Saturday, May 28, 2011

Construction starts on first phase of Underpass Park

Crews broke ground this week on a park in an unusual and unsightly place -- under a series of overpasses near King and River Streets.

Waterfront Toronto first announced its plan to build Underpass Park just over a year ago. The project is the biggest of its kind in Canada and the first in Toronto.

The abandoned cars, old tires, garbage and broken chain link fences currently sitting under the Eastern Avenue, Richmond and Adelaide Streets overpasses between Cherry Street and Bayview Avenue will be replaced with cafĂ© seating, children’s play and climbing structures, ball hockey and basketball courts and a community garden.

"What makes Underpass Park so unique is the inspiration came from the overpass structure," city Councillor Norm Kelly, Chair of Parks & Environment, said. "I am looking forward to the completion of the park so everyone in our city can take advantage of what will be a beautiful, open public space.”

The first phase of park construction takes place on the east side St. Lawrence Street adjacent to a new condominium development and a new affordable housing complex and should be done by the end of this year. The second phase will be built on the west side of St. Lawrence Street.

Underpass Park is part of the metamorphosis underway in the West Don Lands where the industrial landscape is being transformed in preparation for the 2015 Pan Am Games. The Athletes Village will sit on a redeveloped 80-acre site next to the Don River.