Toronto and Evergreen celebrate private donations
TORONTO- Evergreen’s “Don River Valley Park” campaign and the completion of the “first mile” of the Lower Don Master Plan was celebrated in Toronto on Tuesday by a host of dignitaries, including Mayor John Tory was joined by Geoff Cape, CEO of Evergreen Canada, Janie Romoff, General Manager of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, and Evergreen’s donors and supporters.
Evergreen’s Don River Valley Park campaign was launched last year by Evergreen in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority. Built on the foundation of the Lower Don Trail Master Plan, the campaign aims to capture the opportunity of the Lower Don to create a “super park” – a massive green space spanning from Evergreen Brick Works south to the mouth of the Don River at Lake Ontario.
“Toronto was built around its ravines. They give the city a unique identity that has defined how our city has grown. This project allows us to celebrate our ravines, talk about the important role they play for our residents, our resilience and our quality of life,” said Mayor Tory. “With the help of private donors, we will continue to make improvements to the Lower Don Valley, like new way-finding signage and entry points that will help residents access and navigate this park.”
Thanks to this innovative funding partnership, key improvements will be visible when the Lower Don Trail re-opens this spring, including a new Pottery Road Bridge and Belleville Underpass, first-of-its-kind parks and trails wayfinding signage, and a new Bayview Multi-Use Trail. Staff will also have completed key planning initiatives including an environmental impact study that will identify areas that can sustain increased programming and a design study for art in the Don Landing.
Staff will also begin work to report to the Parks and Environment Committee on the feasibility of formally designating this area as a City of Toronto park and identifying ways to implement the Lower Don Trail Master Plan.
“Together we are creating a true legacy project,” said Andy Chisholm, Don River Valley Park Campaign Chair. “Our shared vision will help restore and revitalize the ravines, creating distinctive spaces with improved ecology and access, while introducing cultural initiatives like the new public art program to be launched in 2017.”
This first phase of the Don River Valley Park campaign has been made possible by a foundational donation by Frances and Tim Price, and major investments by Andy Chisholm and Laurie Thomson, the Jackman Family, Judy and Wilmot Matthews, Kelly and Senator Michael Meighen and Trans Canada Trails.
Support from donors, partners
“Thanks to the extraordinary support and dedication of our donors and partners, we are giving Torontonians and visitors to our great city greater access to the incredible greenspace that is the Lower Don,” said Evergreen CEO Geoff Cape.
Since the project launch in 2015, Evergreen and the City of Toronto have brought together landscape architects and designers, urban planners, City and Toronto Region Conversation Authority staff, artists and university students to reimagine a new “Don Valley Neighbourhood.” A centrepiece of the city’s ravine system, this area is a backyard to more than 250,000 residents and another 60,000 as part of the growing residential developments in the West Don Lands, East Bayfront, Central Waterfront and Downtown.
With ongoing community consultations, the City of Toronto, Evergreen and partners will continue to enhance the vibrancy of this green corridor by implementing a series of open-space improvements, protecting existing habitats and restoring healthy natural functions in the Lower Don watershed. In 2017, Evergreen will launch a unique, nature-inspired public art program featuring site-specific artist-led projects that respond to and respect the location, ecology and history of Evergreen Brick Works and the Lower Don. Details will be announced in early 2017.
Torontonians are invited to share their ideas for the Don River Valley Park by visiting http://donrivervalleypark.ca or engaging with the campaign on social media by following @DRVP_TO and using the hashtag #superpark.