Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Skating Trail Opening under Busy Toronto Highway as New Winter Attraction

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Skating Trail Opening under Busy Toronto Highway as New Winter Attraction

Article excerpt

Toronto gets new skating trail under highway


TORONTO - Skaters in Toronto will soon be able to glide along a new ice track running under a busy elevated highway as the city opens its latest winter attraction this weekend.

The Bentway Skate Trail, a 220 metre ribbon of ice, runs in a rough figure-eight around several massive concrete pillars -- or "bents" -- supporting the Gardiner Expressway. The trail, which opens to the public Saturday, is part of a larger project -- The Bentway -- that seeks to make better use of the space under the key artery leading into the city core.

"The city is getting very dense in terms of its population, which is a great thing for Toronto, but we also recognize that people need a new kind of backyard, a new kind of place to hang out and do stuff with friends and family," said Julian Sleath, CEO of the non-profit Bentway Conservancy, which operates the site.

"We hope that, in the days to come and the years ahead, the Bentway becomes a very public space for everyone to enjoy."

For the rest of the winter, the Bentway will be a hub not only for skating, but for community programs. DJ performances, free skate rentals, free skating lessons, and programs to teach kids to use DJ turntables will all take place on a regular basis.

"We think it's really important for public space to be embraced by everyone and to make it as free and accessible as we can," said Sleath.

About one kilometre of sub-Gardiner space is slated to be open to the public by mid-to-late summer 2018, featuring pedestrian and cycling trails, open-air gallery and performance spaces, landscaped greenery and more.

"We're still talking and developing and consulting," Sleath said. "I think it's really important to work with the local community and neighbourhoods to determine what they want with this space ... We're talking to a number of organizations about pop-up summer classes and activities but we also want to talk about long-term interest in this area. …

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