A new 2,600m2 park is coming to 229 Richmond St. W. The site is currently leased to a restaurant and used as an outdoor patio. The City is conducting a two-stage design competition to select a creative and experienced design team for the new park. There will be various opportunities for the community to get involved in the park design process!

  • 2023: Hire a design team through a two-stage design competition
  • 2022 to 2024: Community engagement
  • 2023 to 2024: Design development
  • 2024: Detailed design and hire a construction team
  • 2025: Construction starts
  • 2026: Construction complete

The timeline is subject to change.

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

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About the Design Competition

The City is inviting design teams, led by a Landscape Architect, to submit their qualifications for the design and construction of the new park at 229 Richmond St. W. The competition is structured as a two-stage open process.

229 Richmond Appendix A – RFSQ Appendix A has more information about the design.

Apply to the Design Competition

The application submission deadline is March 2, 2023.

Timeline

  • Winter 2023: Design Competition Stage One (RFSQ)
  • Spring 2023: Shortlisted design teams announced
  • Spring 2023: Design Competition Stage Two opens (RFP)
  • Summer 2023: Design Competition Stage Two closes (RFP) and public Open House for design submissions
  • Fall 2023: Design team awarded project

Eligibility

The two-stage design competition is open to design teams, including international talent. Each team must be led by a Landscape Architect in good standing with the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects. The teams must also include:

  1. An architect/architectural firm that is a full member in good standing with the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA). If the architect is registered in another jurisdiction and does not have OAA registration, a sub-consultant with this requirement must be on the team.
  2. A professional artist or artist team.
  3. An Indigenous design partner with experience or expertise in Indigenous placekeeping. This person can also fulfill other roles on the team, such as the artist, architect or landscape architect, but should have specific expertise in Indigenous placekeeping.

Stage One: Request for Supplier Qualifications (RFSQ)

In this stage, the City is collecting applications from eligible design teams. The applicants will be evaluated based on their qualifications, work experience, and approach to the park site.

Stage One RFSQ submissions will be reviewed by an Evaluation Committee made up of City Staff and the Professional Advisor to the Design Competition. The five highest rated teams will be shortlisted and invited to participate in Stage Two. Each shortlisted team will receive an honorarium of $10,000.

Stage Two: Request for Proposal (RFP)

In this stage, the shortlisted applicants will submit conceptual designs for the new park. The applicants will receive a competition brief in the form of a Request for Proposals (RFP) which will outline the submission requirements and provide additional material required to develop the designs. This stage will include an orientation session and site tour.

The shortlisted applicants will present their design ideas in-person or virtually (to be determined) to the Design Jury and the community. The design ideas will also be shared on this page. A Professional Advisor will collect and summarize feedback on the design ideas from the Community Advisory Group, the Park Steering Committee, and the community. The Design Jury will use this feedback to help inform their recommendation for one design team.

The Design Jury includes respected landscape architects and professionals with a range of expertise in urban park design excellence, culture, public art and Indigenous placekeeping.

Objectives

  1. Collect community feedback, co-develop a project vision and establish design goals.
  2. Inform project committees of the design competition and consultant selection process, and collect feedback and insights.
  3. Confirm the project vision and design goals.

January 2023

Community Advisory Group Meeting 2

On January 9, 2023, the Community Advisory Group (CAG) had their second meeting.

November 2022

Online Thought Exchange Activity

From September 28 to November 4, 2022, the community shared their vision and ideas for the new park and rated the ideas of others in a thought exchange activity. The activity had 3,303 participants, 1,968 thoughts shared and 50,557 ratings.

Community Advisory Group Meeting 1

On November 15, 2022, the Community Advisory Group (CAG) had their first meeting. The CAG is comprised of local community organizations and businesses with unique perspectives from years of experience in the King-Spadina community. The CAG will act as an advisory body through the design competition and park design process.

In this phase of the community engagement process, the City will collect community feedback on the shortlisted designs from the two-phase design competition. At the end of this phase, the City will hire a design team.

Objectives

  1. Present five shortlisted designs and collect high-level feedback (including preferences).
  2. Summarize community feedback and provide it to the Design Jury.

In this phase of the community engagement process, the City will present the winning design in a series of engagement events to inform the development of a detailed design. The final design will be presented to the community for feedback and revisions.

Objectives

  1. Present and collect feedback on the winning design as it is developed into detailed design.
  2. Set the design direction for the detailed design phase.
  3. Share the detailed design online.

The site was secured as parkland in 2019 through a transaction involving CreateTO and multiple City Divisions. The transaction resulted in:

  • A new development at 260 Adelaide St. W, which will include affordable housing and an indoor community space;
  • A new Emergency Medical Services station at Metro Hall (55 John St.); and,
  • The purchase of the site at 229 Richmond St. W for the future park, which represents one of the City’s most significant park acquisitions in downtown in recent decades.

Downtown Toronto has one of the lowest parkland provision rates in the city at 5.5m2 per resident (based on the 2016 census) and 1.8m2 per resident and employee. The city-wide average is 28m2 per resident and 18m2 per resident and employee respectively. Nearly 16,000 people live within a 0.5km radius of the new park site, and 52,000 more come to work in this area. This project will create much-needed parkland in a rapidly growing neighbourhood.

A design and construction budget of $10 million has been secured for this project. The new park will be referred to by its location until it is officially named. The park naming process is separate from the park design process.

Park Location

The future park is located between Richmond Street West to the north and Nelson Street to the south. West of the new park is the future site of a high-rise residential and commercial development at 241 Richmond St. W and 133 John St. with construction starting in 2024. East of the new park are two commercial heritage buildings at 221 Richmond St. W and 30 Duncan St. The site was used as a surface parking lot since the early 1980s. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was leased to local restaurants for summer patio use.

An aerial map showing the location of the new park at 229 Richmond Street West, circled in red. The park shape is rectangular in size and boarders Richmond Street West, with a connection to Duncan Street to the east and Nelson Street to the south.

History

The park site is part of the King-Spadina Heritage Conservation District (HCD), which is an evolved historic district, with a concentration of late-19th and early 20th century residential and commercial buildings, three historic parks, and a network of laneways. These historic resources reflect the District’s evolution from an institutional and residential neighbourhood to a warehouse and manufacturing area over the course of the 1880s to 1940s. For the first half of the 20th century, the District was Toronto’s primary manufacturing and warehouse area. After World War II, many industries left the downtown core and relocated to suburban locations.

Subsequent waves of development in the mid to late 20th century saw the regeneration of the District through the adaptive reuse of residential and commercial buildings for a variety of uses. In the 1980s to early 2000s, the area was a mecca for youth culture, as the empty industrial buildings were repurposed as nightclubs and bars. In the last 20 years, a boom of condominiums has transformed the area, creating a mixed-use neighbourhood with offices, bars, restaurants, cultural venues and high-rise residential buildings.