City of Toronto selects winning design to turn downtown paved space into a green-space park on Richmond St. W.

City of Toronto selects winning design to turn downtown paved space into a green-space park on Richmond St. W.

The City of Toronto has selected the winner of an international design competition for a new downtown park that will open at 229 Richmond St. W., between Richmond Street West and Nelson Street, in the heart of the city’s entertainment district. The construction of the City-owned 2,600 square metre park is anticipated to commence in 2025.

With approximately 16,000 residents residing within a 0.5 km radius and 52,000 people working in the vicinity, this transformative project addresses the growing demand for parkland in the rapidly expanding neighbourhood.

The design concept, Wàwàtesí, which translates to “Firefly” in Anishinaabemowin, has been selected as the winning proposal for the site. Conceived by West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, the winning submission was a collaborative effort that included contributions from hcma Architecture and Design, Native Art Department International, MinoKamik Collective, ARUP, KG&A, ERA Architects and A.W. Hooker.

The Wàwàtesí design concept integrates culture, public art, landscape, light and space for performance. This thoughtful approach provides an engaging green oasis for visitors, residents and those who work in the area to enjoy. Wàwàtesí will transport visitors through a woodland experience, all while in a downtown neighbourhood surrounded by high-rise buildings. Over the next two years, the Wàwàtesí concept will be transformed into a more detailed site design.

The winning design emerged from a two-stage design competition, which culminated in the selection of five shortlisted concepts. The concepts were evaluated by a distinguished panel of experts in landscape architecture, Indigenous placekeeping, architecture, urban design, art and climate resilience. Each concept’s ability to meet the evaluation criteria and technical requirements was considered through this process. The Jury’s final decision was also informed by the public. Additional opportunities for public engagement, including selecting a permanent name for the new park, will occur at later stages of the project.

The site was once a surface parking lot and, more recently, utilized by a restaurant as an outdoor patio with dining and social activities. It was acquired in 2019 for the specific purpose of creating a park.

More details about the project are available on the City’s website:

SOURCE City of Toronto

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