Christie Pits Park – A Beautiful Park Named After a Bygone Quarry

1922 - A baseball game at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1922 – A baseball game at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)

Christie Pits Park is located at ‪750 Bloor St W‬ (bordered by Christie St, Barton Ave and Crawford St) in Toronto.

The Park’s History

Until the turn of the 20th century, the land the park is on was originally called Christie Sand Pits. Named after Christie St, which itself was named after the co-founder of Christie, Brown & Company (now Mr Christie), William Mellis Christie.

Garrison Creek is under the park and around the early 1900’s, the creek was converted to a storm sewer. In 1908, the sand and gravel pits became Willowvale Park.

Riot at Christie Pits

On August 16, 1933, there was an anti-Semitic riot at the park. After the end of a playoff baseball game, young men from the “Pit Gang” provoked the mostly Jewish “Harbord Playground” team. This resulted in a 5-hour riot and while no one died, there were many injuries.

Sports and the Park Today

2020 - Christie Pits Park with the CN Tower in the background, looking southeast
2020 – Christie Pits Park with the CN Tower in the background, looking southeast

Founded in 1969, the Toronto Maple Leafs team of the Intercounty Baseball League, call the park home turf.

In 1983, the greenspace and sports facility was renamed Christie Pits Park.

Today, the 8.9 hectares (21.9 acres) park with sloped sides features 3 baseball diamonds, a swimming pool, basketball and volleyball courts, a multi-sport field (soccer/football/rugby), an artificial ice rink, a children’s playground with a wading pool and splash pad, a ping pong table and a community garden. While the park is in the Christie Pits neighbourhood, it also borders Koreatown and Bloordale Village.

There’s limited street parking available and it’s across from the Christie subway station.

Christie Pits Park Photos

2020 - Christie Pits Park
2020 – Christie Pits Park
1907 - Sand and gravel excavation in Christie Pits with the Ossington Ave Fire Hall tower in background, looking southwest
1907 – Sand and gravel excavation in Christie Pits with the Ossington Ave Fire Hall tower in background, looking southwest
1909 - Workmen and horses filling in the edge of the pit with skaters on the ice below
1909 – Workmen and horses filling in the edge of the pit with skaters on the ice below
1910 - The sand pool at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park) - a note with the photo says the pond won't hold water
1910 – The sand pool at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park) – a note with the photo says the pond won’t hold water
1912 - Professional hockey players at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1912 – Professional hockey players at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1914 - A sign prohibiting search for mushrooms at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1914 – A sign prohibiting search for mushrooms at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1914 - Bobsled run at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1914 – Bobsled run at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1920 - Cricket and baseball at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1920 – Cricket and baseball at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1922 - Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park) at Bloor & Christie Sts, looking northwest
1922 – Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park) at Bloor & Christie Sts, looking northwest
1922 - A baseball game at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1922 – A baseball game at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1933 - The riot that took place at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park) on August 16, 1933
1933 – The riot that took place at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park) on August 16, 1933
2020 - Riots at Christie Pits heritage plaque
2020 – Riots at Christie Pits heritage plaque
1934 - Hockey rinks at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1934 – Hockey rinks at Willowvale Park (now Christie Pits Park)
1991 - A baseball game at Christie Pits Park
1991 – A baseball game at Christie Pits Park
2020 - Christie Pits Park with the CN Tower in the background, looking southeast
2020 – Christie Pits Park with the CN Tower in the background, looking southeast
2020 - Stands at the baseball diamond at Christie Pits Park
2020 – Stands at the baseball diamond at Christie Pits Park
2021/1922 - Christie Pits Park once Willowvale Park at Bloor and Christie Sts, looking northwest
2021/1922 – Christie Pits Park once Willowvale Park at Bloor and Christie Sts, looking northwest (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Sub Series 52, Item 1026)
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