Jane's Walk: West Toronto Railpath

Future Railpath over Bloor St.Future Railpath over Bloor St.
One of this weekend's "Jane's walks", honouring Jane Jacobs. Details are from the Jane's Walk website.

Time: 3:00 pm Sunday May 4, 2008
Meeting Place: We will meet in front of the Post Office at 1117 Queen West (south west corner of Queen and Lisgar) and then walk to the rail line.
Tour Guide: Alex Speigel and Netami Stuart
Duration: 90 minutes to 2 hours

Picture of the beltline in torontoThe railway line from the Union Station cuts a sweeping north west arc to the Junction, separating the old town of Brockton from Parkdale. Once a part of the Grand Trunk Railway line, it became part of the Belt Line Railway that encircled the City of Toronto, running from Union Station, north up to hinterlands of Eglinton east through Forest Hill and Moore Park, past the Brickworks and then down the Don Valley back to Union Station. This part of the route now contains major railway lines and the future link to the airport and, as a continuous right of way through the city, will also become a new dedicated bike path known as the West Toronto Rail Path that will link the Junction area with the downtown.

Starting in the Queen West neighbourhood we will begin near the site of the Parkdale Railway Station and then walk the route of the future bike path looking through the “back door” of the city at the older warehouses and residential neighbourhoods on either side. The right of way is a sort of urban frontier, with great open vistas of the city, scrappy natural habitat and a backhanded view of the “retreating industrial glaciers” (Ken Greenberg) that lines the tracks. Railway corridors, both active and abandoned, trace wonderful pathways through the city and offer rich opportunities for new connections—renewed transit corridors between neighbourhoods, walking and bicycle paths, even wildlife corridors. The oddly shaped land parcels on either side present the potential for new mixed use development that could buffer existing neighbourhoods from the tracks and offer incubator facilities for creative new enterprises.

Walkers can exit on Delaney Street and walk back to the starting point, or can continue further along the railpath to north of College Street and catch the 505 or 506 streetcar. The truly adventurous can continue as far north as Bloor to arrive at Dundas West Station on the Bloor line.

Alex Speigel is an architect and developer who enjoys exploring edge conditions around the city—back lanes, hidden neighbourhoods, rail lines and orphaned industrial sites.

Netami Stuart has been involved in making the West Toronto Railpath into a linear park since 2004. Netami designs parks and counts trees for a living.

Click here for details.


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Jane's Walk - Photos

Scott sent in some photos from the Jane's Walk along the future Railpath site. You can view his photos here.