Project Photos (flickr)
Formerly an abandoned rail corridor, the West Toronto Railpath acts as a transportation system and linear park for west Toronto’s pedestrians and cyclists. Designed by Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc. with Brown and Story Architects Inc., the multi-use path spans 2.1 km across Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood. The project’s design achieves the greater goal of unifying surrounding communities, functioning as public recreational space, a connection to Toronto’s network of bike trails, and a backdrop for public art.
Utilizing indigenous plants and seeds collected from the abandoned rail corridor to create low maintenance, sustainable new landscapes, Torrance created a resilient native ecology and was able to dedicate a large portion of the project’s $3.8 million budget to the creation of high impact public spaces and neighborhood connections.
Since opening in October 2009, the space has been used for various community events such as bike rides, urban hikes and more. The Railpath’s fusion of public spaces has led to increased community involvement and has transformed an unused brownfield post-industrial space into a functional recreational area and unique experience of nature in the city.
“Toronto’s West Toronto Railpath is a significant part to the city’s growing bicycle network of trails, with nine unique plazas and trail connections. The project combines wisely the restoration of historical rail bridges with the installation of new public art, and includes a palette of indigenous planting – important elements of placemaking and character of this area of city. The Railpath had a key role in the revitalization of the once derelict industrial area improving connections, access, creating a frontage where new residential development can be located to reuse former industrial lands.
The Railpath is showing a fusion of public spaces and a new idea of ‘conciliatory public spaces’ bridging the roughness of the rail lines and the neighbourhoods it crosses. The plantings create low maintenance and sustainable landscapes that highlight the local natural heritage and allowed scarce funds to be dedicated to creating high impact public spaces and building neighbourhood connections. ”
Event date: 16 June, 2012 – 13:00 – 16:00, Bike ride at 12:00 noon. Event Type: Festival / Special Event
The West Toronto Railpath is a beautiful and award-winning public space to walk, ride a bike, and enjoy being active and outdoors. On Saturday June 16, CultureLink Settlement Services, Cycle Toronto, the Davenport West Bike Project, Bike Pirates and our friends and partners host a celebration of the Railpath and what it means to us. We celebrate clean and sustainable transportation options, and we celebrate how the Railpath creates vital connections between diverse communities living and working in this historic neighborhood. Activities include:
- Free bike clinic hosted by Bike Pirates and friends
- Kids safety training with Evergreen Bike Works and CultureLink
- Art studio tour
- Ride led by Cycle Toronto’s west end ward groups
- Nature and history walk led by CultureLink’s Intergenerational Eco-Action Committee
- Musical performances and exhibitors
Where: All along the Railpath, with a focus where the Rail meets Wallace Avenue (north of Bloor)
When: Saturday June 16, 2012
On June 16 2012 Castlepoint Developments will open, as part of the Cycle and Celebrate Festival, a new access point to West Toronto Railpath. This much needed entrance will eventually be a permanent part of this land as Castlepoint develops the property. Castlepoint Realty Partners, the current owners and developers of the property will be hosting an official opening ceremony BBQ on Saturday June 16, 3:00PM to 5:30PM.
Here is the design for the access.
- West Toronto Railpath Cleanup – 10AM April 21
Meet at the Wallace Ave. entrance, 10:00am. Some bags and gloves will be provided, but bring your own too if possible. With enough people coming, we can spilt up and cover all parts of the path.
Please RSVP below, if you can, or contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Railpath recently teamed up with the wonderful and award winning “Not Far From The Tree” group. This year Rio Tinto donated a new garden shed to Railpath at the Wallace Station entrance and no group was a better choice to use it first that NFFTT. (http://www.notfarfromthetree.org)
“Not Far From The Tree puts Toronto’s fruit to good use by picking and sharing the bounty.
When a homeowner can’t keep up with the abundant harvest produced by their tree, they let us know and we mobilize our volunteers to pick the bounty. The harvest is split three ways: 1/3 is offered to the tree owner, 1/3 is shared among the volunteers, and 1/3 is delivered by bicycle to be donated to food banks, shelters, and community kitchens in the neighbourhood so that we’re putting this existing source of fresh fruit to good use. It’s a win-win-win situation!
This simple act has profound impact. With an incredible crew of volunteers, we’re making good use of healthy food, addressing climate change with hands-on community action, and building community by sharing the urban abundance.”
We were really happy to let them use the shed to help them harvest and share. They will be back next year for sure.
Story courtesy InsideToronto by Lisa Rainford
West Toronto Railpath honoured with urban design award. Landscape architect Scott Torrance received an Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence at a gala event Monday, Sept. 19 at the Palais Royale for his West Toronto Railpath project.
Landscape Architect Scott Torrance’s Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence for the West Toronto Railpath was unexpected, he said, admittedly still a little groggy from the previous night’s gala event at the Palais Royale on the lakeshore.
“It was a total surprise. It’s great that this project was honoured in this way,” said Torrance, Tuesday, Sept. 20. “It’s a tough award that’s given out every two years – it’s quite an honour.”
Torrance received the award of excellence for his design of the West Toronto Railpath between Cariboo Avenue and Dundas Street West in the small open spaces category while a honourable mention went to the Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization – Podium Roof Garden at 100 Queen St. W.
“Nathan Phillips Square is also a fabulous project,” said Torrance. “They’re really too different to compare them to each other.”
The West Toronto Railpath is on the alignment of a former rail corridor, which has been transformed into a public linear space.
“It’s been completed for a couple of years,” said Torrance. “I think when we started the project and I was walking down the corridor, it struck me that it had a wonderful wild quality, which is a rare experience in Toronto. We saw hawks there, lots of insects and butterflies, beautiful views – we wanted to maintain that quality.”
Torrance is pleased the way the railpath functions, not only for cyclists, but on a daily basis for pedestrians and in-line skaters.
Monday night’s ceremony brought together members of the design and development community. From 129 submissions comprised of a variety of built projects, visions and master plans as well as student works. A jury selected 23 projects for the awards of excellence and honourable mentions, including the Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge at 53 Strachan Ave. The project, which received excellence in the Visions and Master Plans category, was deemed too expensive and cancelled by the city. In the student projects category, an Award of Excellence went to Feed Toronto: Growing the Hydrofields.
University of Toronto graduate Drew Adams said Monday’s honour was “a big pat on the back” for him and his four colleagues, all of whom are landscape architects while Adams is an architect. The project’s main goal is to show how substantially the hydro fields could be transformed, he said.
Hydrofields are “just such a vast area, an ubiquitous element in North American cityscape, said Adams.
This year’s jury, a collection of renowned design professionals, included Christine Abe, principal architect at the MBTW Group; Ronji Borooah, town architect and head of urban design in the town of Markham; Ralph Giannone, founding partner at Giannone Petricone Associates Inc.; John Lorinc, a journalist specializing in urban affairs, municipal politics, development and public space and Greg Smallenberg, founding partner of Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg.
“The number and quality of this year’s nominated projects demonstrates a high level of sophistication and excellence in the design and construction of structures throughout the city,” said Etobicoke Lakeshore Councillor Peter Milczyn, chair of the Planning and Growth Management committee, in a statement. “This enhances the livability, vibrancy and aesthetics of Toronto. Toronto can proudly boast of having one of the most talented pools of practicing design professionals, and sophisticated development companies anywhere in the world.”
Visit http://www.toronto.ca/tuda for further details.