— The Bentway, Toronto
At our most recent CPRA Board of Directors meeting on February 12th in IceBoat Terrace, invited guests Co-executive Director of The Bentway David Carey and his colleague Chasya Dove presented us a succinct and illuminating overview of The Bentway’s origins and history. Plus they were kind to provide us with updates on current and ongoing events—such as keeping the Skating Park open until the end of March, (with Free Skate Rentals on Thursdays and Skating Clinics for Adults and Kids.)
The Bentway, we were told, (for those of us who didn’t already know), began when Judy and Wil Matthews, along with Ken Greenberg, approached Mayor John Tory a couple of years ago with a remarkable proposition. They donated $25-million for The Bentway—a project that now is transforming an unused 1.75 km section of former wastelands under the Gardiner Expressway into a safe space—where people can walk, cycle, skate, or simply go to meet or make new friends.
Judy Matthews is a retired urban planner and philanthropist who’s been involved with many public-sector planning projects in the past—including the revitalization of St. George Street, which runs through the heart of the University of Toronto—and also with the U of T’s Open Space Master Plan, the Kings College Road project, the Harbourfront Pedestrian Piazza and Waterfront Promenade, and the Parks and Trees Foundation.
The Bentway Journey, Its Aims and Rewards
As Board Chair of The Bentway, Mazyar Mortazavi has stated, “Our journey is sustained by the ongoing support of Mayor Tory, Councillors Cressy and Layton, the Waterfront Secretariat, and other key staff at the City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto.” Co-executive Directors Ilana Altman and David Carey have added that, “With a vision to ‘change how people build, connect in, and value urban life,” audacity was never in short supply as The Bentway was imagined into being.” Further adding, “Equally as enduring has been a commitment to creating a shared space driven by partnerships with artists, neighbours, knowledge-keepers, city animators, designers, and fellow urbanists.”
There are a wealth of Bentway events to look forward to in 2020. You can go to the links below for announcements and updates of their programs and playdowns as new Play Spaces for kids, a patio-type Play Café (hot chocolate bar and café, for instance) in May, new basketball courts with 30 hoops and Basketball Clinics for kids, and so on throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Halloween Week is another example. Longer-term goals include a new Off-Leash Dog Park, which is sure to be welcomed.
As David and Chasya explained things to our Board last Wednesday, The Bentway is “focusing on reaching out to the local communities and residents’ associations like the CPRA—seeking our help in establishing a creative partnership with them to expand and promote these ongoing project initiatives.
We encourage our residents to have a look at the links below and join us in supporting a sentiment:
“The Bentway is more than just a place. It’s a spark and a platform for some of the most critical discussions we need to be having as an inclusive and progressive city. And it’s just getting started.”Bentway Board of Directors member Daniel Shearer, President of Cossette, a Canadian marketing company.
The Bentway consortium are asking: What kind of city do we want to build together? How can we create a more connected Toronto? What would you like us to tell them?