The next phase of construction for Ryerson’s Public Realm Plan is set for Gould Street, and it will get underway with an additional $2-million from the City of Toronto.
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Ward 27 announced the donation during the public unveiling of the of the plan on Oct. 5.
“The $2-million donation is a modest contribution,” said Wong-Tam. “It will hopefully demonstrate support from the City and be able to be used by Ryerson to leverage to work with other stakeholders [and] corporate partners on bringing more to the table. These aren’t investments that don’t just last a year or two years, this is an investment that’s going to last a generation.”
The Gould Street construction will create the newly pedestrianized Gould Plaza, which will connect to the Nelson Mandela Walk and Victoria Street, levelling the sidewalk with the street. The area in front of the Image Arts Centre and Lake Devo will also be extended to the other side of the street, creating a single surface for pedestrians.
But, according to Janice Winton, vice-president of finance and administration, Ryerson has to hire a designer and determine costs before construction can begin.
The Public Realm Plan also focuses on adding green spaces, public art and street furniture on campus. The plan’s main goals are to create a “people first” urban environment committed to design excellence. It is expected to take at least 11 years.
The City of Toronto and the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area are partners in Ryerson’s Public Realm Plan.
“If Ryerson is successful in the downtown, then the City of Toronto is successful. So investing in the public realm is exactly what we should do,” said Wong-Tam.
Outside of construction, the plan also recommends strategies to promote “green accessibility” and safer cycling. This includes establishing bike lanes and a dismount zone in Gould Plaza, where cyclists must walk their bikes between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The full project can be viewed online on the Ryerson Builds website.