The National Urban Design Awards have been established to recognize individuals, organizations, firms and projects that have contributed to the quality of life in our Canadian cities and their sustainability. The Jury had the following comments:
“Toronto’s West Toronto Railpath is a significant part to the city’s growing bicycle network of trails, with nine unique plazas and trail connections. The project combines wisely the restoration of historical rail bridges with the installation of new public art, and includes a palette of indigenous planting – important elements of placemaking and character of this area of city. The Railpath had a key role in the revitalization of the once derelict industrial area improving connections, access, creating a frontage where new residential development can be located to reuse former industrial lands.
The Railpath is showing a fusion of public spaces and a new idea of ‘conciliatory public spaces’ bridging the roughness of the rail lines and the neighbourhoods it crosses. The plantings create low maintenance and sustainable landscapes that highlight the local natural heritage and allowed scarce funds to be dedicated to creating high impact public spaces and building neighbourhood connections.”
More information is available on the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) website.