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.
A second meeting with Indigenous Community Leaders took place over Zoom and was led by Indigenous Consultant, Trina Moyan Bell. A summary report of that meeting will be posted here when it becomes available.
Based on feedback received through engagement done up until this date, the City developed a series of preliminary designs. These designs were shared for further feedback through a survey that ran from September 25 to October 11, 2020. The survey received 1,000 responses.
Download the Preferred Option Survey Summary Report.
The digital workshop took place over Zoom and was led by Indigenous Consultant, Trina Moyan Bell. Indigenous Elder, Catherine Tammaro, opened and closed the workshop with a prayer. There were an estimated 15 participants including community leaders, elders, knowledge keepers, families and entrepreneurs.
Download the Indigenous community leaders summary report.
Building off of the Public Visioning Workshop findings, PROCESS and PMA led two virtual workshops to refine a park concept.
PROCESS and PMA led a virtual Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting attended by six Centennial Park Stakeholders including local organizations, park permit holders, agencies, environmental groups, local schools and interested residents.
Download the Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting 2 Summary Report.
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.
PROCESS and PMA led an in-person Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting at Etobicoke Olympium, which was attended by 25 Centennial Park stakeholders including, local organizations, park permit holders, agencies, environmental groups, school boards and interested residents, plus the consultant team and City staff.
Download the Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting 1 Summary Report.
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, there were two separate hike-shops led by City staff and PROCESS. These hikes focused on connecting participants with both natural and recreation areas in the park creating dynamic discussions about real park amenities.
Download Public Consultation Presentation
Discussions included a review of the strengths, challenges and opportunities within the park.
The Centennial Park revitalization team recognizes Indigenous communities’ constitutionally protected rights to deal with Canada, provinces and territories on a Nation-to-Nation basis. As a direct response to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, the team looks to honour the rights, languages, cultures, histories and knowledge (s), of the original peoples of Canada. Therefore, ensuring Indigenous peoples are actively involved in the Centennial Park revitalization planning is an imperative course of action.
For this project, the City brought onto the consulting team Trina Moyan Bell, an Indigenous consultant who facilitated a series of conversations with Indigenous community leaders, elders, knowledge keepers, families and entrepreneurs. Trina also facilitated Indigenous Competency Trainings for the Technical Advisory Committee and for the youth and public workshops.
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.
Based on the consultation initiatives conducted to date including public meetings, youth and public workshops, indigenous consultation and stakeholder interviews, we have developed a set of preliminary design options for Centennial Park. These design options were presented to the public for further feedback through a survey that ran from September 26 to October 11, 2020.
The Centennial Park Master Plan Refresh consultation activities include intentional Indigenous engagement and community education. Our team includes an Indigenous practitioner who is leading the Indigenous engagement work. We have met with Indigenous Community Leaders to review the Master Plan Refresh work and we have also included Indigenous Cultural Competency training opportunities for the project’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee and at Public and Youth Workshops.
A series of pop-ups were held at Centennial Park to keep the public informed of the Master Plan Refresh process. These took place in July and August 2020 and complied with physical distancing measures.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the planned series of Public Life Studies were turned into in-depth interviews with key stakeholders and park users to ensure the project team understood how people use Centennial Park today.
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