Ice-skating trail transforms unused space beneath Toronto highway

The latest instalment of our Dezeen x MINI Living video series explores an unused space beneath a highway in Toronto, which is being overhauled to create a new park complete with an ice-skating track.

Developed by urban designer Ken Greenberg and Toronto landscape architecture firm Public Work, the Bentway will be a linear park that occupies a mile-long stretch of previously unused land under the Gardiner Expressway.

Visual is by The Flat Side of Design

While the park is not yet complete, the ice-skating route opened to the public at the beginning of 2018.

The 220 metre-long ice path weaves in a figure-of-eight around the concrete columns that support the expressway overhead. Once work on the Bentway has been completed, the trail will be flanked by landscaped gardens and public artworks.

Visual is by The Flat Side of Design

This year the ice-skating track is expected to remain open until March, after which it will become a path for pedestrians and rollerbladers.

The Bentway project aims to transform an unused urban space into a new public amenity, in an area of the city where there is a shortage of parkland and many residents don’t have gardens.

Areas of the park will be watered using a drainage system that channels storm run-off from the expressway above.

Visual is by Public Work

The park will play host to year-round activities and events, including public markets, exhibitions, festivals, and theatrical performances.

Events will take place at an amphitheatre able to accommodate 500 guests, as well as an open-air theatre that can seat 250.

Visual is by Public Work

The movie is part of Dezeen x MINI Living Initiative, a year-long collaboration with MINI exploring how architecture and design can contribute to a brighter urban future through a series of videos and talks.

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