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york street park

A lush urban oasis, the design for York Street Park creates a playful and immersive experience secluded from busy downtown life.

Designed by Claude Cormier Associés in collaboration with gh3*, the winning proposal entitled Love Park invites visitors to rekindle their relationship with the stillness and enduring beauty of nature. Located at the southern foot of York Street and Queens Quay, this 8,000 square metre (2 acres) park responds to the need for flexible public space in the southern Financial District and Harbourfront neighbourhood.

The park site is the antidote to its former use as the York-Bay-Yonge eastbound off-ramp of the F.G. Gardiner Expressway, which was removed and reclaimed for public use in 2016-17. This new park will be a deliberate departure from the hard surfaces dominating downtown Toronto, increasing the tree canopy by 68 new tree plantings and retaining 8 existing mature trees. Tree-lined sidewalks outline the entire perimeter and internal pathways of the park site, marking the transition into a calm urban refuge. Rolling elevated grassy mounds provide further buffer from the adjacent roadways and offer space to relax and enjoy the park at different vantage points.

Love Park delivers on romance. The pulse of the park is its central heart-shaped water feature—a universal symbol for love—softly illuminated by a pink glowing heart that appears as if it’s floating above. A mature Northern Catalpa tree punctuates this water feature as it sits on its own dedicated island surrounded by bright pink heart-shaped flowers. Adjacent office towers will have a unique aerial view of the park’s heart shaped pond (aligned to true north), Catalpa island, lush greenery, and suspended glowing heart. Tiered “wedding cake” seating platforms surround the heart-shaped water-feature and can be used for a variety of purposes including seating, performing, picture taking or—just maybe—a proposal.

The park has been designed with short and long-term flexibility in mind, to grow and change with the needs of users over time while keeping its design concept at the heart. Park paths have been sized intentionally to provide space for pop-up markets and event staging. A dog relief area will be located at the north east portion of the park to send love to our furry city-dwelling friends. When complete, a myriad of open-ended activities could be accommodated within the park including passive activities like dog walking, people-watching, and outdoor picnics, as well as organized events to meet the needs of local residents, office workers, and waterfront visitors.




Construction of Love Park is currently expected to commence in Spring 2020. The park’s CAD$7 million design budget is made possible through our funding partners, City of Toronto.

Love Park is currently in the design development process, where the design team is working to develop a consensus design. A consensus design is created by incorporating feedback from the public. In this instance, this comes from the York & Rees Street Park Competition Jury, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, and public consultations.

In early spring 2019, the project will be further reviewed by Waterfront Toronto’s Design Review Panel, whose expert feedback will be provided on the design. The design team will then incorporate all feedback-to-date to create the park's schematic design. 


Consultation and public engagement

In 2019, public involvement continues throughout the design and construction process through the creation of a new Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) and Construction Liaison Committee (CLC) for Love Park. The SAC, comprised of community representatives, provides a forum for feedback, guidance, and advice to the Project Team (Waterfront Toronto, the City of Toronto, the project designers and consultants) at key points during the public consultation and design development process. Like the SAC, the CLC is comprised of key community representatives to provide feedback on construction related matters to the project team once construction on the project is underway.

The first meeting of the York Street Park SAC took place on March 7, 2019. New members are welcome on the SAC even if you did not attend the first meeting—the date of the second meeting is still being determined. Please email us at info@waterfrontoronto.ca if you are interested in participating.

Additional public consultation will be scheduled in 2019 for Love Park—check our calendar for updates as they become available.

related news

project status

Approved Budget:

quick facts

Location: North east corner of York Street and Queens Quay West.

Size: 8,000 square metre (2 acres)

Design team: Claude Cormier + Associés in collaboration with gh3*

Project status: Active - Design Development

Ownership and operations: Site owned by City of Toronto and operated by Parks, Forestry, and Recreation on completion.


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