Brian Torry

  416-569-3702 

West Toronto Railpath Extension

Background
The West Toronto Railpath has been a topic of discussion since 1998 when the City of Toronto published the “Inventory of Cycling Trail Opportunities in Rail and Hydro Corridors Report”. Then the West Toronto Railpath (WTR) was looked at further in 2000 with the “Pre-Engineering/Cost Assessment of Trail Opportunities in Rail and Hydro Corridors Study”. Finally, the Toronto Bike Plan was adopted in 2001 by Toronto City Council that focused on off-street cycling infrastructure. The plan discovered an off-road trail system along the GO Transit (Georgetown line) rail corridor, spanning from Dupont Street to Strachan Avenue. In 2008 a former rail lands section owned by  Canadian Pacific (CP) was acquired by the city.

The West Toronto Railpath came to fruition in 2008 when the first phase from Cariboo Avenue (one block north of Dupont Street) to Dundas Street West (at Sterling Road) along the rail corridor was completed. This multi-modal human-powered activity (cycling, walking, running or rollerblading) trail system runs north to south for 2.1km along an abandoned rail line in Toronto’s Junction Triangle. It is maintained by the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

Design
The Railpath’s purpose was to provide a safe and car-free trail that also serves as a naturalized linear park. The entire trail is classified as an “on-leash” zone for dogs. The community has used this space for gathering, artwork and a connection to other neighbourhood amenities and attractions. The first phase of the WTR received the 2011 City of Toronto Urban Design Award.

Extension
The City of Toronto along with Metrolinx and Hatch Limited are working on a plan with the intention of extending the WRT. It will begin from the current termination point of Dundas Street West and continue 2 km south along the GO Transit (Georgetown line) rail corridor to Abell Street (just North of King Street). The coordination between the stakeholders and the addition of a new rail line within the Georgetown Corridor has resulted in a delay. The City of Toronto has a goal to finish the Railpath Extension in 2019, following the expansion of GO Transit service within the corridor.

Future Plans
There has already been discussion of a connection from Abell Street street over the train tracks and into Liberty Village. This would be in conjunction with Smart Track. Community groups and Metrolinx have taken into consideration a multi-modal trail along the GO Transit (Barrie line) rail corridor heading east from Davenport Avenue south to join the railpath at Dundas Street West. The proposed transit stations such as the GO station at Lansdowne and Bloor and the Green Line have been discussed as future connections.

Transit

There is direct access from the West Toronto Railpath (via stairs and a ramp) to the GO Train and Union Pearson Express located just north of Bloor Street.

Phase 1:
Cariboo Avenue (One block north of Dupont Street) to Dundas Street West (at Sterling Road).
Phase 2:
Dundas Street West (at Sterling Road) to Abell Street (just North of King Street).

Accessible Entrances:
Cariboo Avenue, behind the Osler Fish Warehouse, Ruskin Avenue, Wallace Avenue, Ernest Avenue, Randolph Avenue and Dundas Street West at Sterling Road.

Non-Accessible Entrances:
Bloor Street West
Dupont Street
Sterling Road (coming soon)

Bike Share Locations:
Bloor Street West
Dundas Street West
Cariboo Avenue

Sources:
https://www.railpath.ca
https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/get-involved/public-consultations/infrastructure-projects/westrailpath/