Underpass Park will be the most extensive park to ever be built under an overpass in Canada, and the first ever in Toronto. Located under and around the Eastern Avenue, Richmond and Adelaide overpasses, the park will transform the derelict and underused space into a bright, new, urban neighbourhood amenity and key pedestrian connection and passageway. Waterfront Toronto together with the Governments of Canada, Ontario and the City of Toronto celebrated the official start of construction on May 26, 2011, a significant milestone in the development of the West Don Lands.
The imposing concrete structures of the overpasses currently act as a barrier between the north and south parts of the community. Underpass Park innovatively re-engineers the area under the overpasses to create an inviting public space that connects the two parts of the West Don Lands, contributing to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood and the success of the development projects underway in the area.
Designed by renowned landscape architectural firm Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg with The Planning Partnership, Underpass Park embodies design excellence and is the epitome of innovative modern urban park design. The design maximizes the unique site conditions imposed by the massive concrete overpasses to convert a neighbourhood liability into a welcoming and distinct public space.
The park is being built in two phases, with the portion east of St. Lawrence Street adjacent to both the River City private sector development and the new affordable housing complex by Toronto Community Housing, being constructed first. The first phase is expected to be complete by the end of 2011. The second phase of the park, on the western side of St. Lawrence Street, will be built in the future.