Reimagining an Ontario icon
Reimagining an Ontario icon
An ongoing community collaboration
University Avenue represents the diversity and vitality of our country and province. It’s where Canadians of all different backgrounds come together as one to champion our most passionate causes, seek comfort when we mourn our losses, and celebrate our biggest wins. This is where we learn amongst our nation’s leading academic institutions, care for loved ones inside the walls of cutting-edge hospitals, and expand our minds with Canada’s foremost cultural institutions.
A place this significant deserves an experience as extraordinary as the people and organizations that call it home. That’s why we are reimagining this great street as University Park, a destination designed to reflect our collective strengths and values while serving our ever-evolving needs.
Our vision brings together patches of public green space that are currently disconnected and inaccessible in order to create a signature destination in the centre of our province’s capital. By making minor adjustments to the existing roadway on University Avenue and converting only 9.5 acres of city-owned asphalt into native landscape, pedestrian walkways, bike paths, and cultural installations, we can create a 90-acre park that spans from Queen’s Park all the way to the waterfront.
The Past. University Avenue Gates, looking north from Queen Street and University in 1867
The Present. University Avenue roadway and median, looking south on Queen Street and University today
The Future. University Park Vision, looking north from Queen Street and University
Bloor St. College St.
Home to the University of Toronto and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, this is the heart of civic activity in our province. However, buildings rich in history and architectural details are surrounded by disjointed parkland and busy, impassable roadways that discourage public use. University Park will:
Join Queen’s Park with the green space that surrounds the University of Toronto by rerouting traffic on Queen’s Park West.
Restore Taddle Creek, a legacy performative landscape that will facilitate flood prevention and promote biodiversity, on the western side of Queen’s Park.
Introduce a destination-worthy, multi-use trail that traverses the interior of Queen’s Park.
Enable pedestrians and bicyclists to travel more safely in and out of the park entrances.
College St. Armoury St.
Today, the hospitals and healthcare facilities on University Avenue are afforded few areas nearby where patients, loved ones, and essential workers can enjoy some respite outdoors. University Park reimagines the current urban landscape with a green refuge designed to inspire well-being. The park will:
Permanently consolidate University Avenue to four lanes located on the western side of the roadway.
Fill the space between the existing median and eastern laneways with bike lanes, pedestrian walkways, and native vegetation.
Create open and accessible green spaces where hospital visitors, patients, and employees can gather outside.
Work alongside hospitals and healthcare organizations to improve pick-up and drop-off.
Armoury St. Front St.
Further down University, the distinctive Osgoode Hall leads to Toronto’s Opera House, home to the Canadian Opera Company. Stately in appearance yet obscured from public life, the outdoor areas surrounding these two cultural institutions present an untapped opportunity to create significant new public gathering spaces that enjoy some of the best vantage points of the Toronto skyline. University Park will:
Expand upon the park that currently surrounds Osgoode Hall, providing more open access to the public.
Create a first-class outdoor plaza that celebrates the Canadian Opera Company and offers an improved visitor experience.
Highlight monuments along the existing median with landscapes that contextualize their history and significance.
Invite people to explore outdoor areas and streets that branch off of University via new pedestrian walkways and installations.
Front St. Queens Quay
University Park will provide an uninterrupted path that leads all the way to Toronto’s waterfront. Locals, visitors, and commuters alike can easily travel this iconic stretch of the city entirely on foot or bike. As an essential thoroughfare for commerce, health, and government, the park is designed to highlight the best that our capital has to offer.
Who we are
The team behind University Park includes landscape architects, city builders, non-profit organizations, and engaged civilians. We share an ambition for advancing bold projects that positively impact both our environment and quality of life. Several core principles continue to guide our vision for University Park.
A destination as dynamic as the people it serves. Across its 90 acres, University Park celebrates our community’s diverse backgrounds, cultures, and strengths with inclusive gathering spaces that are designed to serve our different needs. As the central hub for healthcare, business, culture, and civic activity in North America’s most multicultural city, the park invites people to come together for both monumental and everyday moments.
Form meets function in a performative landscape. Preserving and improving our natural world is central to the mission of University Park. Landscape design is as functional as it is beautiful, with improved flood control measures and mechanisms for reducing carbon emissions. Expanded bike lanes, pedestrian paths, and an abundance of native vegetation promote a shared commitment to enhancing and honouring the environment in which we live, work, and play.
Invigorating body and mind in our healthcare capital. Home to Ontario’s premier hospitals and healthcare facilities, University Park is purposefully built to amplify visitors’ and residents’ physical and mental wellness. Open recreational green spaces and scenic bike routes encourage healthy lifestyles while immersive, indigenous landscapes provide restorative experiences that pay homage to our collective heritage and stories.
Reviving the splendour of an iconic destination. An epicentre for Canadian innovation, entrepreneurship, and social progress, University Avenue deserves an atmosphere that reflects the vibrant energy of our province. The park is designed to draw visitors from near and far to a world-class landmark where local commerce and cultural experiences are embedded within a sweeping stretch of outdoor recreation.
Rebirth of the promenade: A proposal for ‘Canada’s street’ shows what is possible in a post-pandemic world.Read the article
Toronto might turn one side of University Park avenue into a massive linear parkRead the article