With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away here is an update on Toronto’s new ‘Love Park’ slated to be installed where the York St. off ramp for the Gardiner Expressway used to be.
Another one of the several place-making projects the City has on the go, these renderings from the landscape architects provide perspective on how the park will look throughout the seasons, and how it will be utilised by all walks of life.
The idea really is to provide a place where everyone can go for respite, go for a walk, gather with friends, or have lunch and read a book, and generally escape the stresses of the office.
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 vacant space can be re-purposed.
The City held an international design competition 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.
Public engagement played an essential role in developing the York Street park plan. A variety of consultation activities including public meetings and an open house as well as the implementation of a Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Each of the five 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.
What makes it a Love Park
The focal point of the park will be a large, shallow, heart-shaped pond which will be situated at the park’s centre while both existing and newly added trees will provide a green canopy to help to obscure the surrounding imposing buildings and the bustling city streets, making the setting more of an urban escape.
A network of curvaceous pathways will provide opportunities for people to move through the park quickly or stroll and enjoy the respite from the streets.
There will be places to sit and a terrace for casual lunches by employees of the neighbouring offices, for meet-ups, people watching or just quiet contemplation.
A much-needed small dog-relief area is proposed for the north section of the park.
Construction for the park begins in the spring of 2020 and should take about a year with the new ‘Love Park’ expected to open by 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.
The City of Toronto says that efforts will be made to re-open at least a portion of the central area before construction of the park begins, if possible.