Torontonians can now enjoy phase one of Underpass Park, an extraordinarily original and innovative new waterfront public park.
Underpass Park is the most extensive park to ever be built under an overpass in Canada, and the first of its kind in Toronto. Located in the West Don Lands under and around the Eastern Avenue and Richmond/Adelaide overpasses, the new park has transformed the derelict and underused space into a bright, new, neighbourhood amenity.
Constructed in two phases, the first completed sections of the park are between St. Lawrence Street and Bayview Avenue. Visitors can access the completed portions of the park from River Street, south of King Street.
Underpass Park is designed for community members of all ages and abilities. The first phase of the park features playgrounds on either side of River Street. To the east, park-users will find two half-court basketball courts and skateboarding amenities. West of River Street, the park offers various play equipment and climbing structures of different sizes and shapes as well as pockets of gathering spaces for public events. This part of the park also features an innovative public art installation that is suspended from the overpass beams and reflects lights. A combination of LED spotlights and interesting lighting effects around the park will ensure the area is safe and inviting at all times of day.
Designed by renowned landscape architectural firm Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg with The Planning Partnership, Underpass Park maximizes the unique site conditions imposed by the massive concrete overpasses to convert a neighbourhood liability into a welcoming and distinct public space.
An official celebration to mark the opening of phase one of the park is being planned for later this summer. The second phase of Underpass Park, located west of St. Lawrence Street, is currently under construction and expected to open in spring 2013.