The Meadoway; A Linear Park of Dreams
In most urban settings, hydro corridors are seldom attractive or inviting spaces. But in Scarborough, residents and agencies have come together to change that perception.
Beginning in 2018, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Weston Family Foundation, launched a new project called The Meadoway, a 16-kilometre-long naturalized corridor that will become one of Canada’s largest linear parks in an urban space.
The project is seeing the ongoing conversion of a provincial high-voltage transmission corridor into — as the name implies — a meadow habitat, featuring cycling and walking trails. Once completed, the park will stretch from the Bermondsey substation in Thorncliffe Park northeast to Rouge National Urban Park at the city’s boundary.
On September 20th, team members from Infrastructure Ontario had an opportunity to tour the newly expanded Meadoway. With this expansion, more communities in Scarborough will have access to explore a vibrant urban natural landscape, providing opportunities for families, schools, and neighbours to learn about urban biodiversity and to make use of the trails to travel to work, school and community events.
As manager of roughly 50,000 acres of hydro corridor lands on behalf of the provincial government, Infrastructure Ontario has worked closely with Hydro One and TRCA to help move the project forward, ensuring it meets the needs of all parties. IO’s Real Estate division performed its own due diligence to ensure that the project was in keeping with our requirements, and attention was paid to ensuring that the project would support any newly created habitat while being appropriately managed to promote ecosystem resilience and biodiversity.
The Meadoway has been designed to integrate into pre-existing trails, expand green spaces, and biodiversity while establishing a best practice in meadow revitalization, community engagement, and urban green space.
The Meadoway showcases environmental restoration activities that promote natural habitat, increase biodiversity, and support climate change resiliency – as twelve of the proposed 16 kilometres of multi-use trail have been completed and the entire corridor is now in some state of meadow habitat establishment.
The maintenance of The Meadoway on these provincial lands is the responsibility of the City of Toronto and TRCA. Throughout this process, TRCA has consulted the public and engaged with stakeholders, resulting in overwhelming community support. With proper planning and ongoing maintenance and monitoring, these corridors will be transformed into vital pathways connecting natural heritage systems and supporting wildlife movement, while promoting natural functions and ecosystem health.
Given the success of this project, it comes as no surprise that other jurisdictions in Ontario, Canada, and around the world are seeking to replicate TRCA’s success in revitalizing under-utilized hydro corridors for the betterment of urban communities.
For more information about the project, and the grand opening of the expanded trails, please see the Meadoway website.