Yesterday, the first phase in the revitalization of Ontario Place was officially opened by Premier Kathleen Wynne, Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and Chief Stacey LaForme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit. Designed by LANDinc, the $30 million park has practically immediately reinvigorated the eastern edge of the once popular Toronto attraction, with runners and cyclists already making the new 'Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail' their own.
What was once a private parking lot has been transformed into a landscape of rolling hills, rocky shores, and pebble beaches, dotted with over 1,240 native trees and 15,000 plantings. Inspired by the various landscapes and histories of Ontario.
The park itself is on a 7.5 acre site with roughly 600 metres of shoreline, and is connected to the Martin Goodman Trail by the newly constructed 1.3km long William G. Davis Trail, named after the then-premier at the time Ontario Place opened. As the design of the park was heavily influenced by the history of Ontario, a network of trails and points of attraction reflect the historic pathways and waterways connecting settlements across the province.
Points of attraction across the park include a 'ravine' bisecting the 'summit' hill, the Sunrise Garden and the West 8-designed Sunrise Garden Pavilion facing the Toronto skyline, a campfire circle on the pebble beach, and a large moraine bluff—reflecting the geological history of the Ontario landscape—which is sure to be a popular spot for the more adventurous among us.
Throughout the park, indigenous culture is reflected with conspicuous elements, such as the moccasin engravings in the ravine—to express the concept of environmental and wildlife respect. More subtle details also attempt to reflect indigenous culture, with the use of sweetgrass around the campfire circle meant to reference the sunrise ceremony of the local First Nation peoples. According to LANDinc, "the integration of the First Nation's historic settlement of the waterfront was carefully interpreted through the direct participation of the New Credit of the Mississauga First Nation representatives."
One unique feature is another, smaller pavilion, dubbed called the West Gate Integration Point, which currently opens out to the inactive Ontario Place. Designed by LANDinc., the West Gate is meant to serve as a connection between Trillium Park and the 'Heart of Ontario Place', as a link between two portions of the island framing views towards the park and lake to the east, and the future developments on the east-west axis to the west. While the gate currently does not open up and connect the rest of the park, it serves as a portend of the transformations to come.
In order to shape the landscape of the park, roughly 1,700 tons of Muskoka granite was transported from Huntsville for the rock features, along with 52, 000 cubic metres of soil used to shape the landscape from a flat parking lot. Lifting the entire park by 1.5 metres was also a precautionary measure for anticipated rising water levels and it has quickly been shown to work, as it was noted during the announcement event by Land Inc. Project Director Patrick Morello that the entire north end of the park would already be underwater if the park was built at the previous elevation.
Ontario place is set to become a new public destination on Toronto's waterfront, and Trillium Park is the first in the trilogy of developments to come. With the IMAX Cinesphere set to reopen later this fall, hints at interest from private investors (no condos though), and a secondary phase on the West Island in the works, the area's waterfront transformation is set to continue.
With new developments sure to be on their way as the transformation of Ontario Place picks up, we will keep you updated on any details. In the meantime, be sure to engage in discussions on our Forum thread linked below, comment in the comment section, and checkout the database for the Ontario Place revitalization as well.
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