Two new stretches of space underneath the Gardiner are gearing up for a total redesign.
The Bentway, in partnership with the City of Toronto, Waterfront BIA, and Toronto Downtown West BIA, is considering six possible designs to revamp two neighbouring spaces below the downtown expressway: one at Simcoe Street and the other immediately east at York Street.
A design competition for the two areas was launched and has now been narrowed down to three shortlisted designs for each space. Torontonians are encouraged to provide feedback on the proposals by January 19 via an online survey.
Below are the proposed designs for each intersection.
York Street Proposals
1. Future Forest
- Protected green houses filled with seedlings and semi-established shrubs and trees
- Powered by wind power from the Gardiner and potentially solar from building reflections
- Coloured LED lights will afford plants an extended growing season
- After three years, the greenery would begin to be dispersed into green spaces, sidewalks, balconies, and people’s homes
2. Waking the Shore
- Painted and sculptural forms of rising waves connecting passersby to Lake Ontario
- Features two swelling waves made of brightly painted reused tires
- LED light rods and aluminum chimes suspended between the Gardiner’s south concrete bents
3. Boom Town
- Theatrical reimagining of the space featuring a cast of animated “Bent Buddies” meant to add whimsy to the area
- A nod to the boom lifts continuously present underneath the Gardiner for maintenance
- Bents wrapped in bright blue and chrome to reflect surrounding lights, buildings, cars, etc.
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Simcoe Street Proposals
1. Pixel Story
- Four Gardiner bents painted in a blue pixelated design
- Curved pixel wall that can be arranged in multiple configurations
- Pixels can be arranged to display images or games like tic-tac-toe
2. Patina of Life
- A large central platform with four connected green micro-corridors: a seedling library, an experimental rock garden, a saltwater marsh garden, and an experimental pollinator garden
- Would also feature interactive stepping stones and artwork
3. Fragments of a Home
- Sculptures and designs representing the boundary between public and domestic living
- Representations of doorways, rugs, stools, and curtains