The City of Toronto has announced a partnership with visionary philanthropists and Waterfront Toronto to reclaim unused space between Strachan and Spadina.
A $25 million donation from Judy and Wil Matthews will create a new public landscape beneath a section of the Gardiner Expressway.
In making the announcement, Judy Matthews was joined by Mayor John Tory, Waterfront Toronto CEO John Campbell, Toronto City Councillors Joe Cressy (Ward 20) and Mike Layton (Ward 19) and Lai-King Hum, President of the CityPlace Residents Association.
The Matthews’ generous gift will fund the creation of more than four hectares of new public space and 1.75 kilometres of multi-use trail beneath the elevated expressway from just west of Strachan Avenue to Spadina Avenue.
The initiative, temporarily called Project: Under Gardiner, will transform the areas beneath the expressway into vibrant community spaces that will play host to a range of cultural programming.
The trail will create a new off-street route for walking and cycling. Renowned city planner and urban designer Ken Greenberg heads the design team.
Waterfront Toronto will manage and build the project on behalf of the City, and the Matthews’ gift will leverage the City’s existing investment in rehabilitating and maintaining the Gardiner Expressway.
The public will be asked to help give the space a name that is uniquely Torontonian. The campaign will begin in December.
Construction is set to start in the summer of 2016, with the initial phase of the project aiming for completion in 2017.
Government, private sector & city builders can play a part in creating public spaces. Exciting opportunities lay ahead for Toronto.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) November 17, 2015