Project: Under Gardiner

Waterfront Toronto

Year Completed

Type of Work
Naming Campaign

(1) Photo by Harry Choi
(2) The launch video was directed by Gady Conteh-George of Mattru Media and produced by Bespoke

Public Launch of Project: Under Gardiner

Project: Under Gardiner is a groundbreaking public planning initiative in Toronto that will transform a forgotten space into a vibrant cultural destination. This 1.75km cultural corridor under the Gardiner expressway is set to open in 2017.

Bespoke was hired by the Matthews Foundation to plan and execute the public launch for Project: Under Gardiner. While the expressway has long be a symbol of division in Toronto, we positioned the initiative as an opportunity to imagine the possibilities by inviting the public to “dream up what can only happen here”. We led a fast-moving and robust communication strategy that included key messaging, a visual look-and-feel, and the production of a wide range of communication assets.

Public Installation for Project: Under Gardiner

To signal the transformation underway and publicly celebrate Project: Under Gardiner, Bespoke conceptualized and project managed the creation of 40-foot high public installation based on the project's temporary logo. The iconic ‘yellow bent’ installation was unveiled at the launch of Project: Under Gardiner and was featured in a number of news, print and social media reporting including Global News, The Toronto Sun, and

Messaging and Strategic Communications

Bespoke positioned Project: Under Gardiner as an opportunity to re-imagine the city and “dream up what can only happen here.” Our strategic communications work conveyed the sense of possibility for the site, which has garnered national and international press and media coverage, and created excitement across the city.

Communications Assets and City-Wide Outreach

To capture the imagination of Torontonians throughout the city, we designed a pop-up headquarters at Spacing the store, where the public could contribute their naming ideas, pick up a project button and learn more about the project. We hosted 31 naming brainstorm parties throughout the city reaching kindergarteners to seniors.

Online we created a DIY naming party toolkit to encourage citizens to have fun and generate informed suggestions. Once our jury identified the strongest options for names, we commissioned four local artists–a yarn bomber, graffiti artist, illustrator and collage maker—to celebrate the potential in each shortlisted name. Their work became the creative inspiration for the public to vote on their favourite name. Over 500 votes were cast before the Bentway was chosen as the final name.