Underpass Park

A modern twist on an urban park.

Why is this a great design

Designed by landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg with The Planning Partnership, this park transforms derelict and underused space and takes full advantage of the concrete beams and columns of the overpasses to create a unique and inviting community asset that also provides year round weather protection. This urban park gives residents of the West Don Lands and adjacent community’s safe and beautiful ways to connect between the north and south sections of the neighbourhood.

The public art strategy for the West Don Lands is the first community scale comprehensive master art plan in Canada. When planning began, Underpass Park was identified as a high priority opportunity.

In late 2009, award-winning Toronto artist Paul Raff was selected through Waterfront Toronto’s first ever open public art competition. The permanent public artwork called Mirage is made up of 57 octagonal reflective polished stainless steel surfaces applied to the underside of the Richmond/Adelaide overpasses. The installation creates an illusionary appearance, bending light rays that produce displaced images like a mirage.

Each of the panels is slightly different in size and spacing to create a subtle sense of movement as their polished surfaces bounce light around the space. The artist uses the unusual site conditions of a park under an elevated roadway, to blur the horizon lines between earth and sky.

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