A major new park was announced yesterday by the City of Toronto, the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), set to run 16 kilometres through thirty-four neighbourhoods in Don Mills and Scarborough, along an underutilized hydro corridor. The $85 million linear park—dubbed The Meadoway—would open up 200 hectares (500 acres) of land to the public, stretching from the Don Valley in the west to Rouge National Urban Park in the east. It will also serve to connect existing natural and public spaces, linking with 4 ravines, 15 parks, and 20 kilometres of trail.
40% of the $85 million budget has already been secured, with The City of Toronto committing $6.3 million and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation committing to fund an initial $10 million of the project, with a further $15 million to be pledged as the project evolves. This evolution will involve input from residents of the neighbourhoods the park passes through. The Living City Foundation, which rallies support for the TRCA, will be leading a community engagement program to help shape The Meadoway.
"The Meadoway is the kind of community building project we're thrilled to be a part of," reads a statement issued by TRCA CEO John MacKenzie. "By taking an under-utilized infrastructure corridor and revitalizing it with plantings and new connections to the rest of the region, including Rouge National Urban Park, we are creating benefits for our natural world and the communities around The Meadoway. It truly is an innovative and remarkable conservation initiative."
Some of the attributes the City is seeking to make a part of the park are extensive wildflower and shrub plantings, community garden plots to foster urban agriculture in ten spots along its length, and improved habitat for butterflies and 1,000 other species of flora and fauna on the land.
While much of the park's path follows relatively flat, unobstructed green space below hydro lines, a number of obstacles can be found along the route, as would be expected with any 16-kilometre line through an urban area. Details of the trail's specific route are not finalized yet, but it will need to include grade separations to negotiate such things as the SRT and the abutting GO Stouffville rail corridor, multiple watercourses, Highway 401, several major streets and intersections, and even an oddly located former used car dealership and auto service centre.
What do you think of the potential for The Meadoway? Let us know in the associated Forum thread, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.