Redesign Unveiled for David Crombie Park in Toronto

The City of Toronto selected SLA and Arcadis to create a new vision for the revitalization of David Crombie Park.

Image courtesy of SLA

The design for the historic David Crombie Park in downtown Toronto, by Denmark-based SLA and Arcadis, has been unveiled after extensive public consultation.

For 40 years, David Crombie Park has been a significant landmark for the city’s historic St. Lawrence Market neighborhood. The park spans almost two hectares across seven blocks, making the revitalization one of the largest open space projects in the downtown City of Toronto over the last decade.

Following on public consultation completed during the planning stage of the project, SLA and Arcadis responded with a design that integrates Indigenous placekeeping as well as enhances the historic and culturally significant green space in the heart of Old Toronto.

“Taking cues from the original masterplan of the park, we opted for a quite humble and considerate approach. By studying the park’s history, usage, values, and importance to the local community, we proposed a three-stringed design strategy: To preserverevitalize, and unite,” said Rasmus Astrup, senior partner and design principal at SLA and the project’s design lead.

SLA’s and Arcadis’ design preserves the park’s character by maintaining as much of the existing structures and materials as possible, including keeping concrete walls, healthy trees, and sports courts.

Image courtesy of SLA
Image courtesy of SLA

A core component of the intent to revitalize the park was the decision to minimize the park’s embodied carbon by keeping existing elements that created a sense of place and community. This approach was met by adding new elements such as wooden seats, benches and platforms to the existing structures and by adding natural planting and landscape zones.

“The use of Dynamic Carbon Modelling to quantify embodied carbon for the proposed development scheme of the iconic David Crombie Park is an essential component of the project’s design, ensuring we offset the project’s carbon footprint through carbon sequestration,” said Neno Kovacevic, principal of Placemaking and Landscape Architecture at Arcadis. “Ultimately, the project aims to reach carbon neutrality 15 years after its completion and climate positivity every year after.”

Image courtesy of SLA
The existing structures are preserved and revitalized, maintaining and strengthening the park’s identity while making the park climate positive in 15 years.
Image courtesy of SLA

SLA’s and Arcadis’ design also aims to unite the community by strengthening the park’s main promenade.

Additionally, the park’s design integrates Indigenous placemaking elements with designs by Indigenous-owned Taw Architects, including a safe, designated space for Indigenous community members to have a sacred fire, Seven Sacred Teachings boulders in the children’s playground, and opportunities to learn the Anishinaabe language.

Image courtesy of SLA
Image courtesy of SLA

“With our design for the David Crombie Park Revitalization Project, we have aimed for a loving renovation of a very beloved park. Being from Copenhagen, I cannot wait to bike along the renovated park in the soundscape of birds singing and people socializing in City Nature,” said Astrup.

Image courtesy of SLA

SLA’s and Arcadis’ design for David Crombie Park has been approved by the City of Toronto. Construction for the park and cycle track is slated to begin in Spring 2025 and be completed in 2026.

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