ACO Receives Park People’s PSI Grant to Revitalize The Oculus

Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) and Giaimo Architects are among the five recipients reimagining public spaces in Toronto through Park People’s Public Space Incubator (PSI) program. The team will embark on a new community-initiative to revitalize The Oculus, an under-used pavilion in Etobicoke.

Photo credit: Architectural Conservancy of Ontario

Funded by the Balsalm Foundation and Ken and Eti Greenberg, the PSI program encourages and supports the next generation of creative public space projects by providing access to funding and professional networks.

“The Oculus is a bold and eccentric piece of modernist architecture, but over time it has deteriorated and is now underutilized as a park pavilion,” says project co-lead Stephanie Mah, VP of ACO Toronto. “The PSI grant provides us the opportunity to give new life to this abandoned space-age structure and showcase how architectural heritage conservation and community partnerships can create engaging public spaces.”

The Oculus is a space-age park shelter designed in 1958 by Alan Crossley, in a meadow along the Humber River Recreational Trail in South Humber Park.

This revitalization project aims to transform the space into a community gathering place by restoring and cleaning the existing pavilion, and implementing flexible and contextual outdoor furniture.

The project will include walking tours, design workshops, and an installation to provide the community with ongoing occasions to visit the site, explore the space, and learn about Toronto’s built heritage.

Co-led by ACO Toronto, ACO NextGen, and Giaimo Architects, The Oculus project combines design solutions with community collaboration to conserve heritage and create a vibrant public place.