What do you do with neglected space below an elevated section of road built in 1962, on the southern lands of Toronto’s Fort York National Historic Site? Up until 2018, the answer was absolutely nothing. Then came The Bentway.
The idea behind this project was to humanize a former dead zone running 1.75 kilometers between Strachan Avenue and Spadina Avenue with a series of public gathering spaces. The site would also serve to connect the burgeoning neighbourhoods of City Place and King West Village to the waterfront.
The Bentway offers two seasonal faces. In the winter, it incorporates a skating trail that weaves its way through the pillars supporting the busy Gardiner Expressway above. Once the ice melts, this stretch is then transformed into a series of gardens and venues for the staging of art, music, theatre and other cultural happenings. It also hosts a farmers market.
If the Bentway reminds you of something similar in New York City, it should, because it is a member of an international network of projects (including the High Line) that creates people-friendly landscapes from urban infrastructure wastelands.
Skate rentals, lockers, washrooms, and a picnic area with bar and food concession are on site. So, for some figure-eight fun, go straight to The Bentway.
What’s Spot on:
• Free skate rentals on Thursdays from 17:00 to 21:00.
• Après skate Saturdays invites those over aged 19 to enjoy a free coffee or hot chocolate deliciously spiked with a shot of Kahlúa. From 17:00 to 21:00.