Transforming from concrete hardscapes to lush greenscapes, Toronto is about to get two new public parks that promise to add eye-catching attractions to the burgeoning waterfront district. The proposals from 10 short-listed teams in the international competition to design two new waterfront parks are now available for public viewing and feedback online, with Waterfront Toronto creating a website dedicated to the design entries. The entries range from picturesque parks to audacious interventions, with everything in between.
Earlier this year, Waterfront Toronto launched an international design competition to redesign two empty lots along the waterfront, and the short-listed design teams were announced back in May. The York Street Park is located on the former site of the Yonge-Bay-York offramp loop from the Gardiner, situated at the corner of York and Queens Quay. The site presents a unique opportunity for integration of the concrete pillars that once held up the vehicular ramp, which have been retained on the property. The Rees Street Park is located on the site of a surface parking lot at Rees and Queens Quay, directly south of the Rogers Centre, and offers more or less a blank slate to be redesigned.
Requirements for the York Street Park include green space, lunchtime activities, event space, a water feature, public art, an architectural pavilion, accommodation for dogs, and all necessary park amenities (benches, lighting, wayfinding, and so on). Some entries retain the Gardiner pillars, others do not. The five entries for the York Street Park are:
- York Forest, by Stephen Stimson Associates and MJMA
- Gardiner Green, by PLANT Architect and Mandaworks
- BYOT Park, by Hapa Collective
- Love Park, by Claude Cormier et Associés
- Park Vert, by Agency Landscape + Planning and DAVID RUBIN Land Collective
Requirements for the Rees Street Park include play for all ages and abilities, an interactive water feature, an architectural pavilion, market activities, an open lawn, public art, accommodation for dogs, integration of Lake Shore Boulevard and the Gardiner Expressway, and all necessary park amenities (benches, lighting, wayfinding, and so on). The five entries for the Rees Street Park are:
- Rees Ridge, by wHY Architecture and Brook McIlroy
- Rees Landing, by Stoss Landscape Urbanism and DTAH
- THE NEST, by Snøhetta and PMA Landscape Architects
- Rees Street Free Forest, by SCAPE Landscape Architecture and BSN Architects
- Down North, by Public City Architecture
In addition to the website, the 10 proposals are currently on display in the Rotunda at City Hall, and will be available for public viewing during regular business hours until Tuesday, July 17. Public feedback on the design entries is strongly encouraged, with online surveys available on the competition website.
Following the display of the proposals and the public comment period, a jury will deliberate to decide the winner for each of the two parks. The jury consists of Jane Hutton, Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo; Janna Levitt, Principal at LGA Architectural Partners; Michael Van Valkenburgh, Principal at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates; Neil Hrushowy, Principal Urban Designer at the City and County of San Francisco; and Matthew Hyland, Director/Curator of Oakville Galleries. Following the award of the contracts, design development will begin, with construction expected to start first on the York Street Park in 2019, followed by the Rees Street Park in 2020.
We will keep you updated of any news as it becomes available, but in the meantime, you can check out the Waterfront Toronto website to find out more about the 10 proposals here. You can also join in on the discussion by checking out the associated Forum threads for York Street Park and Rees Street Park, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.