If you Google, ‘what is a park?’, you’d get this definition: a large public green area in a town, used for recreation. Well that’s far from the truth when you visit Underpass Park in Toronto, Ontario. It is the first park built under an overpass in the city and is considered to be one of the most extensive underpass parks in Canada.
Located beneath the overpasses of Adelaide Street, Eastern Avenue and Richmond Street, the park has transformed what was a derelict space into a multi-use area for the public to enjoy.
Construction of the site began in 2011. It was designed by Canadian planning, urban design and landscape architecture firm, Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg with The Planning Partnership. The area’s unique landscape combined with the concrete overpass has been transformed into a welcoming environment for all to enjoy. Bringing new meaning to ‘concrete jungle’, there is a jungle gym, areas to sit and even a skate park and basketball courts.
All summer long on Thursdays, there’s a Farmer’s Market which opens at 3pm. The market is expected to wrap up Oct. 19. While there, you can become part of the artwork…just look up. ‘Mirage’ is made up of mirrored octagonal stainless steel panels attached to the overpass and adds light and movement to the space.
In 2015 the 23 concrete pillars were the canvasses for more than 20 artists and have been washed in vibrant colors resulting in beautiful murals thanks to a number of organizations such as StreetARToronto, Mural Routes and the Corktown Residents and Business Association.. The works depict the diversity of the city.
Canadian Street Artist Labrona created ‘human pillars’ out of the concrete ones. They are holding up the city above reminding us all that people are the critical pillars in any city.
If you find yourself in Corktown, take some time to enjoy the graffiti art as you pass through Underpass Park.