Shortlisted teams announced for Toronto’s York and Rees park competition

Ten outstanding design teams have been shortlisted to participate in a six-week international design competition for York Street Park and Rees Street Park. Five teams have been assigned to each park and will respond to a Request for Proposals that calls for creative designs that serve the diverse needs of local residents, office workers and visitors, and contributes to a vibrant waterfront park system.

Waterfront Toronto, York, Rees
A drawing of the new park locations. Image via Waterfront Toronto.

“Toronto’s waterfront parks are a vital part of our green space infrastructure,” said Mayor John Tory. “I look forward to seeing the creative and cutting-edge vision these teams will bring to the competition.”

More than 40 design teams from 18 cities world-wide submitted proposals during the pre-qualification stage of the competition, which launched in partnership with the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation in February 2018.

The five shortlisted teams (in alphabetical order) for each park are:

York Street Park

Rees Street Park 

“We are thrilled with the level of interest from international design teams and are very impressed by the quality of their submissions,” said Will Fleissig, President & CEO of Waterfront Toronto. “These two parks offer a unique opportunity for these talented and creative teams to contribute to a comprehensive waterfront park system and we look forward to seeing their innovative proposals.”

York Street Park and Rees Street Park will be the two newest additions to Toronto’s growing collection of beautiful and sustainable public spaces along the city’s main waterfront boulevard, Queens Quay. The shortlisted teams will produce conceptual designs for the parks based on a design brief that outlines the site conditions and a set of required design elements that will ensure each park meets the neighbourhood’s unique needs.

York, Rees, park, Waterfront Toronto
The two new park locations in their urban context. Image via Waterfront Toronto.

The designs for York Street Park must strike a balance between the needs of local residents, a growing daytime population of office workers, and the bustling crowds who frequent the waterfront for recreational activities. The park must offer a peaceful respite from the busy downtown core and provide opportunities for socializing.

The designs for Rees Street Park should stitch together a series of disconnected spaces on the north side of Queens Quay using a combination of fun recreational uses for kids and adults to relax, meet and play. The park should support spontaneous and unprogrammed year-round activities and focus on community-building, play, innovation, and activity.

Both parks will also respond to seven high-level aspirations that were identified for York Street Park and Rees Street Park during the Request for Qualifications stage of the competition. These high-level aspirations include integrating public art, setting new standards for sustainability, and inclusive design.

At the end of the intensive six-week design competition, all ten shortlisted tams will have their final design proposals put on public exhibition at Toronto City Hall and online for a two-week public comment period. This will give Torontonians the opportunity to review the designs and provide feedback to the competition jury, who will recommend a preferred design for each park later this year.

This release was originally published by Waterfront Toronto.