Statement - Advancing the Implementation of Rail Deck Park

January 16, 2020 - You have to imagine the city you want before you can build it. Rail Deck Park is a once in a generation city-building opportunity to transform Toronto. City Council has committed to continuing work to advance Rail Deck Park – now, we can make it a reality.

Today's report takes the critical next step in securing the first phase of Rail Deck Park. City staff are recommending continuing negotiations to acquire the air rights for the first 3 acres of Rail Deck Park, but also to initiate expropriation of this first phase – 3 acres above the Union Station Rail Corridor, between Spadina Avenue and Blue Jays Way – if negotiations remain unsuccessful. Combined with a private parkland proposal to the immediate east and the existing city-owned Northern Linear Park to the South, this acquisition of phase 1 of Rail Deck Park could mean 7 acres of new parkland above the rail corridor with construction starting as early as 2022.

Simply put, this Rail Deck Park approach means more parkland, faster.

Public spaces make cities liveable. In downtown Toronto they are not only critical, they are desperately needed. In the next 25 years the population of downtown is expected to double to 500,000 people. The number of daily downtown employees is also expected to double to nearly 900,000 people. Not to mention the millions of annual visitors to downtown Toronto and our adjacent destinations like the Rogers Centre, Aquarium, and central waterfront. Meanwhile downtown Toronto already has lowest level of parkland in the entire city. For residents, for workers, and for visitors from across the country and around the world, Rail Deck Park will be transformational.

Great cities invest in their future. Rail Deck Park is bold, it is ambitious, and it is necessary if we aspire to build a truly 21st Century city.  With this proposed next step, we can take one big step closer to getting it built.