A lush urban oasis, the design for Love Park (currently York Street Park) creates a playful and immersive experience secluded from busy downtown life.
Designed by Claude Cormier Associés in collaboration with gh3*, 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 2-acre 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 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, with healthy existing mature trees retained and dozens of new trees being planted. 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. Dedicated park furniture surround the heart-shaped water-feature and can be moved to suit your ultimate comfort and vantage point.
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 off-leash 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 small gatherings to meet the needs of local residents, office workers, and waterfront visitors.
Construction of Love Park is currently expected to commence in early 2021 and slated for completion in 2022.
The final design of the park has been lovingly shaped through long-standing engagement with the public, including the York Street Park Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), York & Rees Street Parks Design Competition Public Feedback Report, Waterfront Toronto’s Design Review Panel (DRP), January 2020 Public Information Centre, and the City of Toronto’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).
Stakeholder Advisory Committee
In 2019, a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) was established for the design development phase of the 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. The final meeting of the SAC took place in January 2021 following completion of 100% design of the park.
Current: Construction Liaison Committee
In February 2021, Waterfront Toronto formed a Construction Liaison Committee (CLC) for York Street Park. The CLC is a structured forum for residents, businesses, and land owners in the vicinity of the project area to discuss and bring forward any issues (e.g. noise, traffic management, debris, debris disposal, etc.) that may arise related to the construction of York Street Park (Love Park).