Toronto The Bentway (was Under Gardiner) | ?m | ?s | Waterfront Toronto

What should be the permanent name for the park under the Gardiner?

  • The Artery

    Votes: 12 6.5%
  • The Bentway

    Votes: 79 42.5%
  • Under Gardiner

    Votes: 52 28.0%
  • None of the above

    Votes: 43 23.1%

  • Total voters
    186
Does the motivation matter, or outweigh the gift? Has anyone ever gone to Central Park, MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum, Bryant Park, the High Line, etc., etc., etc., and thought "The rich people who pay for this must be up to something! Things would be so much better if they hadn't given all that money."?

I'm not suggesting there's anything shady about it, it's just that 'giving back to the city' is a bit vague and she didn't explain it any further than that.
 
I would think there are better ways to "give back to the community". You know, say by donating to a hospital, local schools, a university or homeless shelter. Instead of improving space underneath a city highway. But its their money and they can spend it however they like. I'm just speculating, but it sounds like she wants to work and have her name tied to a cool project.

If you take that approach, charity is a no-win proposition.

You gave to breast cancer? When research into DiGeorge Syndrome is so underfunded?
You donated to the local hospital, when hospitals in war-torn Syria are in such dire straits?
It's okay that you gave to that homeless shelter, but you know that the homeless here have it pretty easy compared to the homeless children of Mexico City, right?

There will always be someone who thinks that there is a better cause. And the causes are not all mutually exclusive of one another.

And this is far more that just improving space under a highway. It's revitalizing important space and connections downtown, with wide-ranging benefits. This is real, substantive city building.

And, yes, I agree that you are speculating about her motives.
 
If you take that approach, charity is a no-win proposition.

You gave to breast cancer? When research into DiGeorge Syndrome is so underfunded?
You donated to the local hospital, when hospitals in war-torn Syria are in such dire straits?
It's okay that you gave to that homeless shelter, but you know that the homeless here have it pretty easy compared to the homeless children of Mexico City, right?

There will always be someone who thinks that there is a better cause. And the causes are not all mutually exclusive of one another.

And this is far more that just improving space under a highway. It's revitalizing important space and connections downtown, with wide-ranging benefits. This is real, substantive city building.

And, yes, I agree that you are speculating about her motives.

I'm sorry, donating money to fund a public space project in one of the wealthiest cities in the world cannot be called "charity".

Nothing against this project, but giving money to a hospital, homeless shelter or a school is almost certainly a "better cause".

My main beef lies with the fact that this is being called a way to "give back to the community". Just call it what it is. Which is a very wealthy person engaging in city building cause they can afford to and its fun.
 
I'm sorry, donating money to fund a public space project in one of the wealthiest cities in the world cannot be called "charity".

Sorry, philanthropy. But, my point still stands -- the approach you take does mean that charitable giving is generally a no-win proposition because the peanut gallery will always be there to tell the giver that they could have found a better cause.

Nothing against this project, but giving money to a hospital, homeless shelter or a school is almost certainly a "better cause".

There is nothing "almost certain" about it. That's your opinion. You don't get to dictate "better".

My main beef lies with the fact that this is being called a way to "give back to the community". Just call it what it is. Which is a very wealthy person engaging in city building cause they can afford to and its fun.

How are any of those things mutually exclusive to one another? She can't give back to the community if she enjoys it? Why so snarky?
 
Sorry, philanthropy. But, my point still stands -- the approach you take does mean that charitable giving is generally a no-win proposition because the peanut gallery will always be there to tell the giver that they could have found a better cause.



There is nothing "almost certain" about it. That's your opinion. You don't get to dictate "better".



How are any of those things mutually exclusive to one another? She can't give back to the community if she enjoys it? Why so snarky?

I get your point.

In a perfect world this highway would be buried (like they did in Montreal) but that's not happening.

I thought the following part of the Globe article was interesting...the fact that Matthews had never been to that part of the Gardiner.

"When Mr. Greenberg showed her the space under the Gardiner, she had never been there. “But I quickly went ‘aha’: It is incredible, the scale and the monumental quality of that space.”

I hope this thing is a success... I'm sure in time we will find out how this all came to fruition.
 
I think the Matthews are like a lot of other people in terms of not having been to that part of the Gardiner. It truly does hold a lot of possibilities and over the years, I've heard ideas floated around. Now there are finally some funds to make those ideas reality.
 
Had Fort York Boulevard not been built over the past few years, or the new Visitors Centre not come to fruition, very few of us would ever have seen the underside of the highway there.

For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, It's a pretty spectacular space, which doesn't fill with sounds from the highway, nor does it smell particularly fumey, and which does (especially where Fort York Blvd runs along one side of it while the fort itself is on the other) get a good deal of light, particularly when the sun is low and glowing. Pics I took just a few days ago (and which can be found in this post) show some quite nice evening light down there. The gray pillars holding up the highway aren't too far off visually from being the slender columns of an extended nave, and when the Fort's Visitors Centre opened, the fife and drum corps band played under the highway and it sounded amazing—thanks to the reflective surfaces—a bit like the reverb you get in a massive gothic cathedral actually too.

Activities under the highway will be protected from rain. They'll be close to where thousands of people have moved in the last few years and where thousands more are coming. The land is close to being dead space now, which has a detrimental effect on what it touches, to the point that people question why anyone would spend money on it. Once it has been transformed we will wonder how it managed to take however many years it did to be recognized for its qualities, the biggest one which will no longer be how the Gardiner split this area of the city in two, but how it now ties it all together.

I don't for a minute think that Judy Matthews' motive is to get her name plastered on a big civic project. In fact, the plan is not to name it after her or her husband but to go to the public to find a name that suits the city. If the Matthews wanted the name brand recognition, you'd all know who they were already for their gifts to the Music Garden (mentioned above) and to the rebuilding on St. George Street through the U of T campus, and which was also triggered by their philanthropy. People just take that strip of St. George for granted now, and pretty much love it for its huge public realm improvements over the standard sidewalks and four lane road which used to be there, but nearly no-one knows it's because of a Matthews gift.

Now the main reason we know their name is that they are hoping to trigger another wave of philanthropy in Toronto. There's been quite a lot of giving over the last half dozen years to hospital and university projects especially, but other aspects of the city have lagged a bit that way. Whether this gift triggers more public realm philanthropy or not, maybe as a city we will speak up more about wanting to increase our spending on parks and other public realm: if the Matthews are willing to spend big to improve our lives, shouldn't we be willing to care more (and spend a few more tax dollars)?

I don't see any downside to this. I see a well off couple who love the city and want to help, and who were approached by the right people who knew how they could help. It's crazy for us to be wasting this space. Ken Greenberg, Public Work, and the Matthews get this, and we Torontonians are long going to be thankful that they managed to give this space back to us. Hip freakin hip hooray!

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The donation covers the Strachan to Bathurst section. There's no infrastructure to do, it has been done (which also contributes to the proposed speed of the project). There are still developers and developments in the area who I am sure will be hit up to finish the other sections.

The consultation/advisory group is being recruited this week.
 
Are there people who think that this is a bad thing to donate money here? This is the nicest part of the Gardiner to do a project like this. The soaring columns are amazing and lots and lots of light comes through, so landscaping shouldn't be an issue with plant growth. Granted, $25M doesn't buy much these days for civic projects, but it should go a long way towards tying the whole area together. Thank you to the Matthews for your awesome, generous gift.
 
I propose that three paths (cyclists, joggers, pedestrians) running east/west should be suspended from the three column rows of the Gardiner Expressway between Strachan and Bathurst, and that the paths be connected at intervals. In order to entice people to this place, I further propose that amenities should be provided: coffee shops, cafes for wine and beer, etc., and snack bars which might serve sandwiches. The paths under the expressway will be protected from the weather and so will be useful in the winter and summer; radiant heating should be provided above seating areas at the amenities. The growing population in the condominiums surrounding the Fort York area of the Expressway guarantees that the paths will be used in spite of the weather. Lighting should be provided for evening use, and landscaping should be provided along the edges with cascading plants to decorate the Expressway. Stairs, elevators, and escalators should be provided for easy access. I propose the name: Toronto Highline.
 

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