Toronto Community Housing (TCHC)
City of Toronto
2017 Toronto Urban Design Award, Small Open Spaces
2013 CSLA Award of Excellence, Regional Merit
Photography Credit: Jeff McNeill, JRS, Jackie Beale
Joel Weeks Park has become the centrepiece of the regeneration of a neighbourhood and exemplifies excellence in design team collaboration, community consultation and the coming together of a community.
The park design plays homage to the history and geography of the area and the Don River, and provides critical open and flexible green space for the vibrant mixed-income Rivertowne community.
The new Joel Weeks Park, which expands on the former Joel Weeks Parkette, resulted from a unique planning framework that included a land exchange between the City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing as well as the permanent closure of a street right of way through the neighbourhood.
As such, this park development demonstrates the power and benefits of collaboration between divisions of Municipal Government, Developers and Landscape Architects. In addition, this park demonstrates the importance of the community engagement process in creating a meaningful community park and gathering space that improves the quality of life of neighbourhood residents and brings a sense of pride, ownership and spirit of place to the community.
River plantings and sinuous benches frame old and new park elements.
A central gathering space connects other park elements including community garden plots, a multi-function sport court, a bosque of birch trees and large grassy berms. A large children’s play area includes a play structure, swings, and natural play features. An urban ‘river’ element including a bridge wraps around a water play area with jets. Joel Weeks Park is a dynamic and active community open space that will grow and evolve with the neighbourhood.
“Though small (1 hectare), the facility has a powerful civilizing effect. The results are quiet but brilliant.” Christopher Hume, The Toronto Star, September 24th 2012