Great public space defines great cities. Our new blue edge is delivering the next generation of great parks and public spaces that will redefine Toronto.
Truly great cities are known for the distinctive beauty and character of their public places. Toronto has been described as a city within a park. City residents enjoy approximately 1,500 parks and green spaces which help connect neighbourhoods and draw the City to the lakefront.
Waterfront revitalization is building upon Toronto’s great tradition of parks. Twenty-five percent of the waterfront revitalization area is reserved for parks and open spaces. Our Waterfront Parks and Public Spaces Framework, developed in 2003, identifies more than 90 parks and public spaces. We are working to design and build parks that further connect Toronto to its lakefront and create a front door to new and emerging waterfront communities.
Parks are critical to the development of new neighbourhoods and we design communities so that parks and public spaces are their spines. We are investing a significant portion of our government funding to build parks and public spaces in the first phase of revitalization. This is critical because parks and public spaces invite and draw people into new areas and they demonstrate that change and development is happening.
Since 2004, Waterfront Toronto has opened 17 new or improved parks or public spaces including:
Throughout the waterfront, a number of new, iconic public parks are being created. Each park is designed to offer unique visitor experiences that enhance the quality of the communities that surround them.
The 1.5-hectare (3.7-acre) Sherbourne Common which opened in September 2010, is a new spectacular green space in the centre of the new East Bayfront neighbourhood. It includes a spectacular urban river and dramatic zinc clad pavilion.
Canada’s Sugar Beach which opened in July 2010 is a stylish, urban beach on the waterfront which welcomes visitors with a whimsical mix of brightly coloured umbrellas, candy-striped rocks and a plaza for public performances.
Don River Park in West Don Lands will be the cornerstone of the new neighbourhood as well as a destination for the entire city. When it opens in 2012, it will feature a rich, diverse mixture of landscape experiences.
One of the first undertakings of its kind in North America, Underpass Park in West Don Lands will convert the inhospitable space beneath a series of road overpasses into an inviting, dynamic recreational space. It’s slated to open in 2012.
Mimico Waterfront Park is helping re-establish the Mimico community as a recreational destination and is expected to invigorate the local economy. The park includes a continuation of the popular multi-use waterfront trail, a breakwater island to protect the new aquatic plantings, new sand dunes and cobblestoned beaches for recreational enjoyment.
In the east end of Toronto, Port Union Waterfront Park includes improved recreational access to the waterfront, shoreline protection, cobblestoned beaches, 3.6 kilometres of waterfront trail, pedestrian lookouts and connections, and newly created terrestrial and aquatic habitat.
At 374 hectares (923 acres), the planned Lake Ontario Park will be one of the most unusual and distinctive landscapes in Toronto. This world-class waterfront park will feature unique ecological, recreational and cultural attractions. With more than 37 kilometres of shoreline, Lake Ontario Park will encompass the waterfront along the Outer Harbour from Cherry Beach to Ashbridges Bay and provide connections to the Eastern Beaches.