Christie Pits (originally Willowvale Park) is a 8.9 hectare park located at 750 Bloor Street West and Christie Street, across from the Christie subway station. The park features the Alex Duff Memorial Pool, located at its edge are three baseball diamonds, a multi-sport field, basketball and volleyball courts, an artificial ice rink, a children's playground and labyrinth, a splash pad, a wading pool, and a community garden. The sides of the pits are highly sloped and are used in winter for tobogganing and related activities. Garrison Creek runs under the park, converted to a storm sewer at the turn of the 20th century. This facility has street parking around the outskirts of the park.
The park was named after the Christie Sand Pits which were on the location until the early 1900s. The sand pits had been named after Christie Street, which was named after William Mellis Christie, co-founder of the Christie & Brown Cookie Company, now known simply as Mr. Christie.
On April 4, 2017, Toronto and East York Community Council adopted the naming of the artificial ice rink in Christie Pits as the Sid Smith Artificial Ice Rink. Sidney James Smith, was born July 11, 1925 in Toronto. As a youngster, he practiced on the ice rink in Christie Pits every chance he could. This is where his love for hockey began. He played in minor leagues in Toronto and later with the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League. Sid Smith played his entire NHL career as a left-winger with the Toronto Maple Leafs from approximately 1946-58. He was team captain from 1955 to 1956. Sid Smith played in seven All-Star Games, won three Stanley Cups, the John B. Sollenberger Trophy and two Lady Byng Memorial Trophies.
Then and Now: Parks and Recreation through the years!