$25M donation to spark Gardiner underpass transformation

A new project will turn a portion underneath the Gardiner Expressway into a public space.
A new project will turn a portion underneath the Gardiner Expressway into a public space. Under Gardiner/Twitter

TORONTO – The Gardiner Expressway underpass is about to get a facelift thanks to a $25-million donation.

Project: Under Gardiner will see the 1.75-km stretch from  Strachan Avenue to Spadina Avenue transformed into a multi-use trail and cultural hub.

Philanthropists Will and Judy Matthews made the $25 million donation which will – in part – fund the project’s construction.

“It is an incredible and transformative gesture and gesture doesn’t do justice to what this is,” Mayor John Tory said.

Tory was joined by councillors Joe Cressy and Mike Layton as well as Waterfront Toronto head John Campbell and Lai-King Hum, president of City Place Residents Association at the announcement.

“There is something… quite majestic about this,” Tory said.

“Now the process of consultation begins…I can’t wait to see what the residents and what all the people who are going to be involved making this happen have to say and what the result is going to be.”

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Waterfront Toronto will lead public engagement  and consultation for the project.

Construction will begin summer 2016 and its initial phase of the project is set to be complete in 2017.

The Twitter account, @Undergardiner, tweeted about the announcement Tuesday morning.

The City of Toronto put forth a similar initiative with the completion of the Underpass Park in 2012.

Located just west of the Don River underneath the overpass conjoining Eastern Avenue, Adelaide Street, and Richmond Street East, the cement park was part of the city’s effort to revitalize Toronto’s waterfront.

The 2.5-acre park cost $9.5 million and features adult recreation facilities, a climbing structure suitable for all ages, two basketball courts and a skateboard park.