Disrupting Design

Transforming the unused area under Toronto's Gardiner Expressway into a public art space

The disregarded space under the Gardiner Expressway will become a park, now known as The Bentway — or maybe it's not quite right to call it a park.

The Bentway aims to be 'a space where we play back to Toronto the city that we're becoming'

This is what the space under Toronto's Gardiner Expressway looks like now — but not for long. (Toronto Public Works)

Soon, the unused and disregarded space under the Gardiner Expressway will become a park, now known as The Bentway — or maybe it's not quite right to call it a park.


 

Ken Greenberg, an urban designer working on the project, says, "Part of its disruptive nature is it's not quite obvious what to call it. It is not a park. It's something different."

"I can describe it as a living room, as a porch. People are going to come up with all these names, but the main thing is that it's not one single thing."


 

So what will you find in this living room/porch/park/thing? In a series of 55 "rooms" between the Gardiner's supporting structure, The Bentway will become a performance space for music, theatre and dance as well as a meeting place for the city featuring markets, food and recreational trails.

CBC's Matt Galloway finds out what's planned for the public space under Toronto's Gardiner Expressway. (CBC)

Greenberg sees it as "a space where we play back to Toronto the city that we're becoming" and has high hopes for how this design can help weave the social fabric of the city.

"In this amazingly heterogeneous city that we inhabit, what is extraordinarily important is common ground: where all of us who are so different actually rub elbows, where we see each other not through the windshields of cars, but on foot, doing things together."

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