Concord Park Place has been growing in North York for about a decade now, with the first residents having moved into Discovery—the first condo phase—in the Fall of 2011. Since then, all phases on Discovery have completed, followed by Tango and Tango2. Next up, Opus and Omega will finish next year, while Seasons and Saisons will continue in construction through to 2020. Now, around the time that the next phase—King's Landing—is preparing to go into sales, Concord Adex invited the media for a preview of the park at Concord Park Place, which is now expected to open in the Spring of 2019.
The eight acre space designed by DTAH has been christened 'Woodsy Park' by the City, and it was originally supposed to open in the Fall of 2019, but construction of it is ahead of schedule. Designed by DTAH and paid for entirely by Concord Adex, the park will have a variety of programming and a significant public art component. The works were selected through an international, invitational competition, and were juried by a combination of artists, art experts, local representatives, and Concord. This resulted the awarding of several public art commissions and a fabrication process overseen by Public Art Management Ltd.
Among those at the event were Karen Mills of Public Art Management Ltd, Dennis Au-Yeung, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Concord Group of Companies, and retiring Councillor for the area, David Shiner, whose remarks included “North York’s largest new park will complete months ahead of schedule. It will boast the region’s largest investment in public art.” Au-Yeung added that “Councillor Shiner worked tirelessly on this community plan since the beginning, and because of his dedication the schedule was always driven, and the overall public benefit package for the North York Community was more robust and diverse.”
The art works are distributed around the park. Not all are up or complete yet, but we'll go around counter-clockwise from the site plan above, and introduce most of them.
Above and below are two pieces by the Dutch art collective Demakersvan; Maple Leaf Trellis and Maple Leaf Fence. Twin brothers Joep and Jeroen Verhoeven have become famous for their works which combine the fantastical with the practical. Creating a work of art out of a chain link fence that surrounds a playing field is inspired… and in turn inspired the trellises in fall colours.
Behind the fence and truck in the image above, the wooded ridge is a future school site.
Above, two rows of sculpted stone erratics can be found in the park, the one above along the edge of the playground. By renowned Ottawa-based and internationally shown artist Michael Belmore, the erratics were found and carved onsite by Belmore and an assistant through all types of weather. Park constructor UCC were also an essential part of the process. Belmore's artist's statement reads "Stone was once liquid, once fire, once lucid from the confines of its solid state; they ebbed and flowed like water beneath the islands from which we build our lives. The work consists of boulders found on the property of the park. These boulders are travelled stone, they are from away, they have been picked up by ancient glacial forces and moved to the area where we now find them. In embellishing the stone, I am endeavouring to speak of how they have been worn and rounded by water, rolled under ice, and even how they descended through the retreating ice to find themselves where they are now. Ebb and Flow is a honouring of their journey."
At the southeast corner of the park beside the playground, another feature can be found. To be a spray pool in the summer and a rink in the winter, the facility includes a water drop-shaped concrete pad with landscaped 'island' in the middle. Work continues on a pavilion that will house a Zamboni and other maintenance space for the park.
The pavilion is part of another public artwork, a collection of items by Studo Kimiis called Droplet. The work will consist of wall coverings on the pavilion, an extending canopy, a snow wall, and seating. Steven Beites, principal of Studio Kimiis, a Toronto based art and architecture practise, declares in his artist's statement that the work will "form a varied yet uniform waterscape across the pavilion. It pays tribute to the area’s most distinguishing feature: the ravine system, and the community activities in and around the pavilion. The work highlights the important connection with the site’s history and its natural setting, and its role in shaping both the physical and social fabrics of the region." The pavilion was designed in collaboration with DTAH, to create a series of glass fibre reinforced concrete panels across the exterior. GFRC panels were made by an Ontario based firm, with specialty steel fabrication by Soheil Mosun of Toronto.
Below, the southeast end of the park with the rink and playground is seen from an imagined viewpoint in a suite at the 'Seasons' condo, soon to rise.
Where people will enter the park from McMahon Drive, another artwork has bee positioned. Vancouver born artist Ken Lum, now Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, has created a sign marking the entrance. His statement about the work reads "Cracked Ice relates to the symbolic charge represented by a nature defined by a system of irregular patterning. The observation of nature as as a force of life marked by a propensity towards aesthetic patterning was allegorized in the form of East Asian window designs as well as scholar's rocks. Cracked ice suggests ideas of uniqueness and non-uniformity but within a universe of ultimate patterning and meaningful sense."
At the corner of McMahon Drive and Esther Shiner Boulevard rises Tropos by Taiwan-born but Toronto-based An Te Liu. The acclaimed artist has placed two twisting columnar works here, which a formed through a single repeating element attached to another copy of itself in one of several ways. With full titles Tropos (for Gertrude Stein) and Tropos (for Elsa Von Freytag-Loringhoven), a note from Public Art Management reads "The works are highly animated, engaging, and urbane. Their form responds strongly to the site, as they rotate to address buildings around the site. The works enter a dialogue with each other, and with the surrounding urban condition. Their postures are playful and anthropomorphic and stand as a counterpoint in concert with their environs.'
While the park is expected to open in seven or eight months time, another piece of the puzzle is just getting underway at the northwest corner of the site beside Bessarion subway station. Here, shoring and site clearance has recently begun for the Bessarion Community Centre, which will be Toronto's largest comprehensive community centre when complete. Speaking of it, Councillor Shiner said "The new 200,000 square foot Bessarion Community Centre and Woodsy Park are phenomenal and an example of the community benefits than can and should be achieved by all new developments. The community centre and park being right next to the Bessarion subway station, and complete with underground parking, will serve as a new meeting place for the greater North York community.”
The centre, designed by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, is being built through funds from multiple levels of government and "tens of millions" of dollars from Concord Adex. It is meant to "contribute greatly to the future health and and well-being of North York for generations to come." Targeted for completion in 2021, the Bessarion Community Centre will house a branch of the Toronto Library, an aquatic centre with lap and leisure pools, gyms, wellness areas and daycare.
We will be back with more as opening dates and further details emerge. In the meantime, you can see more images and get more information from our database file for the community centre and park, and for the various condo phases at Concord Park Place, all linked below. You can get in on the conversation in the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space available on this page.