Toronto builds the biggest park in Canadian highway history

Toronto is finally taking action against the downtown highway that blocks access to the waterfront. The Underpass Park opens this summer, but will anyone want to play there?
Written by Sonya James, Contributor

The debate about highway removal in Toronto has been waging for decades - and for good reason.

The Gardiner Expressway blocks the entire downtown core from the waterfront. And it's no surprise the Gardiner made the 2012 Freeways Without Futures List. The ugly grey concrete pillars looming before the pristine waters of Lake Ontario don't exactly scream, "Come have fun with your family!" In fact, simply crossing the street can feel perilous.

But apparently, things have changed. Or at least, change is under foot.

The Underpass Park is the first attempt at transforming the space under and around a series of overpasses in Toronto - and by far the most ambitious redevelopment of its kind in Canadian history.

The park will be 2.5 acres, boast 54 new trees, and "convert a neighborhood liability into a welcoming and distinct public space," according to Waterfront Toronto.

The first phase of the park will open this summer.

The following video, from the Toronto Star, illustrates the parts of the park that have been built:

Would you bring your child to play in this "completely re-imagined space"? Those massive concrete pillars seem to cast quite a shadow - literally and figuratively speaking.

[via thestar.com; Waterfront Toronto]

Images: Waterfront Toronto

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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