The City of Toronto has finalized the design details for extending the West Toronto Railpath multi-use trail south, from Dundas Street West at Sterling Road to Abell Street at Sudbury Street. This multi-use trail will be routed adjacent to the Kitchener GO Rail Corridor.

Multi-use trails are actively enjoyed by a wide range of users and are generally considered an attractive neighbourhood amenity. Trails provide a space for interaction with neighbours and increase access for people to discover natural, cultural and heritage places in the city.

Public places that are actively used by residents are generally regarded as safer and more comfortable for all ages – the most effective crime prevention approach is to encourage a high level of activity along the trail system. Trails support the opportunity for physical activity through walking, running, rollerblading and cycling which is in tune with the City’s public health objective to encourage physical activity to improve the health of Torontonians.

Building high-quality trails with accessible infrastructure promote social equality and support the Official Plan for the City, which identifies sustainable transportation as a priority, with a goal to make walking, cycling and public transit increasingly attractive alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle use.

Public Consultation Event

A public meeting was held on February 26, 2020, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and was attended by 263 people.

A presentation was given to review the final design elements (i.e. bridges, landscaping and community connections) and to give more details about the project and timelines. A question and answer period followed the presentation.

The material shown at the event included:

The public feedback period ended on March 12, 2020. All feedback will be reviewed and prepared in a public consultation report.

Next Steps

The completion of design and construction documents is planned for early to mid-2020. The City is to obtain Metrolinx and private properties in 2020/2021. Construction is proposed to start in 2021/2022.

A map of the West Toronto Railpath Extension project area, along with adjacent proposed and planned bike facilities and green spaces

Location of the Railpath Extension

Overhead view of the plan from Dupont Street to Dundas Street West
Overhead view of the plan from Dupont Street to Dundas Street West
Overhead view of the plan from Dundas Street West to Sudbury Street
Overhead view of the plan from Dundas Street West to Sudbury Street

A new multi-use trail will be aligned in the rail corridor from the Dundas Street Bridge to Queen Street West (east side of the railway corridor) and adjacent to the rail corridor from Queen Street West to Abell Street.

South of Queen Street West, the lands in the rail corridor are more constrained due to Metrolinx’s railway track expansion plan and, as a result, a multi-use trail will be located within the municipal road right-of-way.

Stopping the Extension at Abell Street

Given the lack of space within the rail corridor, technical issues and impacts to neighbouring properties, more consultation and study is needed to find a solution that lessens impacts and balances different interests.

Project Timeline

Time Progress Events
2008 Completion of the first phase of West Toronto Railpath
2012 The City adopts the Bikeway Trails Implementation Plan and recommends an Environmental Assessment (EA) to study a preferred route to extend the West Toronto Railpath south
2016 Completion of the EA report 30-day review period
2018
  • Stakeholder Meeting #1
  • Public Event #1
2019
  • Community Connections Meetings
  • Stakeholder Meeting #2
  • Public Event #2
Early to Mid-2020 Completion of design and construction documents
2020/2021 City to obtain Metrolinx and private properties
2021/2022 Construction proposed to start

Extending the existing Railpath

From Indigenous trading route to railway path

The West Toronto Railpath follows the trade route that the Indigenous people would take from the Davenport Trail to the receding Lake Iroquois, following Roncesvalles and following the contours of the land. This route was later used as the path of a railway that started in 1871.

West Toronto Railpath

The first phase of the West Toronto Railpath from Cariboo Avenue (just north of Dupont) to the Dundas Street West Overpass along the rail corridor was completed in 2008. This section of Railpath received the 2011 City of Toronto Urban Design Award.

Bikeway Trails Implementation Plan

In June 2012, City Council adopted the multi-year Bikeway Trails Implementation Plan and new trail connection priorities. These priorities included a recommendation for an environmental assessment study to develop a preferred route to extend the West Toronto Railpath south from Dundas Street West to Strachan Avenue.

Environmental Assessment

The City completed its Environmental Assessment study in 2016 for extending the West Toronto Railpath from Sterling Avenue (at Dundas Street West), along the Kitchener GO rail corridor to just south of Queen Street West (at Abell Street).

This study followed a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) Schedule ‘C’ process, which included identifying the problem/opportunity, developing and evaluating a reasonable range of alternative solutions, and providing opportunities for public input.

The study determined:

  • preferred alignment of the Railpath extension
  • urban design features such as landscaping, public art, bike parking, signage and lighting
  • access points linking the Railpath to communities along the rail corridor
  • design options for new pedestrian and bicycle bridges that may be required, and feasibility and cost-effectiveness of the different options

On May 17, 2016, the Minister of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks approved the West Toronto Railpath Extension Environmental Assessment study.

To view the report, contact Maogosha Pyjor at 416-338-2850 or email westrailpath@toronto.ca.

Learning from the current Railpath

Since completing the Railpath in 2009, lessons learned, included:

  • Which plant species worked well, and which did not
  • Maintenance of the planting is vital during the first three years
  • Invasive trees and shrubs will take over native grasses and
    wildflowers
  • Plants specified require low maintenance, but a detailed maintenance plan will be provided to guide the City maintenance staff
  • Corten steel signage and bollards are difficult to maintain
  • Opportunities for stewardship and how the community can engage with the Railpath itself and the unique ecologies there

Through community and stakeholder consultation events in 2018 and 2019, feedback for the design of the new extension included:

  • Provide more seating
  • Maintain “wild”, non-manicured aesthetic of the planting
  • Ensure community stewardship opportunities
  • Provide more trees and shade
  • Ensure proper drainage
  • Provide enough lighting and use lower shrubs to ensure safety
  • Include slow down zones for cyclist before connection points
  • Provide maps and notice boards at connection points
  • Enhance connection points with usable features
  • Make Northern Place connection a pedestrian entrance only
  • Provide accessible connection at No Frills (ramp)
  • Avoid light pollution to adjacent residents
  • Plant more canopy trees on site where feasible
  • Provide more benches along Railpath and at most community
    connections

All feedback from public meetings to individual meetings with communities immediately adjacent to the new Railpath Extension were noted and efforts have been made to incorporate these comments into the design.

Detailed design

The detailed design phase has been carried out jointly by the City of Toronto and Metrolinx.

The completed design plan will guide the future construction of the Railpath Extension multi-use trail, and includies detailed plans and drawings for:

  • Four pedestrian-cycle bridges: over the Barrie rail corridor south of Dundas St. West (with provision for future connection to Sorauren Park), over Lansdowne Ave., over Brock St. and over Queen St. West)
  • Landscape architecture and plantings
  • Trail amenities and elements such as signage, lighting, seating, waste and recycling receptacles, bike parking options, etc.

The detailed design phase was coordinated with other projects planned in the area, including:

Design principles

The Railpath will be designed as a multi-use facility and will function as a shared space between a variety of different users including people who cycle, walk and/or roll etc.

Typical section details for the West Toronto Railpath Extension, including path dimensions, material palettes and planting
Typical section details for the West Toronto Railpath Extension, including path dimensions, material palettes and planting

Generally, the paved portion of the trail will be 3.6 m with a 0.6 m wide buffer that is clear of furniture, light poles, etc. There will also be a furniture zone and planting on the other side.

The design principles that will be implemented include

  • consistency between West Toronto Railpath and Extension
  • resilient materials
  • industrial “wild” aesthetic
  • distinctive planting zones
  • elements for safety such as lighting, crime prevention through
    design
  • community stewardship and programming opportunities

Planting typologies


The entire section between Dundas Street West and Dupont Street will be replanted due to the realignment of the railway tracks. Therefore, the unique ecology in the Railpath corridor will be enhanced, both in the Extension south of Dundas West and the current Railpath north of Dundas Street West.

Community Connection points


Community connection points from neighbourhood streets to the West Toronto Railpath Extension will offer opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to access the Railpath and enjoy the space for recreation, art, active transportation and more green space. These connection points may also provide community stewardship (i.e. gardening) and programming opportunities (i.e. shared community space).

Pedestrian-cycle bridges


There will be four new pedestrian-cycle bridges as part of the route including bridges over the

  • Barrie GO rail corridor
  • Lansdowne Avenue
  • Brock Street
  • Queen Street West

As part of the Railpath Extension, a pedestrian-cycle bridge was built over Dufferin Street in 2016.

New parks adjacent to the Extension

Ernest Park (West Toronto Railpath & Ernest Avenue)

  • 740 m² area
  • Base park was completed in 2019
  • Final park will be completed as part of the West Toronto Railpath Realignment work by Metrolinx

Pessoa Park (Dufferin Street & Peel Avenue)

  • 3,090 m² area
  • Will be completed in spring 2020
  • Read more about the project details and timelines

Winter maintenance of the Extension

The Railpath is maintained by the City of Toronto in the winter, which includes plowing, salting and litter picking. Transportation Services maintains the bridges and Waste Management empties the receptacles year-round.

Additional law enforcement

The City will continue to encourage safe and appropriate use of the Railpath Extension by including signs and pavement markings. Further efforts, such as public education campaigns and increased by-law enforcement, are beyond the scope of this conceptual design project, but recommendations for such efforts will be shared with appropriate City divisions.

Funding

The detailed design for the West Toronto Railpath Extension is funded jointly by the Federal Government and the City of Toronto through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF). The City is continuing to explore opportunities for funding construction in collaboration with other levels of government.

Stakeholder Meeting #2

The project team met key stakeholders on June 25, 2019, in order to provide a project update and discuss various topics including landscape architecture, bridge structures, community connections and public art.

See the Presentation and Feedback Summary for more details.

Community Connection Meetings

Community meetings took place on April 15, 16 and 17, 2019, to hear from residents with planned connections points to the Railpath from their streets including Delaney Crescent, St. Clarens Avenue, Northern Place and Shirley Street.

Read the Feedback Summary for more details.

Public Drop-in Event #1

A public drop-in event was held on September 13, 2018, and was attended by 108 people. The information below was displayed highlighted the different design elements being considered.

A total of 44 feedback forms were received from attendees and 322 people completed the online feedback form.

Read the Public Consultation Report for more details of the event.

Stakeholder Meeting #1

The project team met with key stakeholder groups on May 14, 2018. These groups were highly involved in the Environmental Assessment study and were engaged to share their priorities moving into the next design phase of the project.

Read the Meeting Summary for more details.

This is the logo of the Government of Canada Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) and reads "Investing in Canada" with a graphic of people boarding a bus..Under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) – Phase 1, the Government of Canada is investing up to $1.45 million for the West Toronto Railpath Extension Design project. The City of Toronto is matching this funding contribution.


While we aim to provide fully accessible content, there is no text alternative available for some of the content on this page. If you require alternate formats or need assistance understanding our maps, drawings, or any other content, please contact us at 416-338-2850 or westrailpath@toronto.ca.