Re-imagining Space for a Changing Toronto

May 16, 2019

On May 25 & 26, we’ll join over 150 other venues for Doors Open Toronto, a city-wide showcase of architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings and structures.

Doors Open at The Bentway will feature an event on May 26 that brings together local city-builders to discuss how Toronto has refashioned itself through a number of critical adaptive re-use projects that breathe new life into under-used spaces.

Urban designer and visionary behind The Bentway, Ken Greenberg, will join this panel discussion and read from his new book Toronto Reborn: Design Successes and Challenges, which explores the successes and challenges of some of these change-making urban projects, including The Bentway.

As Toronto has densified, it’s been especially important to reimagine these spaces – with empty lots becoming scarce and the downtown becoming more and more populated where can people go to relax and play? We need to look at the spaces we do have (like the underside of an expressway) and rethink what they can be. The Bentway is one answer to this question. As Ken explains, The Bentway is imagined as a “shared civic living room” for more than 70,000 condo-dwelling residents that live within a 10-minute walk of the space.

Beyond the downtown core, The Bentway model and momentum are offering inspiration to other emerging projects in Toronto such as The Meadoway and The Green Line, that make us proud of Toronto’s ability to find innovative solutions.

The Bentway is also forging a path internationally, serving as the only Canadian member of The High Line Network, a group of 19 urban infrastructure re-use projects that Ken believes are the  foundation for a new generation of public spaces.

Ken is, of course, our #1 fan. He points to The Bentway’s hidden beauty and potential as a programming platform. From the traces left behind by each epoch of Toronto’s layered history, to the strange architectural beauty of the Gardiner’s robust structural “bents”, Ken sees The Bentway as a space that can be animated with endless possibilities. Our range of programming, which focuses on everything from everyday experiences to one-of-a-kind art installations, is approached with what Ken calls an “open-ended spirit of innovation and invitation”. We hope you can share this spirit with us and explore our site during Doors Open Toronto!