Advancing the Implementation of Rail Deck Park

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. We are now taking the critical next step in securing the first phase of Rail Deck Park -- making it a reality.

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 and the number of employees are both expected to roughly double, not to mention the increasing millions of annual visitors to destinations like the Rogers Centre, Aquarium, and central waterfront. Meanwhile downtown Toronto already has the 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.

Young people understand the critical necessity to invest now in the future we want to create. They will live in the downtown Toronto that we imagine and plan today. I was proud to be joined by several students from Orde Street Public School this past Thursday at City Hall, to advocate for Rail Deck Park and to present their park designs to the mayor’s Executive Committee.  

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 next step now approved at Council, we can take one big step closer to getting it built.