April 25, 2024

The Bentway’s Summer 2024 programming brings the city back together in public space, including the Canadian debut of Yoga With Adriene, roller skate parties, and an exhibition of free public art, Softer City.

The Bentway is pleased to announce its Summer 2024 season featuring large-scale parties, community recreation, and free public art presented under the Gardiner Expressway, running from May 24 to October 6.

The latest Toronto Foundation Vital Signs Report named Toronto “one of the loneliest places in the country.” But The Bentway knows that urban public spaces play a fundamental role in bolstering social connections and building community health:

“Cities are becoming increasingly lonely places to live, in part due to rising costs and increased demands on daily life, but also in how our communities are designed. We believe that shared public spaces like The Bentway can help us meet the growing challenge of urban isolation by creating the conditions for shared experiences, encouraging people to reconnect to their neighbours,” says Ilana Altman, Co-Executive Director of The Bentway.

The cornerstone of the season is The Bentway’s free public art exhibition, Softer City, a series of six commissioned art installations, performances, and events that explore “softness” as a collective strategy for social connections.

Join us for Opening Weekend
May 24 – 26

Summer Opening Night Party

When: Friday May 24, 2024; 7-11pm
Where: The Bentway Skate Trail (250 Fort York Blvd)

Celebrate the start of summer with an outdoor party featuring line dancing with SPURS. Experience this season’s new artwork while you mix, mingle, and dance.

Walking:Holding performances

When: Saturday May 25 and Sunday May 26, 2024; 10am-7pm (performances take place every 15 minutes)
Where: The Bentway Skate Trail (250 Fort York Blvd)

Walking:Holding is a unique, experiential performance that invites audience members (one at a time) on a guided walk through the neighbourhood, where they encounter and hold hands with a series of people along the way. Rosana Cade’s project embraces social connections between strangers, illuminating how identity, intimacy, hypervisibility, and vulnerability intersect in public space.

Softer City Curators Tour

When: Saturday May 25 & Sunday May 26, 2024; 2pm-3pm
Where: The Bentway Skate Trail (250 Fort York Blvd)

Be the first to explore our Softer City outdoor exhibition by joining a curators’ tour on opening weekend. Learn about the inspiration behind the exhibition theme and come see how Softer City invites artists, architects, and designers to explore new approaches to social connection and soft encounters in our city.

Softer City: Artist Installations and Workshops


(On View May 24 – October 6, 2024)

Perspective Alignment by Chloë Bass (Brooklyn, USA)
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)

  • Chloë Bass’ sculptural benches, formed from solid Ontario rock and engraved with poetic reflections, welcome visitors to sit alongside a friend (or stranger) and consider the difficult  but necessary work of softening our perspectives towards one another through empathy and care.

Wind Ensemble by Heather Nicol (Toronto, Canada)
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)

  • Brightly coloured windsocks dance overhead while windchimes echo throughout, picking up the movement of the wind and the energy of the city. Toronto-based artist Heather Nicol invites you to add your voice to this chorus, to pause and connect to your surroundings and one another.

Holding Space by Nnenna Okore (Chicago, USA)
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)

  • Nnenna Okore uses scaffolding, pipe, and Ankara – a versatile and iconic African fabric that embodies a deep sense of identity and community – to create a new space for human connection. Vibrant fabric hues weave around the Gardiner’s hard edges, softening the concrete infrastructure.

Tracings by Nico Williams (Tiohtià:ke; Montréal, Canada)
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)

  • How can we show care for our infrastructure and, by extension, for each other? Nico Williams applied “patches” (made with woven fabric and jingle cones) to the Gardiner’s concrete columns, incorporating traditional Indigenous regalia designs. These soft interventions add joy, beauty, and a caring touch to the Expressway.

Soft Fits by WIP Collaborative [Sera Ghadaki, Abby Coover, Elsa Ponce, Lindsay Harkema] (New York, USA)
The Bentway Studio (55 Fort York Blvd)

  • Few public spaces are designed with teenagers in mind. For Soft Fits, Brooklyn’s WIP Collective collaborated with local youth to create a playful lounge-scape under the trees at the edge of The Bentway Studio Terrace facing Canoe Landing Park.


Softer City: Beading Circle
June 22, 2024; 12pm-2pm and 3pm-5pm
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)

  • Join a community beading circle inspired by Nico Williams’s project Tracings, a series of large-scale Indigenous regalia designs installed under the Gardiner. Learn about basic beading techniques and the role that beading plays in healing practices in many communities.

Softer City: Freestyle Socials
July 20, 2024; 5pm-7pm
The Bentway Studio (55 Fort York Blvd)

  • Join Anthony Morgan and Aaron Fitzpatrick for their signature hilarious social game, Freestyle Socials. The game is simple! Through yes or no questions, share ideas and experiences about community and connection. There’s sure to be lots of laughter and you might even make a new friend!

Recreation & Social programs

A couple holding hands roller skates under a highway

(Free unless otherwise indicated)

Yoga with Adriene featuring Adriene Mishler (Austin, USA)
Saturday July 6, 2024; 10am (doors open at 8am) – $20 tickets on sale May 9
The Bentway and Garrison Common (250 Fort York Blvd)

  • The Bentway welcomes wellness icon Adriene Mishler of Yoga with Adriene for her first-ever live event in Canada! The YouTube superstar has inspired millions of people around the world to practice yoga from the comfort of their homes. Now, join Adriene and thousands of Torontonians live on July 6 for this unforgettable communal outdoor yoga class (co-hosted with Fort York).

Weekly Drawing Socials with Noble Space
Wednesdays between June 5 – September 25, 2024; 6:30pm-8:30pm
The Bentway Studio (55 Fort York Blvd)

  • Looking for a fun night out with a creative twist? Join us at the Bentway Studio (facing Canoe Landing Park) on Wednesday evenings for weekly Drawing Socials. No previous drawing experience? No problem! Our artist facilitators will help you try something new, and meet your neighbours, while learning drawing techniques..

Roller Skate Parties
Fridays June 14, July 12, August 16, September 27, 2024; 5pm-10pm
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)

  • Meet us under the Gardiner for our monthly Roller Skate Parties! Whether you’re skating for the first time or have superfly moves to show off, come cruise our figure-eight trail. Expect live DJs, awesome Hippie Market vendors, and your favourite food trucks. Our friends at SUSO Skate Co. will have gear rentals available too. These will be summer nights to remember!

Dino Runs @ The Bentway
June 22, July 20, August 24, September 14, 2024; 8:30am-11:30am – $15 tickets on sale now
The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd)

  • If your kids like dinosaurs, they’ll love Dino Runs @ The Bentway! The morning starts with costumed Dino Specialists teaching participants about dinosaurs through songs, dance, and games. Then, the kids become Dino Explorers, ready to chase and recapture escaped dinosaurs in a fun, non-competitive environment.

Supporters and Partners

Supporters and Partners:

Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund

Dream Community Foundation

Partners in Art

RBC Foundation

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and HeART Lab

Season Advisory:

Dalla Lana School of Public Health