A proposed “super park” could take over the Don River Valley, stretching from the Evergreen Brick Works south to Lake Ontario.
The Don River Valley Park would be the second-largest park in the city at 480 acres, larger than High Park but smaller than the sprawling Rouge Park, which covers about 12,355 acres (5,000 hectares).
Speaking at the Brick Works on Tuesday, Mayor John Tory said the park would largely be funded by private donors. Donations would cover $3.5 million of the needed $5 million, Tory said, adding he hoped the announcement would spur a trend of private donations to public works in the city.
“I will say that it is the advocacy, the partnership, the civic engagement and the dedication, of the people here [at Evergreen] that are changing how the city looks at this space and how the city looks at itself,” Tory said.
Tory praised Evergreen and its CEO Geoff Cape for their “civic philanthropy.” While many people in the city donate to the arts and hospitals, Tory said, patrons don’t necessarily look at public places in the same way.
“We didn’t [always] look at civic philanthropy the same way … thanks to the leadership of an organization like Evergreen, and Geoff Cape, [we are].
“They represent the conscience of the city. They launched the campaign [for the park] in partnership with the city and the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority. The campaign challenged us to reimagine the Brick Works as a super park,” he said.
Sometimes you get the good assignment. Hard to believe this place is downtown. pic.twitter.com/h369qMgbCH
— Momin Qureshi (@Momin680NEWS) October 18, 2016
The proposed park would including hiking trails, biking trails, new signage (so that people would know where it is, and how to get in), and outdoor art exhibits.
Second park this month
Tory’s announcement comes the same month that council voted unanimously to study another downtown park. The proposed Rail Deck Park would stretch 21 acres over the downtown rail corridor between Bathurst Street and Blue Jays Way. It could end up costing $1 billion.
The corridor would continue to be used by Metrolinx and Via Rail — and connect the neighbourhoods of King-Spadina, City Place and the waterfront.