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Downsview is an area in the north end of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located in the district of North York. Downsview was originally a farm located in the 1870s near the present-day intersection of Keele Street and Wilson Avenue. It now extends beyond the intersection of Sheppard Avenue and Dufferin Street. The area includes several large post-WWII subdivisions. Within the area is Downsview Airport, the former site of Canadian Forces Base Downsview, which has since been largely converted following the end of the Cold War into an urban park known as Downsview Park. However, the airport is still used as a manufacturing and testing facility for Bombardier Aerospace.
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The military base and the de Havilland company, including the runway and all buildings, was closed and sold to Bombardier Aerospace in 1994. Bombardier has been manufacturing and testing commercial aircraft on the site since then.
Most of the houses were built immediately post-war and into the 1960s, though some houses and condos have been recently built near Downsview station. The subway ride south to downtown Toronto is approximately 30 minutes.
The east side of Dufferin Street is primarily residential, while the west side is industrial. This street has been relegated to a quiet service road in the adjacent neighbourhood of Bathurst Manor. Immediately beside Dufferin Street, William R. Allen Road brings large traffic volumes from the Ontario Highway 401 exit just a minute south.
Downsview Park is occasionally the host of large public events. On Sunday, July 28, 2002, over 800,000 attended a Papal Mass by Pope John Paul II for World Youth Day. Also, on July 30, 2003, a massive concert labeled Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto held in support of the City of Toronto after the 2003 SARS outbreak there was held on the site. Bands such as The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush and Justin Timberlake entertained half a million music fans. It was reportedly the largest ticketed event in Canadian history.
2008 propane facility explosions
On August 10, 2008, just before 4 a.m., massive explosions occurred at the Sunrise Propane Industrial Gases propane facility, at 54 Murray Rd., located immediately north-east of the intersection of Keele Street and Wilson Avenue. An employee of the facility and a firefighter were killed as a result of the explosions. Mayor David Miller had publicly expressed his condolences to the families of the victims shortly thereafter.
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