Friday, December 11, 2009

Corso Italia

One of the delights of the Preston Street rehabilitation has been the Preston BIA's remaking of the Queensway underpass into an interesting highlight of the street. Instead of the former dark and dreary underpass, the framed murals and background murals are great eye candy. The west side is Preston Street yesterday and today; the east side is the immigration story.

In the spring, the east side sidewalk will be further developed into a place to linger, with special sidewalk light fixtures and paving. The north end of this zone opens onto the parking lot at 301 Preston, which is converted into a festival plaza during special events like Italian Week. Recall too that large signs have been posted on both sides of the overpass, which in the next few days will be backlit at night.

The wall-mounted light fixtures in the underpass are being replaced now with fewer fixtures, presumably brighter. This will necessitate touching up the mural paintings.

Who would have thought an underpass could be made into a neighborhood focus?


  1. I couldn't agree more. The underpass murals were a brilliant idea. It seems like such a cost-effective way of brightening up a dreary feature, while promoting heritage and the arts. It's even sheltered from the elements! This should become the norm.

    This type of thing should be done at the Bank St overpass as an entrance to the Glebe. Maybe even in non commercial areas? The Bayswater underpass could become murals by the older students at the closeby public school, or other community members, to reflect the civic hospital community... Why not? I bet there's no cheaper way to promote the character of a neighbourgood.

    Plus, I'd be willing to bet that a well done mural is the best deterrant for poorly-done graffiti. [which is not to say that all graffiti is poorly done, but that that appears on hwy underpasses usually is].

    It's like the tunnels at Carleton University: every society, group, faculty and residence floor have their slice of tunnel wall, and it's the only colour, uplifting thing about those dark, dreary mazes.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. Yes, that would be great. I was just saying the same thing looking at a picture of the Booth underpass on Watawa Life. Booth Street could have paintings of Dow's Lake and the tulips on one side and something representative of Chinatown on the other side.