On November 28th, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee will consider a report on the feasibility and implementation of Rail Deck Park: a proposal to deck over the rail corridor between Bathurst Street and Blue Jays Way to create a new 20-acre urban park. The estimated total cost of the park is $1.665 billion—less than the cost of acquiring 20 acres of land in downtown Toronto. The $1.665 billion includes the cost of acquiring air rights.
Downtown Toronto already has less parkland—on both an area and per person basis—than the
city-wide average. With downtown growing faster than the rest of the city, this differential will only be exacerbated. The high (and rising) cost of land downtown necessitates creative solutions, such as Rail Deck Park.
Rail Deck Park offers the City its last opportunity to access a large, contiguous piece of parkland in the core. The park would help address downtown’s parkland shortfall and serve the immediate needs of downtown’s growing population, while also building a park of regional significance.
This paper examines the challenges the City has faced in providing parkland downtown, and the opportunity presented by Rail Deck Park.