Some local residents are up in arms over a locked gateway that they say denies them access to a long-beloved walking and jogging route in midtown Toronto’s South Hill neighbourhood.
On one of his regular runs in April 2022, local resident Edward R. Anderson, 77, was surprised to find that the normally open entrance to Clarendon Crescent at Poplar Plains Road was padlocked shut with signage posted that warned against trespassing.
The small enclave of heritage homes, in Ward 12 (Toronto—St. Paul), had been a shortcut on the scenic route Anderson had been jogging for about 30 years before, he says, Clarendon Crescent homeowners decided to put up a padlock last year.
“It was ridiculous that they should lock it,” Anderson, who last August created a website to rally against the decision, tells Post City. “They’ve got no right.”
Coun. Josh Matlow, who represents Ward 12, has publicly denounced the decision to keep the gate, which Anderson says has been upgraded with a keypad lock, closed.
“I think it’s sad and shameful that property owners have decided to block access to a neighbourhood street to local residents. It appears this is an anomaly in the City of Toronto, where the street itself is private property,” read an email statement to Post City attributed to Matlow. The councillor’s office has contacted city staff to look deeper into Clarendon Crescent’s status as a private street. “In the meantime, I encourage the owners of Clarendon Crescent to reopen the street for public access.”
In an email, a city spokesperson, who confirmed that Matlow’s office had been in contact with Toronto Transportation Services, told Post City that the municipality’s legal team has confirmed that the street, which is still accessible at one end via Clarendon Avenue, is, in fact, private property.
The crescent is not viewable on Google Maps’ Street View, although all the other surrounding neighbourhood roads are. While the city handles garbage collection on the street, Clarendon Crescent homeowners are on the hook financially for upkeep such as snow removal and pothole repairs, according to the city spokesperson.
While Anderson’s website, titled Fortress Clarendon Crescent, has received support, some in the comments section sympathize with the homeowners.
“I’m sorry but I do agree with the residents of this neighbourhood. Ever since Covid we have experienced a tremendous increase of traffic through our neighborhood,” read one comment. “If these people take care of their own neighbourhood, they should be able to do what they want. Consider it a gated community. Leave them alone. There are lots of places to walk.”