Bentway visionaries get a Key to the City

Wilmot and Judy Matthews made the Bentway a reality.

“Judy and Wilmot Matthews have improved the lives of Torontonians through their overwhelming generosity and transformative vision,” said Mayor Tory. “They remind us that society is better when we focus on things that strengthen community and enhance quality of life for everyone. Their investments in education, medical research, cultural diversity and urban renewal have made an indelible and positive difference in our city. For their virtuous and impactful commitment to a better Toronto, I am proud to present Judy and Wilmot Matthews a Key to the City.”

Judy and Wilmot Matthews are civic leaders and philanthropists who give to a wide variety of Toronto-based organizations that support education, medical research, cultural organizations and city-building initiatives. Passionate Torontonians, they are deeply committed to enriching the city and its residents. The Matthews are presented with a Key to the City to honour their philanthropic work including their $25 million donation to The Bentway, a unique and innovative public space that transforms 1.75 km underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway into a vibrant new gathering place for our city’s growing population.

On April 30, seven Key to the City recipients were announced for 2018. The complete list of recipients for this year is available at

During his term in office, Mayor Tory has officially presented Keys to the City to His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, Paul Beeston, Rush, Aubrey Graham (Drake), Susan Gapka, Peter Oundjian, Zanana Akande, Fran Sonshine and Patricia Moore.

Since amalgamation, 64 Keys to the City have officially been presented by Mayors of Toronto. The mayor awards the key to inspiring individuals from diverse backgrounds who embody the spirit and potential of Toronto and have contributed significantly to civic life. The Key to the City represents the highest honour the City can confer on an individual or a group.

— Don Peat

The Bentway Completes Phase 1 with the Opening of the Strachan Gate
and a Celebration of Summer with a FREE All-Day, All-Ages Block Party!
Saturday, August 25, 2018, Noon – 10pm
The first section of the Gardiner Expressway opened in 1958. The first section of The Bentway opened in 2018. To celebrate the full completion of Phase 1, The Bentway presents A Block Party 60 Years in the Making!

Everyone is invited, from Noon to 10pm on Saturday, August 25, to explore Toronto’s newest public space at the biggest, baddest and boldest Block Party this city has ever seen!

Throughout the day there will be traditional family games and activities in the Kids Zone; an open-air arcade from Hand Eye Society; roaming live musical performances; dance workshops followed by a streetdance competition presented by Funky Facilitators; a human Bent parade designed by Rob Shostak that will also serve as a photo booth and selfie-station; large-scale art installations including a gigantic giraffe piñata by Gensler; and various food and beverage delights.

Fort York National Historic Site will also be offering family fun, takeaway crafts for the kids, and free entry to the new Visitor Centre.

The evening line-up of live entertainment includes performances from local musicians Myles Castello, Monowhales, Brave Shores, and headliners, the art-rock duo Darcys.

The Block Party also celebrates the opening of the Strachan Gate, designed by Gensler with Public Work, at the west end of the site. A grand, cascading wooden staircase and open-air Amphitheatre, the Strachan Gate serves as the main entrance to The Bentway, directly from Strachan Avenue, and doubles as an intimate performance space which can accommodate approximately 250 people.

In 1958 the Gardiner Expressway opened to the public. In 2018, the Gardiner Expressway opened for the public!  Turn it up under the Gardiner at The Bentway Block Party.

For more information, please visit
Social Media: FacebookTwitter and Instagram using @TheBentway and YouTube
#TOBentway #BentwayBlockParty
The Bentway Block Party is supported by the City of Toronto and the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport) and Strongbow.

About The Bentway
The Bentway is a unique and innovative public space that transforms 1.75km underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway into a new gathering place for our city’s growing population.

The Bentway knits together seven local neighbourhoods with over 70,000 residents, becoming a gateway to the waterfront, while providing access to important attractions and destinations – from Fort York National Historic Site, Ontario Place and Exhibition Place to Harbourfront Centre and the CN Tower. The Bentway offers year-round activities and events, including gardens, a skate trail, recreational amenities, public markets, public art, special exhibitions, festivals, theatre and musical performances, and more. The initial phase of The Bentway is open to the public. Stretching from Strachan Avenue in the west to just east of Bathurst Street underneath the Gardiner Expressway, this section of The Bentway is located on the lands of Fort York National Historic Site, recognized by the Government of Canada as a site of national significance.

The Bentway is maintained, operated, and programmed by The Bentway Conservancy. The project was made possible through the collaboration of a range of city-builders and experts, including the City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, Judy and Wilmot Matthews, Ken Greenberg Consultants, PUBLIC WORK, Fort York National Historic Site, and Artscape. The Bentway is a proud member of the High Line Network, an international network of projects that transform underutilized infrastructure into new urban landscapes.

The Bentway Skate Trail, the first part of Phase 1 of The Bentway construction, officially opened on Saturday, January 6, 2018.  The inaugural winter season at The Bentway, which included Beats and Bents, Friday night DJ skate parties; free Monday night skate rentals; a variety of skate and DJ workshops; and the first public art exhibition Constructions of the Everyday, drew over 50,000 visitors to this new public space. This summer, The Bentway is presenting the art installation A FOREST OF CANOES by Dana Claxton (Lakota Sioux), a series of 16-foot tall murals adhered to the columnar bents supporting the Gardiner Expressway; CITE, a six-week celebration of skateboarding culture which has turned the skate trail into a DIY skate park; and Sunday Social at The Bentway Beer Garden featuring local live musical acts.

About Fort York National Historic Site
Fort York National Historic Site is one of 10 Toronto History Museums operated by the City of Toronto. Since 1793, Fort York has been an important military location and is where Toronto was founded as an urban place. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, this 43-acre heritage conservation district is home to Canada’s largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. Fort York offers permanent exhibits and immersive multimedia displays at the Visitor Centre, ongoing programming and events, site tours, military displays, historic cooking demonstrations, and the annual Indigenous Arts Festival. Fort York National Historic Site is also home to the first phase of The Bentway. For more information, visit