If I have learned anything from this pandemic it is that, when push comes to shove, Torontonians will eat pretty much anywhere. On sidewalks. On streets. In white tents that masquerade as outdoor dining. And in many other little urban crevices.
I am only half-joking, because the reality is that this pandemic has pried us away from the status quo and forced us to reconsider how we allocate and how we occupy many of our public spaces. There will be some positive outcomes on the other side of this.
To that end, a new city building effort has just been announced here in Toronto. (Alex Bozikovic of the Globe and Mail wrote about it here in “Rebirth of the Promenade”.) The vision is called “University Park” and the team behind it includes the landscape architecture firm PUBLIC WORK, the non-profit Evergreen, and the Michael Young Family Foundation.
What they want to do is transform Toronto’s University Avenue into something akin to La Rambla in Barcelona — except better:
Our vision brings together patches of public green space that are currently disconnected and inaccessible in order to create a signature destination in the centre of our province’s capital. By making minor adjustments to the existing roadway on University Avenue and converting only 9.5 acres of city-owned asphalt into native landscape, pedestrian walkways, bike paths, and cultural installations, we can create a 90-acre park that spans from Queen’s Park all the way to the waterfront.
It’s about time. My only request is that they include small sidewalk crevice where I might be able to sit and enjoy a chicken burrito and a glass of wine. To learn more about University Park and to subscribe to their newsletter, click here.
Image: PUBLIC WORK