Landscape architects selected for Aitken Place Park on Toronto waterfront

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Aitken Place Park

New York-based Thomas Balsley Associates and Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc. from Toronto have been selected by Waterfront Toronto as the landscape architecture team who will design a new .75 acres (3,000 sq. m.) park on Toronto’s waterfront.

Aitken Place Park will be a key link in the continuum of open spaces along the Water’s Edge Promenade, from Sugar Beach, Sherbourne Common, Parliament Slip and ultimately to the mouth of the Don River.

The park will be at the heart of the East Bayfront Community – currently being transformed from an underutilized industrial brownfield into a vibrant waterfront neigbourhood. Flanked by the future Aqualina residential development by Hines-Tridel to the west and the commercial buildings of Edgewater and Queens Quay Boulevard to the north, the park’s water’s edge location presents a unique opportunity to create a destination that invites local residents, tourists, and visitors to enjoy and engage with the lake, throughout every season, the landscape architects say in a news release.

The prime consultant will be Toronto-based Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc., who, a news release says, transformed the West Toronto Rail Path, Victoria Park Subway Station, Regent Park and the Native Child and Family Services Centre.

The lead design team will be led by New York-based landscape architecture firm Thomas Balsley Associates. “We are very honoured to have been selected to create a neighbourhood oasis for the local residents to enjoy,” said Scott Torrance in the news release. “Our collective vision for Aitken Place Park incudes a continuation of the design excellence within the public spaces that have been spearheaded by Waterfront Toronto in the creation of an inviting park for the local community of East Bayfront to connect with nature, the Water’s Edge Promenade and providing great views of Lake Ontario”.

“Unlike its East Bayfront counterparts, Aiken Place Park will be a cocoon nestled in a lushly-planted frame where one can be both apart and connected,” said Thomas Balsley. “As its centerpiece, we have shaped an iconic knoll whose topography will draw upon our natural instinct to ascend, to perch, to peer, and to play in this unique open space retreat overlooking the lake.”

Aitken Place Park will be at the heart of the East Bayfront Community – currently being transformed from an underutilized industrial brownfield into a vibrant waterfront neigbourhood. Flanked by the future Aqualina residential development by Hines-Tridel to the west and the commercial buildings of Edgewater and Queens Quay Boulevard to the north, The park’s water’s edge location presents a unique opportunity to create a destination that invites local residents, tourists, and visitors to enjoy and engage with the lake, throughout every season.

In keeping with the Waterfront Toronto Sustainability Framework, Aitken Place Park will embrace and utilize key sustainable principles, building techniques and technologies, including biodiversity, bio-retention, storm water retention, low energy lighting, and a tree canopy covering a large portion of the park. Health and wellness opportunities will be created by encouraging the interaction with nature, implementation of cycling and pedestrian strategies, and celebration of the site’s heritage and culture.

The design team has also planned for extreme weather mitigation, reduced maintenance requirements and environmental stewardship through native species plantings, which are all key tools to ensure that this park thrives over the long term.

Arup, the international engineering firm known for projects such as the Sydney Opera House and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, will coordinate the project’s engineering components.

“Through extensive and on-going consultations with local residents, community groups, private and public stakeholders, Aitken Place will be designed to offer amenities which engage the community, reflect the heritage of the site, and provide a safe and enjoyable opportunity to connect with nature within a dynamic urban setting,” the news release said.

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