The City is expanding Holmes Park with the help of local community feedback. The objectives of the park expansion are to enhance infrastructure and amenities in order to support its current and future use and to ensure park accessibility and safety. The expansion may include additional seating, lighting, a water feature and new plantings.

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  • Summer 2023: Hire a design team
  • Fall 2023 to Summer 2024: Community engagement
    • October 2023: Community Engagement Phase 1(current phase)
    • March 2024: Community Engagement Phase 2
    • June 2024: Community Engagement Phase 3
  • Summer 2024: Design development
  • Spring 2025: Construction starts
  • Fall 2025: Construction complete

The timeline is subject to change.

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Level of Engagement

This project has been classified as an Involve project based on the International Association of Public Participation Public Participation Spectrum. This means we work directly with the public, stakeholders, and rightsholders throughout the design process to ensure that ideas and aspirations are understood and considered in the design process.

During this phase of the community engagement process, the City worked with local community members to define a renewed overall vision for the park expansion, including a series of guiding principles that will lead the development of two design options in Community Engagement Phase 2.

The anticipated community engagement Activities in this phase included:

  • An online thought exchange activity
  • In-person community pop-up events

Phase Outcomes

Vision Statement

A vision statement is a short description of the ideal future park expansion. It inspires everyone toward a common understanding of the project’s overall goals. The vision for Holmes Park Expansion is:

Nestled in the heart of Willowdale, near Yonge and Finch, the Holmes Park Expansion area will be a beautiful green oasis for community members to relax and recharge, socialize and celebrate, and enjoy the outdoors. The park will be safe and accessible, welcoming people of all ages and abilities to actively and joyfully engage in exercise and wellness. The park’s landscape design will enhance the appearance and sustainability of the neighbourhood, while providing shade and comfort for families and friends to connect and create lasting memories.

Guiding Principles

Guiding principles are high-level directions that reflect the community’s most important values and ideas for how the park should look and feel. They help guide how the park should be designed so that the vision statement can be achieved. The guiding principles for Holmes Park Expansion are:

  • Create a sense of tranquillity and relaxation, using natural elements such as trees, mounds, and rocks to create a contrast with the urban environment.
  • Provide opportunities for social interaction and community building, creating spaces for people to meet and play, to eat lunch and catch up.
  • Encourage physical activity and wellness for different levels of fitness and mobility.
  • Incorporate green infrastructure and sustainable practices to reduce the environmental impact of the park and to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Big Moves

Big moves are the main priorities for the design of the park. They are specific directions to the design team that flow from the vision and principles and help to make them a reality. In no particular order, the big moves for Holmes Park Expansion are:

  • Create an open green space that can accommodate various activities, such as picnics and gatherings. The green space would ideally be surrounded by trees and shrubs to provide shade, privacy, and allow exploration of horticultural diversity.
  • Install a network of paths that connect the different areas of the park and provide opportunities for walking and light jogging. The paths and trails would be designed to be accessible and comfortable for all users, and would have lighting, clear visibility, and seating along the way.
  • Build an exercise and wellness-focused area that caters to different ages and abilities, with equipment that encourages physical challenge, creativity, and exploration. The area can also have sensory elements and natural materials.
  • Incorporate green infrastructure and sustainable practices, such as naturalized elements, water retention, and permeable pavement.

Community Engagement Meetings and Events

October 2023

Online Thought Exchange Activity

From October 6 to October 30, an online thought exchange activity collected 77 thoughts and 1,246 ratings from 107 participants. The feedback collected has informed the vision statement, guiding principles, and big moves and will guide the creation of design options for the park expansion.

Key feedback included the following.

The most popular park character ranked from one to four:

  1. Green: Lush with plantings to connect people with nature (67 per cent)
  2. Active: A place to exercise and play (49 per cent)
  3. Social: A space for socializing and gathering (45 per cent)
  4. Calm: A place to sit, linger, eat lunch, and relax (44 per cent)

The most popular park activities were:

  • Spending time with others (66 per cent)
  • Relaxing in a shaded seating area (62 per cent)
  • Enjoying and observing nature (55 per cent)
  • Eating at a table or picnic area (50 per cent)
  • Travelling through the park (44 per cent)
  • Exercising and meditation (35 per cent)
  • Playing at a game table (34 per cent)

The most important features for providing a sense of safety were:

  • Lighting (85 per cent)
  • Visibility and sight lines (ability to see clearly ahead and around yourself while using the space) (56 per cent)
  • Active edge (ability to see into each park while passing by, and out of the park while using it) (49 per cent)
  • Buffers from adjacent roadways (49 per cent)
  • Wide pathways (40 per cent)

When asked to complete the following statement: “The Holmes Park Expansion Area will be a place that has/is…”, the following themes were rated highest by community members:

  • shady places to sit and stay cool (4.3 ratings)
  • more green space (4.2 ratings)
  • calm and relaxing (4.1 ratings)
  • enjoy the outdoors (4.1 ratings)
  • experience nature (4.1 ratings)
  • well maintained and is safe for everyone (4.1 ratings)
  • activated with game tables (3.9 ratings)
  • plenty of trees and plantings (3.9 ratings)
  • easy to walk through (3.9 ratings)

Review a full summary of the results in an interactive report.

In-Person Community Pop-Up Events

In October, over 150 community members participated in two pop-up events in Holmes Park. The first pop-up took place during the official park opening event, hosted by the local Councillor, and the second pop-up took place on the following weekend with Play Mobile, who helped activate the park. Two team members were available to collect feedback through family-friendly activities including a voting activity, where participants used popsicle sticks to share their preferences for different park characters and activities such as creating more spaces for socializing and feeling connected to water and nature.

Key feedback included the following.

When community members were asked to share their preference for park character using popsicle sticks, Active was the most popular choice (66 sticks), followed by Green (44 sticks), Calm (21 sticks), and Social (15 sticks). In total, community members cast 146 votes.

The most popular park activities were:

  • Enjoying a water feature (52 likes)
  • Enjoying trees and plantings (35 likes)
  • Playing at a game table (31 likes)
  • Eating at a table or picnic area (31 likes)
  • Spending time with others (26 likes)

The least popular park activities were:

  • Playing informal games on grass (23 likes)
  • Travelling through the park (20 likes)
  • Relaxing in a seating area (19 likes)
  • Walking a dog (10 likes)

Other ideas included:

  • Fitness equipment
  • Water feature that’s playful and interactive
  • Consideration for the residences that overlook the park; the design should provide a green quiet space
  • A swing set would be a good addition since the existing play area in Holmes Park doesn’t include them
  • Less defensive seating
  • Native trees and pollinator-friendly gardens
  • Multiple ways to move through the park rather than just one path

Words that reflect the vision for the park expansion:

  • Green (e.g., planting evergreens and perennials)
  • Fitness station including climbers
  • Water feature that is interactive
  • Multi-generational spaces that are inclusive to adults and youth

In this phase of the community engagement process, the City and its design consultant will work off the outcomes of Community Engagement Phase 1 to develop two to three design options for the park expansion. These will be presented to the community for feedback, with the input collected used to develop a preferred design.

The community engagement activities anticipated in this phase will be shared later.

The anticipated outcome of this phase is the selection of a preferred design.

In this phase of the community engagement process, the City will share the preferred design with the community. When the preferred design is confirmed, the project will move into the detail design phase, where the design team will finalize the preferred design by working through the technical details and developing detailed plans and drawings to be used by the construction contractor.

The community engagement activities anticipated in this phase will be shared later.

The anticipated outcome of this phase is a refined preferred design.

Holmes Park is a new 1,000m2 park located at the southwest corner of Holmes Avenue and Doris Avenue. The design for the park was determined with the help of community feedback in fall 2020. The park includes:

  • A play area
  • A water fountain and bottle filler
  • A shade structure with seating
  • Bike racks
  • An open lawn area

Milestones

Key project milestones from the design and development process for Holmes Park are listed in reverse chronological order.

Late September 2023

Park Opens

The new park will open to the public in late September. The community engagement process to design the park expansion area will start in October 2023.

July 2023

Park Named

The new park at 25 Holmes Ave. is officially named Holmes Park.

April 2023

Construction Update

Construction for the new park continues and is anticipated to be completed by June 2023.

August 2022

Construction starts

Construction for the new park begins. The new park is planned to open in spring 2023.

November 2020

Online Survey

From November 22 to December 11, 2020, feedback on the proposed park layout, playground equipment and general feedback on the design was collected in an online survey. The survey received 41 responses, which included feedback from 92 people of various ages.

Download the survey summary.

Virtual Public Meeting

On November 23, 2020, the proposed park design was presented to the community and feedback was collected. Feedback from this meeting will be considered for the final park design in advance of construction.

Download the meeting presentation.