As the weather warms up we get outside more and have a chance to appreciate our city. There are hidden gems everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes open and look around. This space isn’t so much hidden as difficult to find but if you drive down the Bayview Extension and continue around and back up River Street toward Eastern Avenue you will see it as you go under the Gardiner Expressway.
Conceived as the first ever underpass playground in Canada, Underpass Park uses the unique location as a positive feature in the landscape design. Incorporating the pillars into the design and using the overpass as a weather shield designers Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg have created a welcoming community asset.
Right in the middle of what used to be a wasteland of concrete and industrial leftovers Underpass Park is part of the rejuvenation of the West Donlands and the waterfront.
The plaque reads:
“Welcome to Underpass Park. The first park built under an overpass in Toronto, Underpass Park opened in 2012 and transformed previously underused and derelict space into an urban neighbourhood amenity. The park features a number of spaces designed to encourage both active and passive recreation. The public artwork “Mirage” was created for the unique space and is comprised of mirrored octagonal stainless steel panels attached to the underside of the overpass to reflect light and movement.”
More information can be found at waterfronttoronto.ca
There are a lot of frustrations to living in Toronto so every once in a while you have to seek out what makes city life fun and fresh. Graffiti alley is just the thing to re-energize you and is the number one “gallery space” in Toronto for street art. The appeal is the colour, the grittiness and let’s face it… a hint of badness and graffiti has become a bona fide art form that is always on the cutting edge.
Just south of the intersection of Queen and Spadina you have to look for the alleyway that runs west over to Portland. Once you turn the corner there is no mistaking it, you’ll find a kaleidoscope of colours and figures that continues for the next kilometre.
Fans of the Rick Mercer Report on CBC will recognize this alley as the settings for the RMR Rants.
By it’s very nature graffiti and street art are ephemeral so, in theory, you could visit every day and have a different experience each time.
Toronto is a great city to explore, there’s always something new to see or do. If you’re searching for something free and off the beaten path to do this is a great option.
Vegans beware! Toronto’s Hogtown nickname is not animal friendly.
In the late 1800s meat processing was one of the city’s main industries. Livestock of all sorts was shipped to Toronto’s railyards for slaughter and processing. Pork was one of those products, thus the name Hogtown was born.
Told you it wasn’t pretty. The accompanying fruit photo is just to cleanse the palate.