York Street Park
A green oasis of calm and refuge is coming to the busy heart of the City’s waterfront. The open space on the site of the former Gardiner Expressway off-ramp at York Street and Harbour Street is being turned into a brand new park.
The open green space encircled by the former Gardiner Expressway off-ramp has been informally used as a park by the local community. With the removal of the off-ramp, the open greenspace became available to be re-envisioned.
An international design competition was held and the “Love Park” proposal by Claude Cormier + Associés, Landscape Architects, was selected as the winning submission. The key features of the new open public space will meet the needs of area residents, local office workers and the thousands of tourists who visit the City’s central waterfront each year:
- A large, shallow, heart-shaped pond will lie at the parks centre and both existing and newly planted trees will provide a green canopy to help screen out the surrounding buildings and bustling city streets.
- A gently swirling pathway network will provide opportunities for pedestrians to move through the park quickly or stroll and enjoy the respite from the streets.
- Seating areas and a terrace will be present for casual lunches by employees of the neighbouring offices, for meet-ups, people watching or just quiet contemplation.
- A small dog-relief area is proposed in the north section of the park.
Construction of the park is expected to begin in the spring of 2020 and the new park is expected to open in the summer of 2021.
The site is currently closed to the public while activities related to the removal of the ramp and the re-construction of Harbour Street are completed. Efforts will be made to re-open at least a portion of the central area before construction of the park begins, if possible.
Public engagement played an essential role in developing the York Street park plan. A variety of consultation activities provided diverse opportunities for people to give their input:
- A public meeting and open house were held in January of 2018 in order to launch the design competition and to get initial input regarding what was important to the community in the design of the park.
- A Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) was assembled as a part of the design competition process.
- The SAC provided input on the terms of reference for the competition and provided comments on each of the five proposals before the jury made the final selection.
- The design teams’ submission panels were displayed at City Hall for a two week period and the public was invited to submit written comments and vote for their preferred proposal.
- Surveys were available online during the design competition period, and the information collected was incorporated into the selection of the winning entry. The survey is now closed.
- An afternoon pop-up public consultation was hosted in the building lobby adjacent to the park.
The design team will present the proposal to Waterfront Toronto’s Design Review Panel in December and will begin to refine and develop the plans early in 2019. There will be scheduled opportunities for the public to see the revised plans as they progress.
The Stakeholder Advisory Committee will be invited to provide input on the plans at key milestones. The first SAC meeting will likely be held in March of 2019. A public information and update session will also be held once the schematic design is further developed.