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.

6 Responses to “Berczy concepts unveiled: Comment now!”

  1. Joy Wolfson December 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    I visualize Berczy Park as a place that I can go to relax in a pleasant well cared for outdoor environment. So, I would like to see as much grass as possible, while at the same time as many cement pathways as are required to encourage easy access to the park (for seniors and others with mobility issues). I do love to look at the beautiful old buildings on the south side of Front Street, and the north side of Wellington, but, never the less, I would like to have as many trees as needed to enhance the beauty of the park, provide a sound barrier to the traffic on both streets, and some shade in the summer.

    I love the idea of lots of comfortable seating (wooden benches) for rest and perhaps reading, tables and chairs for eating or playing games, sculptures, flower gardens, and areas that would be family friendly.

    I am very much against having children’s playground equipment in this park. It is a reasonably small park and we have to in our enthusiasm, be careful not to crowd too much into it The same with the fountain. Our fountain is beautiful and could be a wonderful “centrepiece” for the park. It certainly needs “fixing” a bit, but I think a larger fountain could be out of proportion to the size of the park.

    I see no need for a designated on leash dog area. as long as all dog visitors to the park are leashed at all times. For one thing, as demonstrated by one speaker at the December 9th meeting, dog owners can be sensitive and don’t want their dogs to be segregated. And secondly, I don’t think we should be controlling people’s activities in a park, as long as nobody is being obtrusive.

    I think the park lighting should match the lighting on the street surrounding it. I think we should have enough garbage cans to keep the park clean and beautiful.

    I really hate to see healthy trees destroyed. In my opinion, the present trees do not block the two story mural nearly enough to warrant removing them.

    So, all that said, if I have to vote for Option 1 or Option 2, then I vote for Option 1.

    Thank you for your consideration of this letter.


    Joy Wolfson

    Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 11:44:16 +0000 To:

  2. December 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    I’m a daily park user (3 times a day – walking dogs and taking my children)
    – I very much dislike the current hills which make the park largely unusable.
    – please remove the hills
    – I like the idea of a perimeter of wooden benches or shrubs for child safety
    – I want more grass and less concrete
    – I would like more tables like the one’s put there in the summer
    – more measures to keep out the homeless from sleeping and pooping in the park daily are desperately needed
    – I have TWO dogs and DO NOT want a dog segregated area. The park is already small enough
    – I would love to have a child climbing apparatus of some kind. I disagree with Joy above in his/her assessment htat the park is too small for it. I would much prefer a child climbing structure than a larger fountain.
    – Did I mention, please remove the hills. They waste precious space as children cannot play on the the slopes and they are extremely hazardous in winter as (like today) they freeze over with ice
    …Dale Dietrich (25 The Esplanade)

  3. Dale Dietrich December 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    And,of course, this article on the need for a play structure is spot on:

  4. Dale Dietrich December 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Who is moderating this and why did you delete my post? Aren’t the comments of Berczy Park neighbors wanted here?

    • Friends of Berczy Park Working Group December 31, 2013 at 1:16 am #

      Hi Dale, moderator is away on holiday, but glad to post your comments, thanks, Shaun.

      • Dale Dietrich December 31, 2013 at 10:11 am #

        Thanks Saun. You (or the moderator) can delete the request for the moderator’s info. I didn’t understand why my first comment disappeared but the other two (including the request to know who you were) didn’t delete. But its all back and good now. Thanks.

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