The industrial area near and alongside the CP Rail Corridor and Dupont Street in Toronto’s West End is under transformation. In addition to large scale redevelopment projects like Galleria On The Park, a number of mid-rise proposals are looking to line Dupont, revitalizing an urban corridor that had otherwise been immune to the development boom for quite some time. Corresponding with the development push now on in the area, the City’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation department in partnership with Park People has put forth a master planned proposal designed by DTAH and several collaborators for green space in the area, with the strategy of linking together public spaces below the area's Hydro Corridor.

Rendering of a portion of the Green Line, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

A long time coming, the plan is a culmination of ideas that have been floating around since before Toronto's 1998 amalgamation. Looking to connect roughly 45 separate land parcels (most of which are already government-owned properties), the linear park would run from the St. Clair West and Caledonia Road intersection in the north, diagonally to Dupont and Dovercourt Road, and then eastward along the CP Rail corridor to Davenport Road. While most of the parcels along the 5 kilometre corridor are already City-owned parks, the project will focus on connecting these existing spaces with new ones by incorporating adjacent parcels, implementing streetscape improvements, and creating a cohesive design language along the new “Green Line”.

Overview of the Green Line, separated by character area, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

Six character areas are defined by the plan; the Wiltshire Corridor, Park Line, Geary-Davenport, Hillcrest, George Brown College, and Lower Davenport, each reflecting the challenges and existing landscapes associated with the spaces. Throughout all the parks, asphalt paths would be constructed, offering a clear guideway from one public space to the next. Public safety elements like new crosswalks and traffic lights would be installed to improve the walkability of the neighbourhood.

Begining in the west, the Wiltshire Corridor character area would run to the west of Metrolinx' Barrie rail corridor from St. Clair West south to Davenport Road. The project would improve the landscaping here and remove an industrial property that fronts Davenport, with the intention of opening up that portion of the property for future mixed use projects lining the rail corridor.

Overview of landscaping at the Wiltshire Corridor character area, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

Heading east under the tracks on the south side of Davenport we enter the Park Line character area. Here eight parks currently dot the diagonal corridor running from Davenport south-east past Dufferin, over to the intersection of Bartlett and Geary avenues. In addition to installing connective landscaping in the existing parks, five new public spaces will be created in this segment, to allow for the desired continuous pedestrian experience. 

Overview of connected public spaces in the Park Line charecter area, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

Next, in the Geary-Davenport corridor, the goal will be to improve accessibility to existing greenspace with new landscaping and paths. Parks like the Geary Avenue Parkette and Frankel-Lambert park would be upgraded with new landscaping, and public art features.

Overview of landscaping at the Geary-Davenport character area, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

Heading further east to the Hillcrest Yard area between Christie and Bathurst streets, this site exists adjacent to the TTC Hillcrest complex with a seldomly used rail spur bisecting the character area. The area acts more as a transitionary zone than a public space, however the plan proposes to continue the pedestrian pathway through the site with upgraded landscaping, again allowing access across the different parcels of parkland. 

Overview of landscaping at the Hillcrest Yard character area, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

The George Brown College character area acts similarly, as this portion of the project does not propose any new parkland. While critical parking lots for commuting students and faculty would be retained, the pedestrian experience would be significantly altered. Running east to west along Bridgman and Macpherson Avenues between Bathurst and Spadina, the plan heavily alters the portion of Bridgman that runs between Dartnell Avenue and Kendall Avenue - reducing vehicle access to one-way traffic, widening sidewalks, increasing landscaping, and adding bike lanes.

Overview of landscaping at the George Brown College character area, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

Finally, east across Spadina, the Lower Davenport portion would transform unmaintained vacant properties into new parks, running along MacPherson Avenue to the Green Line’s terminus at Davenport Road. 

Overview of landscaping at the Lower Davenport character area, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

The parkland revitalization is scheduled to be completed in a phased approach over the next 10 years, with work beginning in the Geary-Davenport and Lower Davenport character areas within the next 3 years. The full report can be downloaded here.

What do you think of the new Green Line parkland project? Have your say in the comments below.

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Related Companies:  Core Architects, COUNTERPOINT ENGINEERING, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Peter McCann Architectural Models Inc., Urban Strategies Inc.