J. Thomas Riley
Born: May 7, 1933 (St. Catherines, Ontario)
Died: March 15, 2013 (Mississauga, Ontario)
Member: Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame (1999)
For 36 years, Tom Riley worked to provide parks and recreational services for Etobicoke, a community adjacent to Toronto which expanded over his years of service from a township to a borough to a city.
Riley joined the township staff as a sports supervisor in 1961 before becoming director of recreation two years later. In 1970, he was named commissioner of parks and recreation, a post he held until retirement in 1997.
Over the years, he was responsible for setting aside hundreds of acres of land for parks and also negotiated with the province for more land and facilities. He was responsible for the building of the Etobicoke Olympium, which includes gymnasiums and pools, including an Olympic pool, and the facility will be used for the Pan American Games in 2015.
Riley was proudest of helping develop Centennial Park to mark Canada’s centenary in 1967. The park includes a modest ski hill and chalet, an arena, and a conservatory.
The facilities were also used for the 1976 Olympiad for the Physically Disabled, now known as the Paralympics.
In recognition of his contributions, the city renamed Central Park to Tom Riley Park.