In 2013, the Lower Don Trail Master Plan was completed for the City of Toronto and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority. The Master Plan is a road map forward and has established:
- Strategies to improve environmental protection, access and consider opportunities for public art in the Lower Don River valley lands.
- A long-term strategy to establish a theme and create a positive user experience.
- Guidelines and principles for future revitalization.
The Master Plan identified over 30 projects, which can be implemented in multiple phases. The City has identified three projects to be completed within Phase 1. This first phase is the beginning of a bold new chapter, a few of many projects envisioned to improve trail access and enjoyment for all.
There are five projects, which will be constructed in two phases between 2015 and 2016.
1. Pottery Road Bridge and Connection
2. Lower Don Trail (Pottery Road to Belleville Underpass)- Condition Audit and Surface Improvements
3. Belleville Underpass Improvements
4. Bayview Multi-Use Trail (MUT) will be constructed as part of 2016 Bayview Avenue Resurfacing Works.
5. The Narrows (Belleville to Bala underpass) - widening, surface and drainage improvements, Dundas and Gerrard Staircases, and Art Fence
Construction of Phase 1
During construction, intermittent trail closures will be expected between Pottery Road and Riverdale Park East & West. Construction staging and access will be planned to minimize impacts on the environment, traffic and trail users. Signs will be in place to inform trail users of a recommended detour route. Construction Schedule Phase 1 Construction will start in September 2015 with completion expected in summer of 2016.
Staging and Access
Pottery Road Crossing: Opportunity for staging area located in open area east of the Don River with access from Pottery Road.
Belleville Underpass: Opportunity for staging area located in open field west of the existing underpass. Opportunity for access along the Service Road connecting with the Bloor / DVP Ramps.
The Lower Don Trail Improvements project has been designed to:
- minimize the number of trees impacted
- provide compensation plantings for tree removals and injuries
- provide full restoration of all areas of disturbance
To complete the construction activities required during Phase 1, 83 trees need to be removed. More than 50% of the tree removals are non-native species. At least 4 of the tree removals are due to the very poor condition of the trees, and 11 trees are to be removed due to safety issues.
To compensate for vegetation impacts during construction, we will:
- plant 180 native trees (caliper and whips)
- plant 2500 native shrubs (potted and live stakes)
- restore all areas of disturbance with native seeding
Pottery Road Bridge and Connection
A new pedestrian/cycling bridge south of the existing arch bridge will connect the trail with the new Bayview Avenue Multi-Use Trail. The new bridge will provide users with a safe route that is separated from vehicular traffic along Pottery Road.
The new Belleville Underpass will be realigned and widened to create clear site lines that provide for a safe approach. The overall experience of travelling below the rail line will be greatly improved through the integration of seating and wayfinding elements that will promote this area as a special location along the trail.
The Narrows will be improved with enhanced habitat, trail widening and resurfacing. In addition to the existing staircase at Queen Street, new access points to the trail will be provided with stairs from existing bridges at Gerrard and Dundas Streets. The stairs will feature lookouts over the trail and have a carefully designed bicycle trough to permit cyclist access to the trail. A new signature art fence has been proposed, to add to the improved experience along the trail.
Bayview Multi-Use Trail
A new protected two-way pedestrian and bicycle facility on the east side of Bayview Avenue will provide continuous access from Pottery Road to Rosedale Valley Road.
Condition Audit and Surface Improvements
A series of trail repairs between Belleville Underpass and Pottery Road will improve safety, security and comfort of all trail users, maintain a state of good repair, improve accessibility, make best use of sustainable construction and maintenance technologies and minimize the impacts and disruptions to the sensitive natural environment.
Root Intrusion Repairs
Parts of the existing trail are cracked and broken due to roots intruding into the asphalt. Trees affecting theses parts of the trail will be removed and 1-2m of the trail on either side will be replaced.
Repairs to Cracked or Broken Pavement
Parts of the existing trail are cracked along the edges and along the width of the trail. 2m either side of the damaged trail will be removed and replaced.
Next Steps and Feedback
The first phase is the beginning of a bold new chapter, a few of many projects envisioned to improve trail access and enjoyment for all.
For more information, or to get updates by email when the trail is open or closed during the construction period, visit and subscribe to the construction blog:
Sr. Public Consultation Coordinator
Public Consultation Unit, City of Toronto
Phase 1 Construction will begin in late September 2015