7 News Archive

Leave Leslie Spit alone

By Steven Price Seven News, April 6, 1979

Toronto's Leslie Street Spit was probably the most successful and cheapest attraction of 1978.

According to a recent report of the Toronto Harbour Commissioners (THC), about 17,750 visits were made to the Aquatic Park, affectionately called the “spit.” This was about twice the 1977 turnout.

The THC and The City of Toronto paid under $18,000 for all the services, which included a bus, lifeguards, security, washrooms, etc. At about $1 per visit, did any other public recreation cost so little?

Why was the spit so popular in 1978? Dave Lewis, of Nursewood Rd., put it best: “There is no better place for fresh air, rugged scenery, waves, shoreline and wildlife in the Toronto area - it’s great!”

Also reported in the THC release were the results of a survey of visitors conducted in the summer. The single most popular suggestion for improvement offered by those surveyed was “Leave the spit as it is.”

Ian Brookes, of The Friends of the Spit steering committee was not surprised. “Our experience with visitors to the spit is that they go to relax and enjoy the outdoors. They don’t need – or want – more waterfront development. There’s enough of that elsewhere.”

As for the summer of 1979, plans are already underway to secure the same services and an earlier opening date than the first of June. One City Hall official, who asked not to be identified, stopped jogging long enough to chat about the spit: “There’s no doubt that the money is well spent. The city never regretted it. Neither did the THC. We all earned a few good points. The spit was the ‘in’ place to go this year. I expect that funding will go through much easier for 1979.”

This article was published in Seven News, Volume 9, Number 23, April 6, 1979