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The West Don Lands gets a new public space as Underpass Park opens

Underpass Park. Courtesy Waterfront Toronto.

Underpass Park. Courtesy Waterfront Toronto.

Toronto’s Underpass Park officially opened Thursday, as part of the West Don Lands revitalization project.

Built by Waterfront Toronto, it is located under the Eastern Avenue overpass, an area that was formerly a neglected eyesore, littered with garbage and old tires.

Now, the transformation has turned Underpass park into Canada’s first ever park to be built under an overpass, and the largest.

“Underpass Park is an example of creative city building,” said John Campbell, President and CEO, Waterfront Toronto in a statement.  “By viewing the space under the overpasses as an opportunity, we turned a potential liability into a great neighbourhood asset, one that helps connect the community and raises the bar for urban space.”

Thursday’s opening marks phase one of the park. Phase two is being built west of St. Lawrence Street and will open in Spring 2013.

The opening is just a small part of the West Don Lands revitalization.

As part of the project, another public space, the new Don River Park, which covers 18 acres and cost more than $15 million, will also be opening.

In addition, a flood protection landform has been built to protect residents from the water of the Don River.

And the area will see a serious resurgence, courtesy of the 2015 PanAm Games. The West Don Lands will be home to the Athletes’ Village, that will sit on a redeveloped 80-acre site next to the Don River.

Pan Am Games Athletes' Village. Courtesy Waterfront Toronto

Pan Am Games Athletes' Village. Courtesy Waterfront Toronto

“Underpass Park is a great example of how you can take a space that was neglected and turn it into a nice place for people and families to enjoy”, said Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in a statement. “The park is part of the first phase of the West Don Lands redevelopment, which will transform the area in time for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.”

Developers are certainly making the most of this up-and-coming area. The River City condos, phase one and two will be located in the area.

River City Condos -- Phase One

River City Condos -- Phase One

It seems the park is already being put to good use by some of Toronto’s littlest citizens. Check out this glimpse of Underpass Park, courtesy Of Canadian Family Magazine.

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