Protected by the Gardiner Expressway for over half a century, this relatively modest parcel of land has fostered some of the most magnificent trees in the city. Its uncompacted soil—almost unheard-of for an urban lot—gives the site unique potential to support a diverse, mature forest in downtown Toronto. York Forest proposes to celebrate and reimagine this preserved, ecologically dormant site as an urban forested wild, with 90% of the site’s area covered by vegetative canopy. The accessibility of the proposed landscape encourages a range of activities and program options, while the variety of spaces in this vibrant urban ecosystem offer opportunities for individual and community experiences, from quiet contemplation and nature immersion to casual gatherings and lively cultural events.

The proposal focuses on making a lasting landscape, a verdant oasis built on this unique site with our knowledge and leadership in the areas of landscape technologies, adapted urban plant communities, visible site systems, and enduring constructions. Our team has expertise in developing attainable and lasting solutions to complex urban projects that are informed by our research and knowledge of regional ecosystems, natural systems, site archaeology, engineering, landscape resilience and management, sustainable technologies, and material sciences.

York Forest weaves our expertise and knowledge into poetic revelations of the site’s and city’s ambiguous histories and lost ecologies. This proposal strives to reveal and celebrate Toronto’s interconnected histories of natural systems, infrastructure, culture, and community.

The Team
This collaboration assembles Toronto’s most progressive designers of civic space with internationally acclaimed creators of public space design. Stimson is an awarding winning leader of landscape architectural conceptual thinking and realization that has developed public parks + urban spaces throughout North America. MJMA, a multidisciplinary design-based firm serving the Greater Toronto Area since 1988, has a depth of specific experience in the social structure of the City. This collaboration is uniquely suited to create a park design that is inspirational, enhances its’ neighbourhood, beautifies the community, facilitates multiple uses, and generates positive community interaction.