What is the fundamental role for this park in an emerging neighbourhood? How will this park – a site that is related to the water, but not on it; connected to the downtown, but not in it – relate to a broader context of public spaces? What quality of open space was missing from the waterfront area? How might residents, local office workers and tourists be drawn to this park, not because of a spectacular setting or iconic feature – but because it fills an intrinsic need.
What were the residents of this neighbourhood missing in their hyper-urban lives, if anything?
As designers do, we reviewed what metaphors the waterfront and the urban park might convey. Was it . . . The Cottage on a Lake? The Suburban Backyard? The Country Retreat? We decided none of these things were quite right. People choose to live in a city – not because they want to get away from people – but because of the daily interactions with their neighbours, the cultural richness of the place, and the immersive sociability of urban life. It is not an accident that we found ourselves thinking about the role of the neighbourhood park in Toronto: A City of Neighbourhoods. Perhaps then, the solution should be to attract people with the best qualities of neighbourhood parks, and then amplify the vitality, comfort and delight that these parks provide, in service to the distinct neighbourhoods and the daily life within it.
Hapa Collaborative is a Vancouver – based landscape architecture and urban design practice established with placemaking, attentiveness and collaboration in mind. Our key design partners are frequent local collaborators Public Architecture and Communications, and Dougan and Associates Ecological Consulting and Design, based in southern Ontario. Supporting our core design team is a strong group of creative engineers: Integral Lighting Design and Electrical Engineers, and Aplin Martin Civil Engineers, both of whom have offices in Vancouver and Toronto; Equilibrium Consulting Inc., Structural Engineers, and LandTek Limited, Geotechnical Engineers. Rounding out our team are cost consultants BTY, and Public Art Consultant Rina Greer.