Project Under Gardiner launches Reclaim the Name, an invitation to Torontonians to help create a new name for the emerging public space under the Gardiner Expressway


Toronto, March 1, 2016 – Today, Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto announce the next phase of Project: Under Gardiner, the $25-million partnership that will create vibrant community spaces hosting a range of cultural programming beneath a section of the Gardiner Expressway extending from Strachan Avenue, across Fort York National Historic Site, to Spadina Avenue. Since it was announced in November of last year, Project: Under Gardiner has been a temporary name for the project. Reclaim the Name is an inclusive and fun way for Torontonians to take part in a city-wide brainstorming campaign. Together we will choose a name for this new kind of public landscape.

Project: Under Gardiner will transform the areas beneath the expressway by creating a series of public spaces united by a multi-use path. The path builds on the city’s network of trails, walkways and cycling routes to enhance connectivity and stitch together seven of Toronto’s densest neighbourhoods. These new public spaces – dubbed “outdoor rooms” – will create a new common ground for the 70,000 nearby residents, along with the many tourists and visitors who use the amenities and nearby attractions.

Reclaim the Name is a four-month campaign that starts with an open call for ideas and ends with a new name, as voted on by the public. The campaign is a new way of thinking about how we name public space – perfect for this new kind of public landscape. Like the space under the Gardiner, the name should be unique to Toronto and something that will stand the test of time as the city and the space itself evolve. As well, the spirit of the project – as a collaboration between the donors Judy and Wil Matthews, Waterfront Toronto and the City – suggests that Torontonians play a significant role in naming this space.

“Through a generous private donation, we have a chance to transform the space underneath the Gardiner into something magical,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “This project is about finding solutions through creativity and collaboration, and giving our residents a chance to name this new public space speaks to its spirit and legacy. I can’t wait to see what they come up with."

About Reclaim the Name
Here’s how the Reclaim the Name campaign will unfold:

  • Phase One – March
    Torontonians are invited to send in Name Submissions online at:

    DIY Brainstorming Toolkit – Our city-wide brainstorm is supported by a downloadable toolkit that gives you everything you need to host your own brainstorming party with friends and family. Download the toolkit here:

    Spacing Store Pop-Up – Get inspired by visiting our pop-up space in the Spacing Store at 401 Richmond St. W. Share your naming suggestions on our brainstorm wall, snap a picture on your phone and share it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #reclaimthename and #undergardiner.

    School Outreach – To ensure that Torontonians of all ages get a chance to participate in a meaningful way, the Project: Under Gardiner team will be running four workshops at local schools to engage kids and teens in naming this space and inspiring them to shape their city.

    Brainstorm Parties – The Project: Under Gardiner team will run three special first-come, first-served sessions, based on the same material as the DIY Brainstorming Toolkit, to engage local residents, city builders and social entrepreneurs in this landmark campaign. Find links to event details at:

    Submissions for names will be accepted until April 1, 2016.
  • Phase Two – April
    Members of a Naming Jury will meet and select a shortlist of three to five names for public voting. The jury will consist of accomplished and respected Torontonians from across the design, cultural, artistic, civic engagement and social activism fields. The members of our Naming Jury will be announced in early April.
  • Phase Three – May
    During this final phase members of the public can vote for the name of their choice on the project website. The public’s favourite name will be presented to the Toronto City Council for review and adopted as the official name of the project. Public voting details will be announced in late April.
  • Phase Four – June
    The winning name will be confirmed and the project's logo and look will be updated accordingly. All of this will be announced in late June or early July.

Let’s get ready for a new story about the Gardiner Expressway – one filled with hope and possibility. Join us in a citywide naming brainstorm for this new type of public space.

Let’s reclaim the name together.

About Project: Under Gardiner

A gift from Wil and Judy Matthews is funding the creation of more than four hectares (10 acres) of new public space and 1.75 kilometres of multi-use trail beneath the elevated expressway from just west of Strachan Avenue, across the Fort York National Historic Site, to Spadina Avenue. This unprecedented philanthropic partnership represents a new, collaborative model for building high-quality public spaces in Toronto.

Project: Under Gardiner will transform the areas beneath the expressway into vibrant community spaces that will play host to a range of cultural programming – creating a new outdoor living room for the use of the 70,000 residents in nearby neighbourhoods and for visitors who use the many amenities and attractions in the area.

Project: Under Gardiner envisions a dynamic new public space that creates connections between some of Toronto's newest and most dense neighbourhoods, including Liberty Village, Niagara, Fort York Neighbourhood, CityPlace, Bathurst Quay and Wellington Place. The project will knit these communities together with innovative programmable spaces that will showcase Toronto's unique cultural and related offerings – history, music, food, theatre, visual arts, education and civics, dance, sports and recreation.

media contact

Andrew Hilton
Director of Communications and Public Engagement
Waterfront Toronto

Office: 416-214-1344 ext. 263
Mobile: 416-427-4613