Railway track space could become Toronto’s ‘Central Park’

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Railway track space could become Toronto’s ‘Central Park’

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Railway track space could become Toronto’s ‘Central Park’

Toronto Mayor John Tory now spurring on a project long dreamed of but never acted on: decking over the downtown rail corridor

A bold new legacy park pitched by public officials for the downtown core, being dubbed Toronto’s Central Park, would link long-separated neighbourhoods and provide much needed green space.

That’s the hope of Mayor John Tory, local politicians and senior planning officials in the newly announced attempt to secure the rights to the air space over the rail corridor between Bathurst St. and Blue Jays Way to build a 21-acre deck park now being called Rail Deck Park.

Although the city made its intentions clear Wednesday, there are still many unknowns. Most critical is how to pay for the construction and maintenance of such a significant space with looming budget pressures ahead. And a project of this size, according to those pitching it, is still many years in the making.

With an area just larger than 16 regulation football fields, the proposed park would dwarf all other green spaces in the core. It’s an open space that chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat said could be “our Central Park” — a “grand civic gesture” in a part of Toronto experiencing unprecedented residential growth and one that is also the most deficient in parkland. […]

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