Overlea Boulevard Bridge

Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Overlea Boulevard Bridge

Toronto’s relationship with its ravines is changing. Up to now the ravines have existed quietly at the edge of the city’s neighbourhoods, the end of its streets, and as a vast, green, largely impenetrable landscape beyond its residential backyards. But the city’s rapid growth and intensification has led to an increased need for outdoor open space for recreation and respite, forcing Toronto’s ravines into the spotlight.

As of 2014 Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America with over 2.79 million residents, many of whom are living in increasingly dense forms of housing with limited access to private outdoor space. Within this context, the 26,000 acres of wilderness ravine landscape within the city’s boundaries, containing miles of hiking trails, watercourses, fields, parks and other amenities, appear as sunken green corridors filled with potential. If their ecology is supported and access and use carefully designed, the ravines could serve as the veins and lungs of Toronto’s increasingly urban self.

#WWSf Toronto seeks to explore the ravine system’s inherent capacity to be a defining element of the city’s identity, and understand the role that designers and artists working within the public realm can play to support the transformation of the ravines into an interconnected and accessible open space and cultural network for all.

Featuring work by local artists, architects, environmentalists and planners, along with archival data, GIS mapping, and feedback from Toronto’s citizens, this is RavinePortal.