The Bentway is transforming a 1.75km space under Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway into a vibrant public place where visitors can experience a diverse mix of activities and programs. The initial phase – from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street - reinvigorates the area beneath the expressway into a vital artery for pedestrians and cyclists, stitching together seven neighbourhoods, expanding access to key areas such as the Fort York National Historic Site, and creating a new gathering place for Toronto’s growing population. The multifunctional space is an expression of Toronto’s unique creative energy and serves as an example of how the re-use of infrastructure can support new forms of public life. The project is unprecedented in many ways. It was funded through a unique public-private partnership between the City of Toronto and philanthropists Judy and Wilmot Matthews, who contributed $25-million to the project. Judy and Wil were inspired by the vision of urbanist Ken Greenberg and landscape architecture firm PUBLIC WORK to re-imagine the expressway –arguably the city’s most divisive symbol of 20th-century transportation planning – as a new model of shared public space activated by year-round programming.
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