Silverbirch Boathouse—-Moving Forward

Image of the Silverbirch Boathouse from the City of Toronto Archives (1934)

Silverbirch Boathouse—-Moving Forward

Last Thursday we had a very exciting meeting about the Silverbirch Boathouse. The meeting was prompted by news from Parks Forestry & Recreation of a plan to increase public use of the site by issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a private operator to manage the facility. I asked that this process be slowed down and that the community be consulted.

What I Heard at the Meeting:

  • There is no desire for a private entity inside the Silverbirch boathouse;
  • As it stands today, the facility is not operating in a satisfactory way;
  • An array of good ideas for how the facility could be run;
  • Residents did not feel engaged in the process;
  • Current permit holders deserve proper communication and process with respect to the future of the facility.

I was heartened by the high degree of passion and the numerous constructive plans that were offered. After hearing the views of permit holders and residents, I have asked that Parks Forestry & Recreation not issue a RFP and instead investigate options for enhancement and activation that respect the buildings users and heritage. And, Parks, Forestry & Recreation has agreed to do so. No changes will be made to the operation of the facility until Parks, Forestry & Recreation staff develop a strategy to better involve the community to devise a future course of action.

Plans for a RFP and the imminent cancellation of permits have been cancelled.

This decision will ensure that this quiet section of our community remains un-commercialized and peaceful now, and in the future.

I am cognizant that this important and historic building could be better managed by the City. The community wants the Silverbirch boathouse to be run more effectively and transparently, and I believe the answer to this problem is increased community involvement and guidance.

Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff will contact permit holders, keen residents and local community groups soon with a strategy for public input and consultation.

Thank you,

Mary-Margaret McMahon


  1. Tod Lanigan..# 4 Silver Birch says:

    Thank you for your your email. It is great to hear that someone is listening. Thanks for all your work.

    • Edward Birnbaum says:

      HI Tod,

      Thank you for your email and your kind words.
      At Councillor McMahon’s direction, City of Toronto Recreation staff will be contacting permit holders and interested parties shortly to set up a working group to help guide the future of the boathouse.


      Edward Birnbaum
      Executive Assistant
      Office of Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon
      Ward 32, Beaches-East York
      Toronto City Hall
      100 Queen Street West, Suite B28
      Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

  2. p bartosh says:

    I am a ACTIVE boathoue permit holder since 1975. please keep me informed.


  3. Lynne Lathangue says:

    I am happy that there is information being shared about the future plans for the boathouse and that Councilor McMahon is keeping us all up to date on any changes with the future of the boathouse. Hmmm but the stinky porta potties is not a pretty sight, especially since the bathrooms were supposedly renovated last year at a large expense and time having them closed. I am not understanding the recent installation of two disgusting porta potties in the park at the bottom of the street??? Toilet paper strewn through the park not so nice.
    Help with correcting this eye sore would be appreciated.
    Again thanks for all the information about the future of the boathouse it is a lovely building and land mark.

    • Edward Birnbaum says:

      Hello Lynne,

      Thank you for your comments. The porta potties should be removed within the next week.
      If they have not been moved, then please call our office to let us know!

      • Lynne Lathangue says:

        Thanks I was hoping they would be at least moved to the other side of the boat house but after the reply from 311 that the port potties are on park property and will stay as they are until the bathrooms are repaired.

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