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mjl08

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With the OCAD building firmly settled in and the AGO Gehry addition nearly done, isn't it time that Grange Park is redeveloped?

I mean, as far as Toronto parks are concerned, its certainly of high standard, but perhaps not high enough to be neighbouring likely the two most important pieces of architecture this city has seen in over a decade.

I envision a large fountain with the Grange and Gehry addition in the foreground, better maintained landscaping and perhaps a small band shell.

Has there been any talk at all about revitalizing the park?
 

androiduk

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Great idea mj, the park is definitely a little rough around the edges. I'd like to see a large terraced cafe on the south side of the AGO. It would add some animation to the park especially at night. A grand fountain would fit in nicely, we don't have nearly enough in the city.
 

jn_12

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I've mentioned this in the AGO thread, and after visits to Paris and Brussels, there are too many possible examples of what we could have. Preferably, I'd love to see our very own version of the Musee Rodin. There's no reason why such a prominent venue as the AGO shouldn't have something that splendid in front of it.
 

adma

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I wouldn't go too much beyond a fountain. Whether you like it or not, the front-lawn-of-the-Grange aspect of Grange Park counts as something of a "heritage feature", i.e. you can't add too much extraneous trivia and transformation without compromising it...
 

jn_12

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How sad if we're stuck with something shabby for centuries to come simply because everything that pre-dated a certain time can't be touched. I'm all for preserving heritage, but as any sort of heritage site this is a glorified front lawn. I think it would be a shame that we use this as an excuse. If this was used as an argument in Europe nothing would ever be touched. Fact is even St James Park in London which is one of the most famous in the world has underwent changes over time, and no one seems to be up in arms today wishing it was reverted to any previous look.

I doubt the Boulton's would be upset today to see something amazing on what was at one point their lawn.
 

Hipster Duck

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Grange park isn't the shabbiest downtown Toronto park (hello, Clarence Square?), but like all parks in Toronto, it could stand some sympathetic plantings, dignified paving and more benches.
 

adma

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How sad if we're stuck with something shabby for centuries to come simply because everything that pre-dated a certain time can't be touched. I'm all for preserving heritage, but as any sort of heritage site this is a glorified front lawn. I think it would be a shame that we use this as an excuse. If this was used as an argument in Europe nothing would ever be touched. Fact is even St James Park in London which is one of the most famous in the world has underwent changes over time, and no one seems to be up in arms today wishing it was reverted to any previous look.
Ah, but people would certainly be up in arms in the event that anyone proposed significant "changes" to St James's Park *today*. (And besides, it's a much larger space, so that "changes" which'd be destructively overbearing in Grange Park could be more readily absorbed at St. James's. But by and large, there *hasn't* been much significant change to St. James's for decades, unless high-rises obtruding on the skyline count.)

I doubt the Boulton's would be upset today to see something amazing on what was at one point their lawn.
Though the Boultons would be upset at your referring to them as the Boulton's.

And let me ask--what, pray tell, is so inherently shabby about its being the front lawn to the Grange? If you want "something amazing", let it be temp installations a la Nuit Blanche. Otherwise, get rid of some of that constrictive fencing, maybe remove or relocate some of the parks-department flotsam. But at the very least, retain the front-drive-looping-to-the-portico serenity--keep it simple...
 

Tewder

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I would advocate something a little more 'uplifting' for this particular green space, surrounded by the AGO and OCAD as it is. I agree with the idea of a more formalized or stylized space here with public art/statuary/fountains/gardens etc. I'm not against Adma's spin on things but the messy urbanism/weeds-are-heritage default position is a little overdone in this city where we already have numerous examples of this aesthetic for it to be considered endangered. If there is anywhere that could support something a little more formal it is here. No to mention the fact that a fomalized green space with the right kind of programming could attract more visitors as a destination in and of itself, and thereby provide some financial support to the museum and/or school.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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Totally agree. In fact, I would suggest any Grange Park Master Plan should look at levelling the Uno Prii apartment building as well as part of the University Settlement Centre (except the park fronting McCaul, which can serve as the southern expansion site for OCAD).

AoD
 

Archivist

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I'd love to see the Gallery Towers gone, it was a Spadina Expressway in reverse (a hard fought battle that was lost). Though not, of course, as deadly in its impact as the expressway would have been. I doubt it could be demolished, but as a second best I would have the city expropriate the land currently belonging to the building but adjoining the park, to make the park bigger. It's never used, and seems so utterly pointless.

The other buildings, the remnant of St. George the Martyr, the school, the rectory and Aboveground Art Supplies, I would spare.
 

MetroMan

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I had proposed a revitalization some time ago in the Transformation AGO thread: http://www.urbantoronto.ca/showpost.php?p=157124&postcount=672

I'll transplant my post here for further consideration and discussion:

So here's my submission:

Grange Park Fantasy Proposal



This proposal is comprised of the following main sections:

a) John St. continues along a path aligned with The Grange House.

b) The path is ligned with full trees with mingling canopies to block the eye sore of the misplaced apartment block in the park.



c) The main new addition to the park is of an outdoor amphitheatre that can be used for outdoor evening theatre, small concerts and other cultural attractions.

This amphitheatre is sunk into the ground with grass steps with a small circular stage at the center.

i.e.:





Here's an example of these grass steps at our own Music Garden:


c) At the base of the Grange House is a large open area paved in artful cobblestone reflecting the history of the museum.



This rounded path continues both ways along the front of the building. Botanical arrangements can be placed along the edges of these paths.

This new space creates a good back of the museum entrance for large groups such as schools (Buses can be parked on Grange Road).

This is a multi use space. People can congregate here spontaneously or organized arts exhibits from students at OCAD can take place here.

d) A playground in blue synthetic paving takes its place at the South-East corner of the park. In the interest of safety, it is close to the day care and exposed to McCaul St. via multiple sight lines.

e) OCAD's underbelly parkette is now a part of Grange Park. A path leads to the center of the park.

f) Lighting is implemented with the philosophy of maintaining the dimly lit park. Laterns hanging from trees and lighting from the museum and OCAD provide most of the light available in the park.
Areas such as the OCAD parkette, the playground, the Grange House clearing and the amphitheatre have their own lighting.

g) Lawn lounging is encouraged and perhaps muskoka chairs can be placed about the lawn. Most of the trees are replanted on the SW corner of the park to allow open space in the majority of the Northern section for activities.

So there's my submission. If we happen to get more submissions, perhaps we should move this post and those pertaining to this to a new "Grange Park Fantasy Proposal" thread.
 

mjl08

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Fantastic, Metroman! I'm not too sure about those leafy canopies down the main path, because it could take away the vantage point of the Grange and Gehry addition. I really like the reorganized paths, compared to the baseball diamond pattern we have now.
 

BobBob

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Nice proposal, but I would definitely look into demolishing the Prii building, moving the density into the south half of its lot, into more urban buildings, and annexing the north half into Grange Park.
 

MetroMan

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Demolishing the apartment complex is easier said than done. People live there – there are leases to be honored. You can't just kick people out. The rental code is a very slippery slope.

Even if the owner wanted to be bought out, he couldn't terminate everybody's lease if he wanted to.

We can look at Regent park as an example of how people people were made to vacate apartment complexes, but the city would have a very hard time making a case.

The only way that this could be done would be for the city to buy the property and manage the transition which could take years of having people vacate naturally and not filling the vacated apartments.

This would best be done by a condo developer with the deep pockets and motivation.
 

Hydrogen

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Nice idea MetroMan, but you may want to take note of other parks where foot traffic has pounded out its own route from here to there. While your proposal looks nice from above, it positively encourages a walk across that nice green lawn on the ground.
 

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