Weiss/Manfredi weaves new ecologies, communities, and public spaces around the renaturalised Lower Don River
Wandering Ecologies establishes a new identity for a formerly industrial region of Toronto, where recreational, living, and cultural activities are free to wander and overlap, creating a new model for sustainable waterfront expansion on the eastern edge of the city. Urban life and nature are reciprocal conditions that together can transform Toronto’s Lower Don Lands into a new cultural and ecological paradigm. City and water, infrastructure and ecology, destination and retreat: the essence and potential of Toronto’s Lower Don Lands resides in celebrating these multiple ecologies.
Organised around the newly designed meandering Lower Don River, the park creates settings for recreation and civic life. The naturalised river creates wetlands and habitats for avian and aquatic species and provides opportunities to engage the water through kayaking and fishing. Public spaces are linked along the southern bank of the Don River Meander and lead to a boardwalk and pier outlook that will become a focal point of the park, providing a vantage to view the Toronto skyline and functioning as a year-round setting for festivals and events. The Valley functions as both flood spillway for the Don River and also as a setting for organised recreational activities.
The design strategy proposes a network of routes and paths that accommodate public transit, parkways, local roads, bicycle trails and an extensive system of pedestrian paths. A new bi-level bridge provides access and views of the city and river along the public waterfront. The design will connect communities with a network of routes and paths and will become a catalyst for redevelopment of the Toronto’s formerly industrial center. The design strategy for the park and infrastructure will become an international model for innovative waterfront development.