Waterfront Toronto has officially opened Underpass Park at River Street in the West Don Lands, a key piece of their West Don Lands development project. The event had a number of notable photo-ops, including those that we tweeted earlier today. Designed by Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg along with The Planning Partnership, the park is located undeneath the Eastern Avenue / Richmond-Adelaide overpasses, transforming a formerly-derelict piece of land into what will doubtlessly become an integral part of the growing community in the area.

Peter Van Loan speaks while Soo Wong, Rob Ford, Norm Kelly, and John Campbell wait their turn

A number of notable dignitaries were on hand to unveil the park; Liberal MPP for Scarborough-Agincourt Soo Wong, Toronto mayor Rob Ford, City Councillor and chair of the Parks Committee Norm Kelly, Government House Leader and MP for York-Simcoe Peter Van Loan, and President/CEO of Waterfront Toronto John Campbell made the event quite the political social event.

Art installation by Paul Raff at Underpass Park, image by Craig White 2012.08.02

The event also marked the official unveiling of artist Paul Raff's installation "Mirage", composed of mirrored panels mounted below the transport infrastructure above, reflecting the activites occuring within the park and brightening up the space for users.

Paul Raff stands underneath his underpass-brightening 'Mirage', image by Craig White

We were happy to see the park's varied facilities being used, even if a little extra activity was drawn due to the the official event. The event marked the opening of phase 1 of the park, which encompasses the land between St. Lawrence Street and Bayview and consists of a playground area, basketball courts, and a skate park; phase 2 will span from St. Lawrence Street to Eastern Avenue and will be complete by spring 2013. It will bring more greenery to the public breathing space.


Various skatepark activies made available to park users, image by Craig White 2012.08.02

While all the the speeches were taking place, the real action was taking place in the already well-used and liked skate park.

Basketball courts and skaters at Underpass Park, image by Craig White 2012.08.02

Long view down Underpass Park with Skatepark in foreground, image by Craig White 2012.08.02

While we expected cretain photo-ops would be on order at the event, we never expected to see the one below, showing the Mayor's more...'playful' side. Following Ford's ascent a barrage of cameras surrounded the playground equipment, eager to capture the mayor's new angle.

Rob Ford tests the equipment at Underpass Park, image by Craig White 2012.08.02

With UrbanToronto's new offices located relatively close to Underpass Park you can be sure we'll be checking up on how it is used over the ensuing months. For all of the project renderings, information and related stories head over to the associated dataBase listing below.

Related Companies:  Paul Raff Studio, PFS Studio, Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg, The Planning Partnership, urbanMetrics inc., Waterfront Toronto