Downtown Toronto's newest park has seen an overwhelmingly positive reception since its soft opening last Summer, and after a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning, the 18 acre Corktown Common is now officially open at Bayview and River Streets in the West Don Lands. With plenty of green space and over 700 trees as well as thousands of shrubs and aquatic plants, Corktown Common offers a diverse, ecologically rich habitat for visitors to walk, bike or just enjoy the sunshine.

Aerial of Corktown Common, image courtesy of George Brown College

The opening was attended by media and members of the public, as well as some of the politicians and officials that helped make the park a reality after three decades of stagnation in the West Don Lands. Speakers at the event included Pam McConnell, Councillor, Ward 28, City of Toronto; Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport) and MP for Bramalea, Gore, Malton; Mark Wilson, Chair, Waterfront Toronto; Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance and MP for Eglinton-Lawrence; Norm Kelly, Deputy Mayor, City of Toronto ; Cynthia Wilkey, Chair, West Don Lands Committee and Glen Murray, Minister, Environment & Climate Change and MPP for Toronto Centre.

L-R; Cynthia Wilkey, Norm Kelly, Glen Murray, Pam McConnell, Mark Wilson, Joe Oliver, Bal Gosal, image by Jack Landau

"Corktown Common is a perfect example of how government investments can create not just beautiful parks, but also the great new downtown communities that will help Toronto stay economically vibrant and competitive," said Glen Murray, MPP for Toronto Centre and Ontario's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. "Ontario's investment in the flood protection infrastructure under this park is the foundation of Corktown Common and the West Don Lands community and protects a large portion of Toronto from the impacts of climate change."

Glen Murray, Minister, Environment & Climate Change and MPP for Toronto Centre, image by Jack Landau

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly also spoke of the valuable contribution that this park provides to the public realm. “Corktown Common is a huge asset to the City and a great addition to our extensive park offerings along the waterfront, said Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. "It is a beautiful new greenspace that has connected this long neglected area to surrounding neighbourhoods, Toronto’s Don Valley and waterfront trails, and the rest of the city.”

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, image by Jack Landau

After a round of speeches, the dignitaries lined up for a ceremonial ribbon cutting, using Waterfront Toronto's comically oversized scissors - the same pair we have seen used for various ribbon cuttings, including last year's opening of the revitalized Leslie Street Spit.

Ceremonial ribbon-cutting at Corktown Common, image by Jack Landau

Now that the park is officially open, Waterfront Toronto and its development partners River City (Urban Capital) and the Canary District (Dundee Kilmer) are hosting a community picnic in the park this evening, from 5:00-8:00pm. The public is encouraged to check out the park and enjoy food and entertainment provided by the developers.

Pavilion at Corktown Common, image by Jack Landau

Additional information and renderings are available in the Corktown Common dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.

Related Companies:  Maryann Thompson Architects, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, urbanMetrics inc., Waterfront Toronto