Residents in the west end are celebrating the rejuvenation of the Roncesvalles Avenue neighbourhood, after enduring two years of construction noise and traffic headaches.
The newly paved streetscape in what has long been considered a cultural centre for Toronto's Polish community was a cause for happiness for Martha Goodings, who has lived in the area for nearly three decades.
"I love it. I just couldn't believe that we've ended up with so many trees, so many varieties," she said. "Credit to the city, credit to the residents."
Still, the 100 trees and new cycle paths framing the street are welcome additions that didn't come without some grief for local businesses and residents.
Glad digging is over
Crews began tearing up the road in July 2009, with a plan to have new streetcar tracks and water mains laid down by November 2010. But the project was put on hold after a private contractor realized the new track was too close to a gas line, requiring backhoes to return and start digging again.
The sounds of jackhammering and the sight of neon construction cones became all too common for Neil Sinclair, who lives with his family in the area.
"It's been kinda of a challenge over the last couple of years. when they tore everything up to do the sewers and then paved it all again and then tore it up again," Sinclair said.
William Martinen, who owns a bike shop in the neighbourhood, said many shops went out of business during the long construction period. He's just glad the digging is over.
"Soon, as they start doing the tracks and the King streetcars start running again, then we'll truly be back," he said.