Toronto could be getting a 21-acre park in its downtown core.
Plans for the new green space, which would be built overtop the existing Union Station Rail Corridor, were announced by Mayor John Tory. “The downtown core has far less parkland than other parts of the city".
The project would be called the Rail Deck Park and stretch from Blue Jays Way by the Rogers Centre to Bathurst Street. No cost has been announced and it would take a minimum of four to five years to complete. “It can’t be outlined with precision because it’s something that’s never been done before,” Tory told reporters, mentioning other Toronto parks have costed tens of millions of dollars per acre.
To move forward with the plan, the City of Toronto needs to secure air rights above the rail corridor. To ensure the space is set aside for public use only, the City will also need to create an Official Plan Amendment.
Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s chief planner, has shed some light on the plans via social media, posting a before-and-after image of what the park could look like.
“Families want to live downtown. Parents want to walk to work. They’ve told us: we need parks for our kids,” said Keesmaat in another tweet, part of a series of posts to Twitter also announcing the plans. Three quarters of downtown Toronto’s parks are smaller than 1.2 acres, according to Keesmaat, a size the chief planers says is “typically considered to be a parkette.”
Promo materials describe the Rail Deck Park as “a new park that can bridge over barriers and stitch together neighbourhoods.” A large chunk of Toronto’s Railway Lands have been redeveloped as CityPlace, a 45-acre mixed-use condo development.