What would the future look like after building the world’s longest practical suburban greenway have on northwest Toronto?

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail, managed by a dedicated non-profit, is a 13 KM roadside pathway that runs through downtown Indianapolis. Connecting their core communities, this pathway is protected by about 25,000 square feet of raingardens, which protect from flooding and vehicle traffic all year round.

  • Over $1 billion in economic impact generated over the last decade;
  • 95% of people felt safe and secure while using the Trail, and business owners cite the Trail as a distinct advantage for their business;
  • Small business revenue and customers have grown, leading to an increase in full and part-time jobs;
  • It’s safe, practical design and connectivity to local services and neighborhoods has made the Trail a heavily used artery;
  • The Trail has increased the sense of community, by increasing outdoor activity and fostering new connections between community leaders, and local businesses.

The Our Greenway plan will deliver economic impact and support the growth of resilient, safe and prosperous neighborhoods along it’s along it’s entire length.

I notice Indianapolis uses these same raingardens to protect their pathway. How do these specially designed planters actually prevent flooding in severe weather?

When it rains, stormwater flows into the raingardens which are filled with specially selected native plants and trees made to absorb stormwater. Water naturally filters into the ground, keeping it out of our combined sewer system.

Click on the video to the left to learn more about the value this world-class system brings to Indianapolis!

This is great! Can I learn more about the positive impact that Indianapolis’s greenway has had on local residents and businesses?

Yes! With construction complete, in 2015 a report was commissioned to examine the project’s social and fiscal impact on residents, businesses and the people using it.  The report concluded that the trail was a huge success, well used and enjoyed by the community. The project’s economic impact was already being clearly felt.

The report’s authors noted collaboration with neighborhoods, residents and businesses was crucial to maximizing their greenway’s  far-reaching impact.

To read the brief, click here.

The Greenway would bring huge Community Benefits to northwest Toronto! But, have these raingardens been used before in the Greater Toronto Area?

Yes! The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority have been leaders in testing and promoting the use of plants and tress to handle stormwater in Ontario.

Several low impact development – the industry term for using plants to prevent flooding – projects have been implemented in Toronto’s downtown core and along the waterfront. Their continued vitality has proven using plants and trees to be a sound investment. More flood risk mitigation projects using plants and engineered surfaces, such as Brampton’s Riverwalk, are now being installed in the downtown core of urban centers across Ontario.

Credit Valley Conservation’s Elm Drive pilot proved raingardens effectiveness in a suburban setting, noting that, “(The project is) exceeding all design expectations and providing significant benefits.” (Click on the report to read more about the Elm Pilot.)

  • Rainfall from 19 out of 20 storms every year (under 25 mm) never reached the sewers;
  • 99% of total suspended solids were removed as the water flowed through the raingarden;
  • Flow of water seriously reduced during a severe storm event, ensuring the sewers were not overwhelmed.

While the Our Greenway plan would see an extensive raingarden network being installed in a suburban setting for the first time, the concept has been thoroughly proven to work in our context.