The Bentway Update
by Kasia Gladki
These are exciting times for The Bentway. First, on March 6, Waterfront Toronto’s construction manager Kiewit started their work on site. Trailers and fencing were put up as they readied themselves for initial construction–mainly removals and grading–in the coming weeks. Construction will continue through the winter and spring of 2018. Throughout this process access to the Fort York National Historic Site and the Fort York Visitor Centre, as well as events, will be maintained.
Second, The Bentway Conservancy announced that Julian Sleath has been appointed chief executive officer of The Bentway, effective 27 March 2017. A skilled event planner and producer of theatrical and cultural events in Canada and the UK, and an experienced steward of new performing arts venues, Sleath brings more than 35 years of leadership to The Bentway.
As the first full-time hire for this new not-for-profit organization, Sleath will focus on developing the public space, initiating its operations, securing new resources and partnerships, and bringing it to life with a dynamic year-round program of events that will embrace the unique aspiration and vision of The Bentway Conservancy. Sleath says, “Since hearing of the concept, The Bentway has captured my imagination as to what a modern and developing city like Toronto can offer to its communities. The project asks us all to reconsider how we view the Gardiner Expressway and our ongoing relationship with city infrastructure. As construction of the design by Ken Greenberg and PUBLIC WORK moves ahead, our task is to deliver an equally compelling program of events and activities. I wish to take this opportunity not only to thank Judy and Wilmot Matthews, the City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto for their leadership in this project , but also the many Toronto organizations and individuals who have shown their initiative, vision and commitment to making this project happen.”
Sleath leaves his post in Alberta as executive director of performing arts at the Banff Centre, where he worked with an array of national and international artists in theatre, dance, opera, and all genres of music.
It’s thrilling to watch this project come to life. We look forward to seeing how construction progresses and what our new CEO has in store.
Kasia Gladki is project co-ordinator, Creative Placemaking Lab, at Artscape.