TORONTO, ONTARIO (October 18, 2016) - Today at a news conference at Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto Mayor John Tory, joined by Evergreen CEO Geoff Cape, and the Don River Valley Park Campaign Chair Andy Chisholm, patrons and supporters, marked the ‘First Mile’ of the city-wide ravine strategy.
The Don River Valley Park project, which started as a multi-year public and private fundraising campaign launched last year by Evergreen in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority, aims to create a ‘super park’, a massive 480-acre green space spanning from Evergreen Brick Works south to the mouth of Lake Ontario.
Councillor Mary Fragedakis, Ward 29 Toronto-Danforth and Janie Romoff, General Manager of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation were also on site to celebrate the completion of Evergreen’s ‘Don River Valley Park’ campaign.
With this announcement, Mayor Tory and Ms. Romoff request that the Parks and Environment Committee study the feasibility of designating this area a City of Toronto Park and identifying next steps in the Lower Don Trail Master Plan.
“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.”
“These innovative partnerships are at the heart of building thriving and livable cities,” said Evergreen CEO Geoff Cape. “Thank you to our donors and partners for their extraordinary support and dedication in giving Torontonians and visitors to our great city access to the incredible green space that is the Lower Don.”
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.
“Together we are creating a true legacy project,” said Andy Chisholm, Don River Valley Park Campaign Chair. “Our shared vision will help revitalize the ravines and provide engaging active programs and cultural initiatives like the new public art program to be launched in 2017.”
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.
Already the project has led to significant multi-use roads and trail improvements, with new gateways, access points and bridges, and improved pedestrian and cycling trails planned for 2017 to 2020 and beyond.
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 and respect the location, ecology and history of Evergreen Brick Works and the Lower Don. Details to be announced in early 2017.
The draft ravine strategy, which is proceeding through consultation, is scheduled for City Council review in April 2017.
Since 1991, Evergreen, a not-for-profit, has provoked bold action in transforming public landscapes into thriving community spaces. We believe that connecting people, natural and built worlds create flourishing cities for the future. For more than 25 years Evergreen has connected, collaborated, and catalyzed Canadians to do amazing things positively affecting attitudes and behaviours that lie at the core of a sustainable city. Evergreen.ca
Evergreen Brick Works is living lab for innovation and sustainability, a showcase in green building design and a year-round award winning public space. It is a showcase of exceptional outdoor play spaces, ecological restoration and establishment of local food networks.
About the City of Toronto
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LeaAnne Ross, Evergreen Canada
647.406.5336 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Keerthana Kamalavasan, Office of the Mayor
647-460-7507 | Keerthana.Kamalavasan@toronto.ca
Matthew Cutler, Parks, Forestry and Recreation
416-560-8726 | email@example.com
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