rail deck park Toronto

Toronto takes big step forward with Rail Deck Park

Rail Deck Park is one step closer to reality in Toronto, even if there's a huge distance left to travel.

Toronto & East York community council adopted the official plan that calls for the current railway lands between Bathurst St. and Blue Jays Way to transformed into a sprawling raised green space that would redefine the city's downtown core.

Today's vote still needs to be endorsed by city council next month, but it's the pending dispute over ownership of the air rights in the area that's far more likely to pose a problem to the realization of the park.

Should the city take the next step and officially re-zone the area for Rail Deck Park, a competing proposal from a consortium of developers to build a series of condominiums and a smaller park space would no longer be tenable.

Given that these developers claim they possess the air rights over the railway lands, a major legal confrontation could be brewing, one that would ultimately have to be resolved by the Ontario Municipal Board.

Today's decision showed that local council is standing its ground in the face of a possible battle. The city will, however, also need to come up with a way to fund the massive park project that's been pegged at $1 billion. A report regarding such plans is due before the end of the year.

rail deck park toronto

Looking east from Spadina at the future Rail Deck Park. Rendering by Public Work for the City of Toronto.

Many, including the Toronto Blue Jays, have come out in support of the park, noting the rare opportunity it poses to create legacy project in the heart of the city.

There's a long road ahead, but if nothing else, today's step underscores that the city is serious about its desire to pursue this ambitious plan.

Lead photo by

Public Work for the City of Toronto


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