Landscape architects named for Toronto’s York and Rees Street parks

Waterfront Toronto, in partnership with the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division, today announced the winning design submissions for the York Street Park and Rees Street Park design competition. Love Park by Claude Cormier et Associés has been selected for York Street Park, and Rees Ridge by wHY Architecture and Brook Mcllroy has been selected for Rees Street Park. The goal of the design competition was to solicit bold plans for the two parks from leading international design firms that would integrate with the existing vibrant public spaces along Toronto’s waterfront.

“The jury was thrilled with the quality and effort reflected in the design submissions for both York Street and Rees Street Park,” said Chris Glaisek, Chief Planning and Design Officer at Waterfront Toronto. “The winning designs best responded to the design requirements for each space, and we’re very excited to see these visions come to life.”

York Street Park. An artist rendering of Love Park, by Claude Cormier et Associés (Montreal) An artist rendering of Love Park, by Claude Cormier et Associés (Montreal)
York Street Park. An artist rendering of Love Park, by Claude Cormier et Associés (Montreal)
An artist rendering of Love Park, by Claude Cormier et Associés (Montreal)

The jury unanimously selected Love Park as the winning design for York Street Park. The jury appreciated the simple and timeless nature of the design and agreed that its natural elements and elegant forms created a contemporary and inviting space for visitors. The classic approach to this design, with a central water feature and lush perimeter, makes the spaces appealing for both winter and summer uses. It also creates beautiful aerial views from the surrounding office and residential towers, along with excellent opportunities to exhibit public art throughout the space.

Similarly, Rees Ridge was unanimously selected as the winning design for Rees Street Park. The jury was impressed with its bold and thoughtful design, which includes a large ridge that changes the relationship of the waterfront to the downtown. The team’s multi-functional design allows for year-round activity and includes exciting potential for future programming and events that will meet the needs of local residents. This design also creates many opportunities for flexible art integration.

An artist rendering of Rees Ridge, by wHY Architecture (New York) + Brook McIlroy (Toronto)
An artist rendering of Rees Ridge, by wHY Architecture (New York) + Brook McIlroy (Toronto)

(Chair of the Jury); Neil Hrushowy, Principal Urban Designer, City and County of San Francisco; Jane Hutton, Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo; Matthew Hyland, Director/Curator of Oakville Galleries; Janna Levitt, Principal, LGA Architectural Partners.

“I’d like to thank all of the five short-listed teams for their submissions and congratulate Claude Cormier et Associés and wHY Architecture and Brook Mcllroy, who have exceeded our expectations for what the York Street and Rees Street parks can become,” said Mayor John Tory. “I know we all are looking forward to seeing their creativity come to life in these parks. They will be vibrant additions to Toronto’s waterfront.”

The design competition was launched in February 2018 to develop proposals for the two parks that would respond to the pressing issues of a growing city and a busy waterfront district, while serving the diverse needs of local residents, office workers and visitors. More than 40 design teams from 18 cities world-wide submitted proposals during the pre-qualification stage of the competition.

In May 2018, five teams were shortlisted for each park and invited to participate in the design competition, which included an intensive six-week design exercise to develop conceptual proposals. Communication and engagement with the public was a key part of the competition. A Stakeholder Advisory Committee comprised of local residents, businesses and neighbourhood groups met at key points during the competition to provide advice and feedback to the project team and the jury.

In July 2018, all ten design proposals were put on public exhibition at Toronto City Hall and online, giving Torontonians an opportunity to review the proposals and provide feedback. Following the public feedback period, public comments were summarized in a Public Feedback Report that was delivered to the competition jury for consideration, along with reports from the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and Technical Advisory Committee.

Construction of York Street Park is expected to commence in 2019 with a budget of approximately $7 million. Construction of Rees Street Park expected to commence in 2020 with a budget of approximately $10 million.

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