The City of Toronto is embarking on a Master Plan Update for Centennial Park. This will guide any updated infrastructure and changes within the park over the next 20 years.
Laying the Groundwork:
Finalizing the Plan:
The timeline is subject to change.
Centennial Park was envisioned in 1962 and opened in 1967 during Canada’s 100th birthday celebrations to meet the needs of a growing population in the Township of Etobicoke.
Today, Centennial Park is Toronto’s second-largest park, located in the city’s west end, near the border of Mississauga. Centennial Park functions both as a local park and as a regional destination park, drawing an estimated 1.5 million people from across the City and other municipalities annually. The park contains many sports facilities, public gathering spaces and natural areas.
A Master Plan is a dynamic and long-term planning document that provides a vision, objectives and action items to guide decision making for the ongoing improvements and management of parks.
Master Plans are typically updated every 10 years. In 2008, the City developed a Master Plan for Centennial Park that never went before City Council and therefore was not realized. Since the 2008 Master Plan, much has changed. The City has created new policy tools, including the Parkland Strategy and the Facilities Master Plan, which provide Parks, Forestry and Recreation a framework for exploring designs and implementing projects. The park itself has evolved, with the addition of a BMX Bike Park, a frisbee golf course and other minor changes.
In 2018 the City of Toronto set out to review the 2008 Centennial Park Master Plan. The City consulted with stakeholders, permit holders, user groups and the public to understand what is and isn’t working well in the park, along with what has changed since the 2008 Master Plan was developed.
As the Master Plan Update enters its next phase, the City has retained PMA Landscape Architects, PROCESS, Dougan + Associates (Ecologists), Marshall & Murray (Cost Consultants), and Bronte Engineering (Civil Engineer) to develop a 10-year master plan. The Master Plan Update will respond to the realities of climate change by integrating a resilience lens (e.g. building and park operations, impacts of severe storms) and focusing on engaging a more diverse set of users to better understand needs and preferences to better serve both local residents as well as residents citywide.
To help update the Master Plan, the project team is focusing on four major themes to help guide conversations around experiences in the park and focus on opportunities for improvement. The four themes are Water, Ecology, Movement and Culture.
How we think about water at Centennial Park involves the entire water cycle – how and where it lands on the site, how it moves through the site, and how it is absorbed by the site. Water is a natural resource and it is also a source of play, beauty and contemplation within the park. The Master Plan will take into consideration how water can be.
The Ecology of Centennial Park includes the natural environment – the trees, habitats, animals – and the system that links all of these together. The Master Plan will take into consideration the delicate balance of the park’s ecosystem, including how to reduce human impacts and prepare the park for the changing climate.
Movement in Centennial Park is all about how people travel and find their way to and around the site. It is also about equal access for all, whether you are walking, biking, driving, taking the bus; if you need to take breaks often or need a smooth surface to travel on.
Culture reflects everything that contributes to the way of life in Centennial Park. It includes sportsfields and playgrounds, picnicking by the pond or visiting the Conservatory on a rainy day. It captures the community at Centennial Park, and how this can be created, maintained and enhanced.
Building off of the Public Visioning Workshop findings, PROCESS and PMA led two virtual workshops to refine a park concept.
From June 21 to July 28 we used Social Pinpoint, an online interactive map platform, to collect specific feedback about the park from the community and park users. The platform allowed users to drop pins in specific locations as well as fill in a visioning survey on four themes: water, ecology, movement and culture.
Held at Etobicoke Olympium, this public workshop allowed for an opportunity to learn more about the master planning process and to help create a community vision for the park. The workshop included a project presentation and visioning activities with the aim to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the Master Plan update.
The meeting began with a presentation of the 2008 Master Plan and what we heard from prior internal and permit holder consultations. This was followed by a question and answer period.
After the presentation, smaller discussions were held around thematic displays for additional input and comments.
Following the Open House, were two separate hike-shops led by City staff and the public facilitator consultant. These hikes focused on connecting participants with both natural and recreation areas in the park creating dynamic discussions about real park amenities.
Discussions included a review of the strengths, challenges and opportunities within the park.
The City is working with PROCESS – a public engagement, research and placemaking studio – to provide a variety of ways to get involved with the Centennial Park Master Planning process. An important part of our process includes obtaining feedback from the community in order to ensure that diverse voices are heard and all ideas and recommendations are considered.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some community engagement plans were delayed, however, the engagement process has resumed abiding by physical distancing guidelines and using virtual tools.
All of the Centennial Park Master Plan consultation activities include intentional Indigenous consultation and community education. Our team includes an Indigenous consultation practitioner who is leading the Indigenous consultation work. We also have ensured that our project Stakeholder Advisory Committee includes Indigenous members and that each public meeting (Public and Youth) includes Indigenous cultural competency education opportunities.
An Indigenous Cultural Competency Educational presentation will be shared. If you cannot attend, be sure to check out this website again in late July 2020, when we will post a video of the Indigenous Cultural Competency Educational presentation.
We will be hosting a series of pop-ups in and around Centennial Park to keep the public informed of the Master Plan update process. These will take place in early July and will comply with physical distancing measures.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the planned series of Public Life Studies are no longer taking place. Instead, in-depth interviews with key stakeholders and park users are taking place, to ensure the project team understands how people use Centennial Park today, so we can shape it for tomorrow.
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