‘Super park’ in Don Valley gets super seed funding

Philanthropists to bring multi-million dollar project to life

A group of private donors has pledged $3.5 million to help kickstart a re-imagining of the Lower Don River Valley.

On Oct. 18, Mayor John Tory introduced the six philanthropists, whose donations will help fund a new 200-hectare “super park” stretching from Pottery Road in the north down to Corktown Common and Lake Ontario.

“Toronto has been built around the ravines,” Tory said. “It has given the city a real but dramatically under-appreciated special identity. The physical soul of the city comes from this very space and the other ravines.”

What will the Don River Valley Park look like?

A map view showing the expected Don River Valley, courtesy of DONRIVERVALLEYPARK.CA

Evergreen’s Don River Valley Park campaign was launched last year by Evergreen in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Mayor Tory speaking in a media scrum
‘We are constantly working alongside police and park staff trying to create safer parks,’ Mayor John Tory said Oct. 18.

“We’re celebrating the first mile of achievement in pursing a vision for the Toronto ravine system,” said Andy Chisholm, a member of the Evergreen board of directors. “Starting with this incredible green space in the Lower Don Trail area from here to the lake.”

The donors announced Oct. 18 include Frances and Tim Price, Andy Chisholm and Laurie Thomson, the Jackman family, Judy and Wilmot Matthews, Kelly and Sen. Michael Meighen, and Trans Canada Trails.

Advocacy, partnerships, civic engagement and the dedication of the people involved in the Don River Valley Park are helping give Torontonians a new perspective on the green space, Tory said.

“It is pretty basic things but very important things that will make the Lower Don more accessible, including the Belleville underpass, Pottery Road bridge and the Bayview multi-use trail,” Tory said.

Come spring, the City of Toronto plans have new wayfinding signage directing visitors around the Lower Don.

“We will have to be prudent in how we spend the money,” Tory said. “But parks, transit, housing are not options. They are necessities if we’re going to maintain a liveable city going forward.”