Ryerson Alumni - Summer 2019 - 44

REMEMBER WHEN?

Walk
this way
From a car-filled street to a
green walkway, the evolution
of Victoria Street started
in the mid-'70s

before the trees, shrubs and
bike racks, Victoria Street was
a thorough fare for diverting traffic and a
hotspot for illegal parking. Ryerson's quest
for a walkable, car-free campus began in
the mid-'70s when administrators submitted
a proposal to the city of Toronto to close
Victoria Street between Gould and
Gerrard Streets.
The goal of the proposal was to have
the Ryerson campus be more appealing to
visitors and enhance the downtown core.
While the northern block of Victoria would
be turned into a pedestrian mall, just to
the south, trees, rocks, fountains and an

ornamental pool/skating rink (Lake Devo!)
were added to encourage use of the campus
by non-Ryersonians.
Although Victoria Street was intended
to be car-free, part of the proposal stipulated
that the lane had to be wide enough to
allow for emergency vehicles when needed.
The strip was converted into a pedestrian
lane/walkway in 1978 and renamed Nelson
Mandela Walk in 2015.
Today, the area is part of the Campus
Core Revitalization 2019 project to
improve walkability, safety and accessibility
of shared public spaces on campus.
-By Antoinette Mercurio

ELVINO SAURO, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, SCHOOL OF IMAGE ARTS, COURTESY OF RYERSON UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES

Victoria Street in 1977

44

Ryerson University Magazine / Summer 2019



Ryerson Alumni - Summer 2019

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