27 Nov 2015
by Andrew Stewart
On 17 November 2015, the City of Toronto, together with philanthropists Judy and Wil Matthews and Waterfront Toronto, announced a $25 million plan to re-invent public space under the elevated Gardiner Expressway in front of Fort York National Historic Site. Project: Under Gardiner (its temporary name) will take advantage of the 1.7-km-long open corridor under its 15-m-high deck between Exhibition Place in the west and Queen’s Quay in the east. It will provide a route for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as new landscaping infrastructure and cultural programming. This new public-realm initiative will link 70,000 residents in six neighbourhoods.
Also, the long-awaited Fort York Pedestrian-Cycling Bridge project was just announced, to be built by Build Toronto together with a team led by Dufferin Construction Company. The bridge will connect Garrison Common to parks and open space in the Ordnance St Triangle and an expanded Stanley Park on the north side of the railway corridors. Work begins immediately and the bridge will open in spring 2017.
Both these initiatives will vastly improve the quality of the larger Fort York Precinct, as well as access to the fort.
There is much to celebrate these days. In addition to these two projects adjacent to the fort, revitalization of Fort York National Historic Site itself continues apace. Garrison Common is being carefully rehabilitated, thanks to an earlier $1 million gift to the Fort York Foundation from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. New, tall wayfinding signs were installed this fall. And exhibits are being built and installed in the Fort York Visitor Centre over the next few months – expect their opening next spring.
The Fort York Foundation continues to fundraise to complete the Visitor Centre and it exhibits, as well as to build the Liquid Landscape – the innovative landscape plan for the ground in front of the Visitor Centre. The Liquid Landscape will mesh seamlessly with the Project: Under Gardiner landscape plan.
See the special November issue of The Fife and Drum with stories about both Project: Under Gardiner and the Fort York Pedestrian-Cycling Bridge.