Over 18 months since the ambitious and innovative Downtown Toronto linear park was announced, work continues at The Bentway, formerly known as Project: Under Gardiner. Stretching 1.75 kilometres between Strachan and Spadina Avenues, The Bentway is being developed by Waterfront Toronto, with landscape design by Public Work, in collaboration with Greenberg Consultants.

Looking east from the Strachan Avenue bridge, image via PUBLIC WORKLooking east from the Strachan Avenue bridge, image via PUBLIC WORK

Spurred by a $25 million donation by Judy and Wil Matthews, the new public amenity takes advantage of the City of Toronto's extensive infrastructure upgrades to the ageing expressway to create a dynamic new public space, linking together CityPlace, Liberty Village and Fort York, with an inviting new destination. 

Crews excavating to install the future skating trail, Waterfront TorontoCrews excavating to install the future skating trail, image by The Bentway

The project will be completed in three phases. Now well underway, the first phase of the project stretches between Strachan Avenue to Fort York, and is expected to be open in December 2017. The first phase will include an Open Air Theatre/performance zone at Strachan which will include bleachers that can seat about 250 people, and a skating trail and a lawn amphitheatre that can accommodate another 500 people, as well as the Skating Building extension to the Fort York Visitors Centre (below). Shoring to support side slopes is underway there now, with work on the buildings to begin in August.

Work underway for future Fort York Visitors Centre, image by UT Member AchenderWork underway for future Fort York Visitors Centre, image by UT Member Achender

The second phase, which is expected to be completed in 2018, will include decking, lighting, furnishing, hardscape and landscape work, including in front of the Fort York Visitor's Centre. 

Installation of Brentwood Storm Tank, Waterfront Toronto, Greenberg ConsultantsInstallation of Brentwood Storm Tank at Strachan, image by The Bentway

According to recent updates provided on The Bentway's official website, "much of the early work has focused on underground servicing and utilities work, so while there has been a lot of work completed to date, much of it has been covered up as it has been completed."

A preview of one of the few phase one buildings, image via PUBLIC WORK A preview of one of the few phase one buildings, image via PUBLIC WORK

"Work on the sanitary and storm sewers, watermains and stormwater infrastructure is on schedule, and this work will be completed this summer. Much of the earthwork and grading has now been completed, most visibly with the lawn area and trail access at Strachan Avenue taking shape." 

Map of The Bentway slated for completion in 2018, image by Waterfront TorontoMap of The Bentway, slated for completion in 2018, image by Waterfront Toronto

In the future, extensions of the Bentway are planned to the east and west, but the timing and full scope of the extensions are still in development. In the meantime, additional information and images can be found in our Database file linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Visit the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field on this page.

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The story has been edited to correct some details of the phasing.