200 hectares is a lot of land to go unused.
As the Toronto real estate market continues to dominate the media and our collective consciousness, it becomes more and more clear that the city’s demand for low-rise housing – detached, semi-detached, and townhomes – is a major contributor to atmospheric home prices. There just simply is not enough stock to support the demand, and not enough land left in Toronto to build more. (Read more about the consequences of Toronto's current supply and demand problem in a recent blog, entitled, How The Demand For Low-Rise Housing Is Fueling Toronto Real Estate Prices.)
So, when an unrelated headline talks about “lost space" that has been "unused" and "wasted behind fences", our interest is peaked. The land in question is a 200-hectare forest, crisscrossed with hidden hiking and cycling trails, that runs along the banks of the Don River from Corktown Common to the Evergreen Brick Works. While the land hasn't exactly gone unnoticed (apparently it's been on the government's agenda for years), finally it is going to be developed so that Torontonians can make the best use of it.
Image courtesy of donvalleyriverpark.ca
The John Tory government announced today that the Don River Valley will be transformed into Toronto’s second largest downtown park – larger than High Park, but smaller than Rouge Park (3800 hectares).
At a news conference at Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto Mayor John Tory, joined by Evergreen CEO Geoff Cape, and the Don River Valley Park Campaign Chair Andy Chisholm, patrons and supporters, marked the ‘First Mile’ of the city-wide ravine strategy:
Once officially designated a park, and falling under the care of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department, the first of changes made will be to carve new entrances into the valley to connect to the existing hidden paths. This will be followed by smart refurbishments, including new bridges that span the railroad tracks and river, more cycling and walking trails, outdoor art exhibits, and new way-finding signage that will help residents access and navigate the park.
Images courtesy of CBC.ca
The Don River Valley Park will restore and enhance the natural environment, build connections, improve access for everyone and generate cultural activity. It will draw tourists to Toronto and stimulate economic activity and investment. Here’s what we can expect the city to do between now and 2020:
• Improve access and enhance cycling/pedestrian commuting
• Link communities along and across the Valley
• Connect the new mouth of the Don to the vast ravine system
Arts & Culture
• Curate an exceptional contemporary art trail making art, performance and installations accessible to Torontonians and visitors
• Create places that integrate culture, nature and community
• Provide moments for contemplation, where visitors can engage with the landscape
• Protect sensitive ecological features and enhance our forest canopy
• Mobilize citizen stewards in restoring the landscape and bring people back to the Don River’s edge
• Create landscapes that mitigate the impact of climate change
Beyond the original Don River Valley Park Project, a multi-year public and private fundraising campaign launched last year by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority, Evergreen has launched a new fundraising campaign, The Ribbon, to kick-start the first phase of creating the Don River Valley Park. The Ribbon is envisioned as the metaphorical link between the Valley and its diverse neighbouring communities. To contribute, volunteer, or be kept apprised of developments, simply visit: donrivervalleypark.ca
As Mayor John Tory said today, Toronto's citizens, corporations, and government working together to realize the full potential of the Don River Valley Park celebrates how important green space is to "our residents, our resilience, and our quality of life.”
Like the changing of the seasons, we look forward to watching the Don Valley slowly transform into a new version of itself: a part-natural, part-urban celebration of the outdoors and life in Toronto.
~ Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage - (416) 322-8000
*Like what you've read? Consider signing up in the box below to receive our FREE monthly newsletter on housing, culture and design, including our love for unique urban homes and other Toronto real estate.
*Have you seen Steven's newest site Houseporn.ca? It's his Student Mentorship site on Canadian architecture, landscape, design, products and real estate!