Monday, October 28, 2013

Wilson Ave. windsock is tattered and full of holes: Windsocks that commemorate Downsview's aviation heritage are easily frayed by the elements.

Some socks are meant to have a hole in them, but when the holes outnumber toes, it’s time to find another.

Downsview has a long history tied to de Havilland Canada, which built a manufacturing facility in the 1920s near Sheppard Ave. W. and Allen Rd., along with an airstrip to test its planes.

The plant manufactured planes used in the Second World War, while the airstrip was expanded and became a Royal Canadian Air Force base after the war.

Even now, Bombardier Aerospace builds aircraft at the facility and military planes still use the airport, but a large part of the airfield is now a national park.

To celebrate Downsview’s aviation heritage, the city put up windsocks a few years back in a parkette on the north side of Wilson Ave., east of Keele St., and recently on two corners at Wilson and Dufferin St.

But we suspect a lot of people in the area are oblivious to its aeronautical history and probably wonder what the windsocks stand for.

Jeff Green emailed us photos of thoroughly shredded windsocks at Wilson and Keele, saying he thinks they’re a waste of public money.

“The socks fade and develop holes, tears and rips after a short time,” said Green.

“I understand they have already been replaced three times, (likely) at great expense to taxpayers,” he said, noting “they are non-standard custom designs.”

We know that they’ve been changed at least once, after we wrote about the same problem in March 2011, when most of the five socks at the parkette were in bad shape.

We found just one tattered sock at the corner last week, but saw others that look like they’ll fray when the wet fabric freezes and is whipped by wind, the same way flags are shredded.

They’re an interesting touch, but maybe propellers mounted to poles would also work as a reminder of the local history, and last a lot longer.

STATUS: We’ve asked Bob Crump, who’s in charge of North York parks, if he can get the damaged sock replaced.
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