Archive | December, 2013

Berczy concepts unveiled: Comment now!

10 Dec
Birds-eye view of Option 2.

Birds-eye view of Option 2.

The City hosted its second public meeting on Berczy Park revitalization on December 9th at the St. Lawrence Ctr for the Arts. Approximately 70 community members gathered to hear Landscape Architect Claude Cormier et Associes present two conceptual designs for the Park. See highlights of these concepts below.

What’s next? Since the City hopes to finalize the design during winter 2014, NOW is likely your last chance to influence design direction. Friends of Berczy Park (FOBP) urges you to view our design summary below, then visit the City project website to provide written comments ASAP. Note: The City site was briefly disabled but is again available to receive public comments.

On the City project site, be sure to complete the City ‘design option preference survey’, suggest improvements and answer three key questions:

the two concepts from above.

the two concepts from above.On the City project site, be sure to complete the City ‘design option preference survey’ to select your favourite  design, suggest improvements and answer three key questions:

  • Should existing mature trees that block the view of the popular two-storey Derek Bassant wall mural (on the back of the Flatiron Bldg) be removed for unobstructured mural viewing?
  • Should the Park include a designated on-leash dog area (included in both design concepts)?
  • Should the Park include a flexible green area to accommodate children’s activities?

Design highlights and FOBP comments:

There are two Berczy Park concepts: Option 1 “Classic” and Option 2 “Contemporary.” Both share many similar features, but with a couple of key differences.

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Common features:

  • Diagonal paths dissect the park from all corners, converging at the fountain.
  • The fountain is maintained but more than doubled in size to encourage children’s interaction such as boat sailing. The fountain gets more spray jets, a lower rim and possibly a dramatic centerpiece which could include a large public artwork or sculptures.
  • Low mound-like hills are placed around the park to add a nature element and hush city noise.
  • Seating would include movable seating (tables & chairs around the fountain) and long rows of wooden benches along the pathways.
  • Trees would include a double row of London Plane trees along Front St, a double row of Horsechestnut trees alongWellington, and Red Oak trees bordering Scott St.
  • Lighting would be added through the park, using the Old Town Toronto style post or gaslight posts.
  • Artwork: The Derek Bassant mural on the Flatiron Bldg would be maintained (although current mature trees might be felled to improve the view of the mural – Have your say!) and the small Berczy family sculpture in the western park would be relocated to increase its prominence. A new public artwork would be added, to encourage public interaction/ children’s play. The art could be part of the fountain or appear elsewhere to serve as a children’s play area focus.
  • An open flat activity area/dog area is added behind the Flatiron Bldg to be used as an ‘on-leash’ dog area, where pet owners can interact and ideally divert some of the current dog traffic away from other areas of the park.

Key differences:

  • Option 1: Classic: Designer Claude Cormier describes this concept as more of a ‘introverted living room’ which is a bit more sheltered from the surrounding city.
  • Option 2: Contemporary: Cormier explained this concept as more of an ‘angular room that is open to Front St.’ and views of surrounding historical bldgs and adjacent theatres. This concept includes a large paved triangular plaza that surrounds the fountain and extends to Front St with occasional trees. To increase the green quotient to this option, the design includes a large second ‘activity area’ in the western park, bordering Scott Street which features a large grassy area with three hills creating a small valley for family activity or relaxation.

Initial FOBP comments (more to come):

  • FOBP credits the City and designers for thoughtfully capturing many identified user needs.
  • Option 2 may require some more greenery, particularly to soften the large central plaza.
  • The Option 2 western activity area would encourage family/children’s play but it lacks a specific feature, play item or attraction to engage children. The area also requires greater safety separation, like continuous benches to surround the zone or hedges, to protect children from the streets. Option 1 currently lacks any specific play or activity area for families/children.
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