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Vincent De Tourdonnet
Cyclists on The Toronto West Rail PathThis Elegantly designed path connects two sides of a neighborhood previously divided by train tracks.
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Vincent De Tourdonnet
Structure on the Toronto West Rail Path
By Vincent de Tourdonnet
The Toronto West rail path is a remarkable new multi-purpose recreational corridor and linear park that connects two sides of a neighborhood previously divided by train tracks. A dream of local residents’ associations since the 1990s, the first completed phase finally opened this past June. The current access points are Dundas Street West and Sterling Road to the south, and Cariboo Avenue and Osler Street to the north.
In the north, the trail connects nicely with the west end of the Davenport bike lane. The south end extension remains uncertain because original plans called for the path to continue to King Street and Strachan Avenue, but those plans are being reconsidered. Due to developments with the Go Train expansion and the proposed airport link, Metrolinx has indicated that some of that rail corridor may no longer be available. Alex Shevchuk of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation states, “The extension will still happen, but the path may exit somewhere near Sudbury Street south of Queen and would have to be integrated into developments being done in that area.”
This new pathway is a fine example of how Toronto can be transformed into a place of practical beauty. On weekends and early evenings, the multi-use path is already quite popular with a mix of strolling families, cyclists and rollerbladers. At those peak times, anyone seeking swift passage may want to think of alternate routes, but for a cyclist with time to enjoy the itinerary, there is no better way to cross this part of town.
No mere strip of asphalt by the tracks, the Toronto West Rail Path is elegantly designed, freshly planted with greenery and filled with urban art that complements the stark beauty of this transformed industrial landscape. The success of this path, begun as a grassroots initiative, begs the question: what’s possible in my community?