Urban Toronto filled the front spot at the groundbreaking for Waterfront Toronto's Don River Park in the West Don Lands yesterday afternoon. Assembled stakeholders, politicos, and press gathered on the windswept berm, built to protect the Don River floodplain, straining to imagine the sprawling green space set to open in late 2011/early 2012. Text by Doug Convoy. Photos by Interchange42.
Mayor David Miller pointed out the successful strategy along the waterfront of building spaces for people first, such as Canada’s Sugar Beach, and erecting buildings later, a strategy that will continue with the construction of this park.
Former Ottawa mayor and current Ontario Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli highlighted the Province’s $500 million contribution to Toronto’s waterfront revitalization while Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty spoke of Ottawa’s commitment to infrastructure development as a means of shoring up Canada’s economy amidst continued global economic uncertainty. Flaherty described recent progress on Toronto’s waterfront as ‘remarkable.’
The gathering overlooking the grounds of the future Don River Park and the West Don Lands communities, including the athletes’ village for the 2015 Pan Am Games. Nineteen times the size of Dundas Square, the 3.2 hectare (7.9 acre), $26 million Don River Park is piggybacking on the essential floodplain berm designed to guard a wide swath of the city core, including the Financial District, against future Hurricane Hazel-type inundation.