Competition Winner

Inspired by Scarborough’s signature bluffs, Rees Ridge is a dynamic vertical garden infused with play in Toronto’s Waterfront District. It mitigates the air and noise pollution of the Gardiner Expressway, while celebrating the drama and scale of the infrastructure and city. Uniquely planted with endemic species native to Lake Ontario, the park will become an iconic botanical experience within the city.

The landform creates a welcoming space where a gradient of activities, communities and features coexist. The Ridge is a new vantage point for viewing Lake Ontario and a backdrop for the lively activity of the park below.

Activated by ramps, stairs, slides, swings, hills, and slopes, the Ridge offers passive and active play in three dimensions: sliding and climbing; elevated areas surrounded by native vegetation to view the lake and city; and an interactive waterfall throughout the seasons. Vertical organization provides the space for a café, community room, and restrooms at street level, maximizing the available garden area.

The flatlands provide open space for pick-up games, lounging, and events. The park opens up to Lake Shore Boulevard through the ridge, creating visual and physical links between park and city. Bluff plant communities filter air and enhance the biodiversity of the Toronto Waterfront.

Rees Ridge is a singular icon on the Toronto Waterfront, a hybrid of infrastructure and the geology that defines Lake Ontario’s landscape. This Ridge connects visitors to city and lake through a rich botanical and programmatic experience, imagining Toronto’s vibrant new urban park.

The Team
wHY is an interdisciplinary design practice serving the arts, communities and environment since 2004, with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Led by Kulapat Yantrasast, Mark Thomann and Andrija Stojic, wHY’s office is made up of 30 architects, landscape designers, makers and strategic thinkers.

wHY has partnered with Toronto-based BrookMcIlroy – award winning designers known for their holistic approach and attention to detail. They were joined by thought leaders including engineers, designers, plant-lovers and cultural leaders who are passionate about Toronto’s Waterfront District. Team includes Arup, Phyto, MTWTF, Blackwell, Fluidity, Brad Golden + Co, Lord Consulting, VTLA and Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.