Two new parks are coming to the Moss Park Neighbourhood as a result of mixed-use development projects. The park designs will be determined through community engagement.

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The timeline is subject to change.

Winter 2022: Hire a design team

New Park on King Street East

  • Spring 2022 to Fall/Winter 2023: Community engagement and design development
    • Spring/Summer 2022: Phase 1, Towards a Vision
    • Fall 2023/Winter 2024: Phase 2, Exploring Design Options (current phase)
    • Spring/Summer 2024: Phase 3, Setting the Direction
  • 2024: Detailed design
  • 2026: Hire a construction team and construction starts
  • 2027: Construction complete, park opens

New Park on Richmond Street East

  • Spring 2022 to Fall/Winter 2023: Community engagement and design development
    • Spring/Summer 2022: Phase 1, Towards a Vision
    • Winter/Spring 2023: Phase 2, Exploring Design Options
    • Fall 2023/Winter 2024: Phase 3, Setting the Direction (current phase)
  • 2024: Detailed design
  • 2025: Hire a construction team and construction starts
  • 2026: Construction complete, park opens

Level of Engagement

This project has been classified as a Collaborate project based on the International Association of Public Participation‘s Public Participation Spectrum. This means we aim to partner with the public, stakeholders and rightsholders in each aspect of the design process, including the development of design options and the identification of a preferred design.

Black Communities Advisory Group

A Black Communities Advisory Group (BCAG) has been established for this project to act as an advisory body to ensure the perspective and needs of Black communities are reflected throughout the park design process. The BCAG, comprised of 15 members, will meet in each phase of the design process to review, deliberate, and discuss key project elements.

Park Naming

This park does not have a name yet. At the end of the design process, parks are often given names that describe the park’s features or location (e.g. Princess Street Park). These names, developed by City staff, make it easy for residents to identify and locate parks in their neighbourhoods and around the city. Alternatively, community members can develop and submit proposals for a commemorative park name before the end of the park design process. A proposal to give a park a commemorative name instead of a location-based name is first reviewed by City staff, and then needs to be approved by Community Council. Before developing a proposal, we encourage you to review and consider the park vision, which was informed by community feedback.

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Two new parks are coming to the Moss Park Neighbourhood as part of mixed-use development projects:

  • New Park on Richmond Street East: this park will be 1400 m2 (about the size of a hockey rink), and will be located on the north side of Richmond Street East, west of Ontario Street. This park is being built as part of a development agreement at 261 Queen St. E.
  • New Park on King Street East: this park will be 470 m2 (about the size of a tennis court), and will be located on the north side of King Street East, west of Ontario Street. This park is being built as part of a development agreement at 254-260 King St. E.

Indigenous placekeeping (an approach to design that focuses on Indigenous histories and futures while connecting ecological, historical and cultural relationships to a place) will be incorporated into the design of both parks.

Both new parks are located in the North St. Lawrence Neighbourhood. The new park on Richmond Street East is show in in Orange and is 1400 metres squared. It is located north-west of the intersection of Ontario Street and Richmond Street East. The new park on King Street East is shown in purple and is 470 metres squared. It is located north-west of the intersection of Ontario Street and King Street East.

This section is organized as follows:

  • Community Engagement Phase 1: Towards a Vision
  • Community Engagement Phase 2: Exploring Design Options (we are here)
  • Community Engagement Phase 3: Setting the Direction

Community Engagement Phase 1: Towards a Vision

In this phase of the community engagement process, community members were asked to provide feedback to help develop a vision for each park.

Park Vision

Based on the feedback collected in Community Engagement Phase 1, the design vision for this park is:

An accessible, green and calm urban oasis with spots for community members to sit, gather, and be social. The design focus in this park will be to celebrate and/or commemorate the history, presence, diversity, and future of the Black communities in the neighbourhood.

Spring to Summer 2022

Discussion with Rights Holders

The project team met with representatives from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation to introduce the project and gather initial feedback.

Indigenous Community Outreach
  • Fourteen local Indigenous-serving organizations were contacted and asked to provide feedback (through an online survey, phone interview/meeting, or in-person pop-up event). Three organizations provided feedback through an online survey. One organization provided feedback through an online meeting.
  • Project staff presented to the City of Toronto Aboriginal Affairs Advisory Committee, and the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council Friends and Partners Sharing Circle
  • Project staff met with the Project Manager for the Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ICIE)
  • Project staff presented to the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) Friends and Partners Sharing Circle

Black Communities Advisory Group

On July 14, 2022, the first meeting of the Black Communities Advisory Group took place.

Download the:

Youth Workshops

On July 8 and June 29, 2022, one-hour in-person youth workshops were held with local City youth groups. Approximately 25 youth participated from ages 10 to 16 years.

Download the workshop summary.

Community Pop-Up Event

On June 21, 2022, the project team held two community pop-up events. The pop-ups consisted of project information boards and feedback boards that allowed community members to learn about the project and share their preferences for the design of the two new parks.

The pop-up events took place on King Street East, west of Ontario Street from approximately 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Queen Street East, west of Ontario Street, from approximately 3 to 6 p.m. Approximately 100 community members provided feedback.

Download the feedback summary.

Online Survey

From June 8 to June 30, 2022, an online survey took place to collect the community’s ideas for the two new parks. The survey received a total of 476 responses. As some surveys included feedback from multiple people (e.g. entire households), in total 831 people participated in the survey.

Six community organizations also provided feedback online through a parallel survey.

Download the survey summary.

Community Engagement Phase 2: Exploring Design Options

This phase of the community engagement process started in fall 2023. In this phase, draft design options for each park will be presented to the local community for feedback and revisions.

Draft Design Options

Layout
Plan view of the proposed park layout, with King Street at the bottom or southern end of the image, the private 3 metre pathways running north of King Street on either side of the park, and paving on the private property north of the park.
Proposed landscape plan.
An elevated view from the South entrance of the park facing North. The park sits between two heritage buildings on the East and West sides. The braided pathway in-laid into the paving reaches out along the ground as a starting point in the visitor journey. The path is a dark colour against a red paving and has flashes of bronze incorporated within it. It leads to a central medallion with 3 bronze cowrie shell sculptures surrounding it in the middle of a round gathering area flanked by bench seating on two sides and a water feature in the North-East corner. The gathering area is defined by a light colour radial paving. There is mounded planting beds and trees on both sides of the entryway and throughout the park.
Rendering of the park from King Street.
This is a zoomed in view of the central medallion and three bronze cowrie shell sculptures. The shells are of equal size standing approximately 1.6 meters tall in an upright position and are placed and rotated irregularly around the medallion. The central medallion is in- set in the radial paving of the gathering space and is the point where all the braided paths meet. The water feature can be seen to the right of the image and is surrounded by individual seating stools. There are planting beds beyond.
View of the central medallion and three bronze cowrie shell sculptures.
A perspective view from above facing the Southeast showing the interrelationship between the sculptures and the water feature. The calabash-shaped water feature is on the left side of the image, there are people sitting on stone stools in fron of the water feature, and to the right of the stools are the three bronze cowrie shell sculptures with a person walking past them. The view also demonstrates the proposed paving, with the sculptures surrounded by a radial paving pattern and inlaid granite pavers showing a braided pattern path, leading off to other areas of the park.
View looking southeast.
A view from the Northwest edge of the park facing Southeast. The braided path splits from the central medallion and forms two elliptical shaped seating areas. These are more intimate spaces surrounded by planting and designed to act as a destination where each braided path ends. There is bench seating that defines the space and continues the form of the braided path. There is a small elliptical planting bed in front of the Caribbean seating area with a plaque that provides information on migration from that area. The central gathering space, water feature and Cowrie shells can be seen beyond surrounded by planting against the heritage building to the East.
View from the northwest edge of the park facing southeast.
A view from the northeast corner of the park, looking south towards the water feature. In the foreground, a person sits on a granite bench surround by native tree and perennial plantings in a raised planting bed. Behind the plantings is the calabash-shaped water feature. People sit and stools and stand around the water feature, in front of the three Cowrie sculptures. The King streetcar can be seen driving by in the distance. On the far southwest side of the park, people sit on a long linear bench in front of the existing brick heritage private building that borders the park.
View looking south towards the water feature, central gathering area and Cowrie sculptures with King Street in the distance.
A zoomed-in view shows the edge of the water feature, the stone edging of the feature, as well as the radial paving next to the feature. Next to the water feature you can see that someone is sitting on a stone stool. On top of the stone water feature edging is an inscription of a Fela Kuti quote: “Water No Get Enemy”.
Closeup aerial view of the water feature showing the artist inscription along its edge.

Design constraints for the park include:

  • Large park amenities or sport features will not fit due to the park’s limited size.
  • A dogs off-leash area will not be included due to the park’s limited size.
  • Real grass to walk or roll on (e.g. a lawn) will not be able to survive due to the heavy foot traffic.
  • Washrooms will not be included given the size of the park and its proximity to the John Innes Community Recreation Centre, which has public washrooms.
Artist Statement on the Park Design

The new park at 254 King East is inspired by the histories of Black migration that have shaped the city of Toronto. This includes historical events like the Transatlantic slave trade, the underground rail road, and the contemporary arrivals, departures and reunions of Toronto’s diverse Black populations.

To create a park that embodies these stories of migration, we will be using three symbols that are relevant to Black and Indigenous people in Canada — water, cowrie shells, cornrows and Sankofa.

From divination, to migration, to births, to burials, to celebrations and beyond, water as a pathway and as a tool is an essential cultural element to both Black and Indigenous people. In the North East corner of the central seating area, there will be a water feature made from stone. The shape of the water feature is inspired by the calabash, a West African object used for storing water. “Water no get enemy” will be engraved on the brim of the brim of the water vessel. This well known lyric by Fela Kuti, highlights the importance of water to all life; to our survival via the nourishment of our physical and spiritual being. By carving out this sacred space to acknowledge water, with recognition of both Black and Indigenous practices, we are once again showing the solidarities across cultures.

Building on the symbolism of water, the proposed park design imagines the park as an ocean or major waterway. In the center of this ocean —at the heart of the park — there will be an island with three large cowrie shells. The shells all be made of bronze and will have a height of almost six feet.

The cowrie is found in oceans across the globe and has been used for centuries as a symbol of Black pride, spirituality, fertility, wealth, beauty and ancestry. Many Asian and Indigenous cultures also value the cowrie for its decorative and spiritual use. Each cowrie represents a region of the world that is important in the narrative of Black migration to Canada. One cowrie stands for Africa, another for The Americas, and another the Caribbean. At the point where the cowries meet, there will be a compass engraved into the ground to show the NWSE coordinates.

Flowing from the compass are three braided pathways that take you on a journey to the secondary seating areas in the park. The crisscross pattern of the braided pathways is inspired by the braiding pattern of cornrows. Braids and cornrows are central to Black traditions. They are an expression of pride and beauty and were used to to conceal maps to freedom for those escaping enslavement.

The braided paths lead to the secondary seating areas in the park. Each of these areas corresponds to a region of the world where Black Canadians have migrated from including Africa, The Americas, and The Caribbean. As you travel along the braided path to the corresponding region of the world, you will notice bronze inlays engraved with dates commemorating the historical arrivals of Toronto’s Black populations.

The braided paths meander through the park like the winding curves of the Sankofa symbol, which contains an important lesson about “learning from the past to build the future.” As the braided path approaches the seating area, it rises from the ground and evolves into a circular bench that frames the seated area. Hence, the path becomes the bench, and the journey leads to a resting place: home at the end of a long migration. The final element is a plaque which offers a brief explanation of each of the migration milestones indicated along the path.

To and from, back and forth, the cowries and braided pathways take visitors on a discovery of Black Torontonian history.

January 2024

Online Survey

From December 18, 2023, to January 28, 2024, an online survey collected feedback on the proposed design for the new park.

December 2023

Community Pop-Up Event

On December 15 and December 20, 2023, the project team held a drop-in pop-up event at St. Lawrence Public Library at 171 Front St. E. so community members could review the park designs and provide feedback. This was an in-person alternative to completing the online survey.

April 2023

Call for Black Artists and Designers

From April 3 to 28, 2023, a call to Black Artists and Designers for public artwork for the new park on King St E was live. Visit the competition webpage to learn more.

January 2023

Black Communities Advisory Group

On January 19, 2023, the second meeting with the Black Communities Advisory Group took place.

Download the meeting summary.

Community Engagement Phase 3: Setting the Direction

This phase of the community engagement process will start in spring/summer 2024. In this phase, a final proposed design for the new parks will be presented to the local community for a final round of feedback and revisions.

This section is organized as follows:

  • Community Engagement Phase 1: Towards a Vision
  • Community Engagement Phase 2: Exploring Design Options
  • Community Engagement Phase 3: Setting the Direction (we are here)

Community Engagement Phase 1: Towards a Vision

In this phase of the community engagement process, community members were asked to provide feedback to help develop a vision. The project was also shared with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for feedback.

Park Vision

Based on the feedback collected in Community Engagement Phase 1, the design vision for this park is an accessible, green and calm urban oasis, with the flexibility to host events and performances. The design focus in this park is Indigenous placekeeping.

Details of the Phase 1 community engagement process, including summary documents, are located in the New Park on King Street East section.

Community Engagement Phase 2: Exploring Design Options

In this phase, draft design options for each park will be presented to the local community for feedback and revisions.

Download the Phase 2:

Proposed Design

Layout
An aerial plan view of the proposed design for the new park on Richmond Street. There are six semi and half circular planting beds along the perimeter of the park that include trees and plantings. on the inside edge of each is stone tiered seating, facing into the park. Throughout the space there are 13 small circular seating features. There are large trees that can provide shade throughout the space. The paving is red brick, aligned with the cardinal directions. In the centre of the park is a light coloured circular paving feature. There is bike parking on the south end of the park. There is bench seating along the outer edge of the park with spaces for people using mobility devices. There are walkways around all sides of the park that abut the neighbouring developments. There is a pathway north from the park that leads to King Street and a pathway from the north east side that leads east to Ontario Street.
Note that labels 2, 3, and 13 Moons seating features are Indigenous placekeeping features.
A rendering of the proposed design for the new park on Richmond Street. The view is into the park from Richmond, towards the west entrance to the park. At the entrance to the park there is a set of garbage and recycling bins on the left and a community notice board on the right. Near the entrance is a small circular seating features. There is bike parking along the sidewalk on the right side of the image. The centre of the park is open space for gathering. Along the outside of the park are semi and half circle planting beds with trees and plantings. On the inside of each planting bed is tiered stone seating, facing into the park. There are walking pathways along all side of the park, between the park and neighbouring buildings. There are light posts with multiple light bulbs attached to the side of the posts near the top, pointing down.
Rendering of the proposed design looking north into the park from Richmond Street East.
A rendering of the proposed design for the new park on Richmond Street. The view is south through the park from the north east corner. The centre of the park is open space for gathering. The centre of the park is marked with a light coloured circular paving feature, while the rest of the paving is red brick. Along the outside of the park are semi and half circle planting beds with trees and plantings. On the inside of each planting bed is tiered stone seating, facing into the park. There are circular seating features throughout the perimeter of the park. On the right there is a tiered seating feature with a large enough surface to double as a stage for live performances in the park. On the left, by the walkway along the outside of the park there are cafe tables and seating. These are located next to but outside of the park, the rendering suggests these would be put out by businesses, as they are on private property.
Rendering of the proposed design looking south through the park from the north-east corner.

A video of the proposed design where Ryan Gorrie, Indigenous Design Advisor for the new park, provides an overview of the draft park design, with a focus on the proposed Indigenous placekeeping features.

April 2023

Community Pop-Up Event

On April 1, 2023, a community pop-up event was held at Moss Park Market. Members of the public could review the draft park designs for the new park and provide feedback. Two members of the project team were available to collect feedback and answer questions.

January 2023

Black Communities Advisory Group

On January 19, 2023, the second meeting with the Black Communities Advisory Group took place.

Download the meeting summary.

March 2023

Community Pop-Up Event

On March 21, 2023, the project team held a drop-in pop-up event at John Innes Community Recreation Centre at 150 Sherbourne St., from 2:30 to 7 p.m.

The pop-up allowed community members to review the draft park designs for the new park on Richmond Street East and provide their feedback in person. Two project team members were available to collect feedback and answer questions.

Approximately 15 community members provided feedback at this popup.

Virtual Community Design Workshop: New Park on Richmond Street

On March 23, 2023, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., the project team held a virtual community workshop. Participants could review and provide feedback on draft design options for the new park on Richmond Street in an interactive virtual space. Two community members attended the workshop.

Online Survey

An online survey for community members ran from March 3 to April 2. Participants could review and provide feedback on draft design options for the new park on Richmond Street East. The draft design options were developed based on the feedback collected in Community Engagement Phase 1.

Community Engagement Phase 3: Setting the Direction

This phase of the community engagement process will start in fall 2023/winter 2024. In this phase, a final proposed design for the new parks will be presented to the local community for a final round of feedback and revisions.

Preferred Design

Layout
A plan view of the new park on Richmond Street east. Six large, half-moon shaped planting beds frame a large circular central gathering space. Entrances to and from the park are located at the northeast and southwest corners. A band of paving aligns with true north and south, and leads to the central gathering area which features a sunburst medallion that corresponds to the four directions. Thirteen moon seating features are located near the edges of the planting beds. A cafe-style seating area is located towards the south of the park, and a stage is located in the northern portion of the park. Tall lamp posts are provided within each of the planting beds. Trees are located within the planting beds and within the paved areas.
Preferred design layout.
A view looking north into the park from Richmond Street East. The entrance to the park features a band of pavers aligned with “true north”, leading into a large central gathering space. The entrance is framed by a large, mounded planting bed along the Richmond Street East sidewalk, and a smaller planting bed running parallel to the face of the building that frames the park. Bicycle parking is located along the Richmond Street East sidewalk beside the large planting bed. The large mounded planting bed along Richmond Street East includes lush low plantings, a large tree, a light post, and a park sign. A community message board is located adjacent to the large planting bed following the entrance into the park.
Rendering of the preferred design looking north through the park from Richmond Street East.
A large central open space features concentric banded circles, as well as a paving inlay with a central circular medallion with arrows radiating outwards that look like a sunburst. Four large arrows point towards the four cardinal directions while smaller arrows point towards low stone seats with bronze circular inlays on their tops. Behind the central open space, people sit on stepped stone seats framed by a planting bed to watch a person at the centre play guitar. Trees are located along the edge of the central open space within the paving and within the planting beds that frame the space.
Rendering of the preferred design looking southeast towards Richmond Street from the centre of the park.
Looking from the south from the northern corner of the park towards Richmond Street, a band of pavers indicates the north-south axis of the park. The entrance is framed by a planting bed and stage on the right-hand side, and a planting bed with a curved wooden bench seat on the left. Trees and low shrubs with purple and white flowers are planted in the planting beds. Pleople stand and gather on the stage and walk through the park.
Rendering of the preferred design looking south from the northern corner of the park, towards Richmond Street.
Children play in the large central gathering space within the park. The paving features a large central medallion that looks like a sun or a compass, and radiating circular bands of paving stones. The central gathering space is framed by stepped stone seats on the right and left hand edges of the park. There are three tiers of curved seating that allow people sitting to look into the central gathering space. Text is inscribed in the tiered seating on the right-hand side reads “Respect Mnaadendimowin”, while text inscribed on the seating on the left hand side reads “Humility Dibaadendiziwin”. In front of the tiered stone seats are low circular stools made of stone. Behind the tiered stone seats are mounded planting beds that include trees and light poles.
Rendering of the preferred design looking north through the park from the centre medallion. Queen Street is visible in the background.
A large group of people gathers in front of a low, rounded circular stone stage while a band plays on the stage. The stage is integrated into a large plating bed that includes a large tree and a light pole. Along the right hand side of the image, a paved, treed pedestrian connection to Queen Street East is shown.
Rendering of the preferred design looking northwest from the corner of the park, overlooking the stage area during a small music concert. Queen Street is visible in the background.
Looking towards Richmond Street East, a paved area is shown with people sitting and eating at small bistro style tables and chairs under a large shade tree. The seating area is framed by a planter that includes a long, curved and tiered stone bench with the words “Courage Aakode'ewin” and “Honesty Gwekwaadziwin” inscribed. Behind the curved bench is a planting bed that includes a low perennial planting with white flowers, and a large tree.
Rendering of the preferred design looking southeast from the corner of the park, which includes the café table and chair seating area, stone seating, planting mounds, and community posting board (right).

Design constraints for the park include:

  • Large park amenities or sport features will not fit due to the park’s limited size.
  • A dogs off-leash area will not be included due to the park’s limited size.
  • Real grass to walk or roll on (e.g. a lawn) will not be able to survive due to the heavy foot traffic.
  • Washrooms will not be included given the size of the park and its proximity to the John Innes Community Recreation Centre, which has public washrooms.
Indigenous Placekeeping

The design focus of this park is Indigenous placekeeping. Brook McIlroy Indigenous Design Studio’s Ryan Gorrie, Indigenous Design Advisor, has led the integration of Indigenous placekeeping into the draft park design. Feedback from community members, Indigenous-serving organizations, and Rights Holders informed the development of the following features:

  1. Reflecting the cardinal directions. Reorienting the park layout, including its entry and exit points to the cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west), which differ from Toronto’s grid. The paving pattern draws attention to the park’s orientation to the cardinal directions.
  2. A park layout that provides a balance between planting and open/gathering space, using organic (circular) shapes rather than straight lines. Use of native plantings, medicines, and pollinator plantings bring a wide range of biodiversity into the space. Trees and plantings are also selected to survive in the existing conditions (e.g. the level of sunlight). Short fencing around the planting mounds will help protect them (e.g. from dogs).
  3. Bringing in natural elements throughout the design, including reclaimed wood for benches and stone for tiered seating. Referencing older beings that are part of our relations.
  4. Seven Grandfather Teachings (Wisdom, Love, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Humility, and Truth) etched into the sides of each stone seating area, in Anishinaabemowin and English. All seven grandfather teachings are on the same level, as each is equally important. Signage in the park will introduce the teachings to park users who do not know them.
  5. The 13 Moons are reflected in 13 circular seating features throughout the park (aligned with the moon phases). Many Indigenous peoples share the knowledge of the 13 Moons on a turtle’s back. There are 13 large segments which represent the 13 Moons that make up the lunar year. The semi-circle planting mounds around the park reference the different phases of the moon. The 13 moon discs located throughout the park can be used for seating, tables, play, etc. Each disk will include a artistic metal inlay that references that moon (e.g. Strawberry Moon, Flower Moon, Sugar Moon, etc.). The paving design in the central gathering space also has paving markers that point to each of the 13 moons. Signage in the park will introduce the 13 moons to park users who do not know them.
  6. A ground-level space for gathering and performance. In Community engagement Phase 1, we heard from community members that a performance space would be a positive addition to the park, but that sometimes a raised performance space can feel intimidating. A ground-level space for gathering and performance (e.g. storytelling) was proposed as a good alternative. The central medallion (which has paving designs pointing to the four directions and the 13 moons) provides a ground-level circular gathering or performance space for community members. The nearby tiered stone seating and 13 moons seating features provides opportunities for gathering around this space.

January 2024

Online Survey

From December 18, 2023, to January 28, 2024, an online survey collected feedback on the preferred design for the new park.

December 2023

Community Pop-Up Event

On December 15 and December 20, 2023, the project team held a drop-in pop-up event at St. Lawrence Public Library at 171 Front St. E. so community members could review the park designs and provide feedback. This was an in-person alternative to completing the online survey.