canada

Closed Canadian Parks




Long Branch
(1884 - 1916? - Present)

    Located between Long Branch Avenue & 31st Street, and south of Lake Promenade in western greater Toronto, this waterfront park was started in 1884 by a group of investors, headed by Thomas Wilkie. They built a distinguished hotel and cottages overlooking the waters of Lake Ontario. The park grew in popularity but little is known about the early and middle years, nor about any amusements there. Since there was a beach, there was likely at least swimming and boating available.

    One note of distinguisment is that one of Canada's first airports was opened there in 1915. It was either initially part of, or it became a branch of, the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company that year. John McCurdy, pilot of The "Silver Dart", (in 1909, the first airplane to fly in the British Empire at Baddeck, Nova Scotia), became the airport's first manager.

    In 1916 Lake Shore Boulevard, about eight blocks north of the park, was paved making access to the area easier. The population increased because of this and many of the summer residences were bought for year-round occupation. No one built more to accommodate summer visitors and the park fell out of favour.

    There is also a report that the Canadian military used Long Branch for aircraft training during part of The Great War, but it's unclear if this means the park or not. Perhaps some or all of it was taken over for war-time purposes and the park never reopened afterwards. Training in the area began officially February 27, 1917. Maybe the paving of the road in 1916 was the start of preparation for the military's occupation. The airport was run by the Royal Flying Corps during World War I but was closed in the year after the end of the war. Today, an Ontario Historical plaque, and the street name "Aviation Road" in Mississauga honour it.

    Currently, the former park lands are surrounded by apartments, including a few built on the site of the old hotel. However, the city of Etobicoke (now part of Toronto) has kept some of the area as a day-use park, even to the point of taking over some illegally land-filled area of the lake. There are trails and benches, benches, a playground and gazebo.

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