The Lower Don Trail is a 4.7 kilometre section of multi-use trail for pedestrians and cyclists that runs along the Don River, from Pottery Road to Corktown Commons. Home to a wide array of plant and animal species, revitalization of sensitive natural habitat is ongoing.

Part of Toronto’s ravine trail network, the Lower Don Trail is a key part of the Pan Am Path, an 82 kilometre trail linking communities across Toronto and an important legacy of the 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Games.

Lower Don Trail Improvements include a number of works to improve the conditions of the existing trail and access into the surrounding trail network. These improvements are based on the Lower Don Trail Master Plan (2013).

 

 

In 2012-2013 the City of Toronto commissioned a Master Plan for the Lower Don Trail that would guide the development of this increasingly well-used parkland resource.  The goals of the plan were:

  • To recommend strategies to improve environmental protection and access, and consider possibilities for public art in the lower Don River valley lands.
  • To provide a long-term strategy to establish a theme, create positive user experiences and improve access.
  • To incorporate all existing studies, plans and initiatives in the study area.

The Lower Don Trail Master Plan informed recreation planning initiatives in the Lower Don Valley and clarified the City’s priorities for improvements in the area.

First phase of construction included:


Pottery Road Bridge and Connection

A new bridge for pedestrians and cyclist to connect the new Pottery Road Trailhead and the new Bayview Avenue Multi-Use Trail at ground level (at-grade) and separated from motorized traffic.

Bayview Avenue Multi-Use Path

On the east side of Bayview Avenue, a new bi-directional trail separated from traffic was installed. The trail is between 3.5-4 metres wide and connects with the existing multi-use trail on Bayview Avenue.Two sections of the trail were installed – from Pottery Road to south of the Brick Works, and from south of Bloor Street to Rosedale Valley Road.

Trail Surface Improvements

A review of existing trail conditions from Pottery Road to Belleville Underpass was carried out. Minor improvements were needed to address safety, circulation, visibility/sight-lines.

Belleville Underpass Realignment

The Belleville underpass was:

  • re-aligned and widened,
  • the grade/slope was reduced
  • sight lines were improved
  • lighting was installed

Wayfinding Pilot

The new signs in the Lower Don Trail represent the first deployment of the new Parks and Trails Wayfinding Strategy. Comments related to the new signs have been forwarded to project managers, who are evaluating this pilot phase over the winter. You can send additional comments to parkwayfinding@toronto.ca.

Planned Phase 2 work includes:

Dundas Street Staircase

The bridge over the Don River at Dundas Street connects the east and west sides of the Don Valley. New stairs from the sidewalk on the bridge to the valley below will be installed. The new staircase will include a bike trough for cyclists to use, to help guide their bikes as they walk up or down the staircase.

photograph of trail (existing)

Trail Widening and Drainage

The existing trail located between Belleville and Bala underpasses will be widened to 3.5-4 metres (where necessary), resurfaced, along with drainage/flood resilience improvements and minor realignments.

Art Fence

An art fence to reflect the existing conditions, natural, cultural and industrial heritage of the Don Valley will be installed. A competition will be held to retain an artist to provide creative concepts and designs for the fence. The art fence will replace the existing fence between Riverdale Park bridge to Corktown Common and will run along the west side of the trail. The artist may also identify other opportunity for improve the appeal of this parkland feature.

Riverdale Accessible Ramp

A new ramp is planned that will provide easier access to the Lower Don Trail from the Riverdale pedestrian bridge. The ramp will extend off the north side of the bridge, with a switch-back down to the trail. It will complement the existing staircase on the south side of the bridge.

We do not have a proposed Phase 2 construction schedule at this time, but for construction updates follow the Lower Don Trail blog.

A public consultation meeting for this project took place on May 27, 2014 at St Simon the Apostle Church at 525 Bloor Street East.

If you require assistance in understanding these materials, please contact Jason Diceman at 416-338-2830.