A very Canadian enhancement to Toronto's public realm just west of Downtown is nearing completion as construction progresses on a new skate trail under the Gardiner Expressway. The trail will be the first part to open of the new sheltered park from Waterfront Toronto to be known as "The Bentway". The creation of the 1.75 kilometre-long public space running from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street—largely funded through a donation from Toronto philanthropists Judy and Wil Matthews—features design work by landscape architects Public Work in collaboration with Greenberg Consultants.

Facing east over The Bentway's skate trail, image by Forum contributor achender

The concrete pour for the 220-metre-long skate trail took place over a few days at the end of September and the beginning of October. The new attraction, expected to be a popular winter destination for Torontonians, is anticipated to open to the public as early as late December. With 13,746 metres of piping embedded in the concrete, the refrigerant coursing through plus the shady conditions below the elevated expressway could help keep the trail in use as late as March break.

The Bentway's skate trail, image by Forum contributor achender

A new building attached to the east end of the Fort York Visitor Centre will provide 1,800 ft² storage space to house the skating trail's Zamboni.

The Bentway's skating pavilion (left), image by Forum contributor achender

The next piece of The Bentway's first phase will be a sheltered open air performance space with bleachers at Strachan Avenue. To open in the Summer of 2018, the amphitheatre will serve an important role in the project, addressing the grade separation between The Bentway and Strachan Avenue, connecting the space with the elevated roadway.

Sheltered amphitheatre and performance space at The Bentway, image by Forum contributor achender

We will return with updates as construction of The Bentway progresses. In the meantime, additional information and renderings of the project can be found in our database file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.