The first phase in a landmark revitalization along the Toronto waterfront is the creation of a public park where a derelict 7.5 acre inaccessible staff parking lot existed for forty years. The central objective was to celebrate the iconography and natural heritage of the larger site while creating a new benchmark park space for the city and framework for the future revitalization. Initiating the process with community public meetings and stakeholder design workshops, the LANDinc led the project team to execute a vision of re-imagining a natural Ontario landscape refuge within the ever-increasing urban landscape.
The geologic and vegetative evolution of Ontario provided the initial design inspiration for the waterfront park. Glacially formed features and the ancient shorelines of Lake Iroquois, the Niagara Escarpment, moraines, drumlin fields, eskers and ravines became part of the geological design palette. Combined with native plant and wildlife communities, the park had its foundation. “Where nature meets culture and culture is inspired by nature” was a project phrase that quickly resonated to drive the design. The challenge was how to metaphorically express these landscape systems within a confined site in a meaningful and experiential way.
Built around the framework of a designed upper woodland and lower shoreline plains with an interwoven and connected trail system, the park embraces various Ontario landscape elements to carefully orchestrate the experiential qualities of a larger park. Curving in unison with the shoreline, the upper woodland creates a westerly backdrop that gives a sense of prospect while borrowing significant views of vast openness from Lake Ontario. Drumlin hill-like landforms are interspersed with a sculpturally abstracted natural bluff, cultured granite ravine and amphitheater elements to introduce interactive exploratory elements within elevation, aiding to further increase visitor perception of the park's size. The resulting peaks, valleys and natural landform abstractions throughout the parks winding trail network create a hierarchy of spaces with moments of discovery ranging from grand vistas to intimate experiences.
One major component: the Moraine Bluff, adjacent to the shoreline trail is an 83m long granite bluff that was composed and carefully assembled at a quarry in Dwight, Ontario based on early designs and physical models. Using topographic surveys and GPS markings, the layout was transferred to the site with millimetre accuracy. The result is a place for imaginative play, visual interest and quiet retreat.
The Ravine is symbolic of the heritage trails that followed Ontario's river systems. It is another significant architectural landscape design feature and solution to the extreme grade changes created to enhance the sense of space. In working closely with the First Nations, its granite walls are etched with moccasins to identify the original presence of First Nation people and celebrate their heritage and culture.
Contributing to the natural textures of the park are 1,240 native trees and 15,000 native shrubs and perennials that have given rise to a thriving new ecosystem along the waterfront. Micro-climates have been created that will continue to enable further natural regeneration of the landscape over time.
Material Used :
1. RHEINZINC America Inc. - Washroom & Pavilion Roofing - prePATINA Blue-grey Double Lock Standing Seam Panels
2. Kebony - Washroom Facade Wood Cladding - Southern Yellow Pine
3. Hauser – Custom Furnishings
4. Global Tap – Water Fountains
5. Unilock – PrecastPavers – Promenade Plank Paver, Varied Sizes for Custom Arrangement
6. Timber Systems – Pavilion Glued Laminated Timber
7. Goodfellow – Gateway Glued Laminated Timber
8. Bega - Gateway & Ravine Up-Lights – LED Drive Over In Grade Floodlights
9. we-ef – Light Pole Fixtures – RFL530 SE-LED
10. Structura – Wood Light Poles – BOL
11. Lumenpulse – Washroom Soffit Ligthing – Lumenalpha Downlight
12. Rain Bird - Irrigation
13. HGH Granite –Granite Supply
14. Artistic Skylight Domes – Washroom Skylights
15. Pride Docking Systems –Floating Dock
16. Snyder Metal Fabricating Ltd. – Gateway - Custom Steel & Aluminum Metal Fabrication
17. NVK Connon Nurseries – Plant Material