“For the Rees Street Park competition, wHY Architecture in New York and Brook McIlroy in Toronto created the winning scheme Rees Ridge. The project site presented a challenge, to put it mildly, as it is adjacent to and virtually overwhelmed by the elevated Gardiner Expressway. The firms’ design calls for a berm, which folds up to the level of the highway, acting as a barrier to the noise of the speeding cars. The folded, fractured landscape provides a variety of experiences, from a café plaza to a more natural area culminating in a hill with a waterfall that offers icicles in the cold of winter. Mark Thomann, a design director with wHY, says that he and his team embraced the location “as the front door of a post-card image of Toronto. Construction is slated to begin in 2020, with a budget of approximately $7.7 million.
Hurricane Hazel jumpstarted Toronto’s green space planning when it devastated the area in 1954. The city’s subsequent acquisition of flood lands spurred its efforts to protect against future natural disasters, improve recreational availabilities, and protect the natural environment. By the end of the millennium, green space had jumped from 166 acres in 1953 to 19,768 acres in 2000. The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Initiative is now one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in North America, addressing over 2000 acres of land. The York Street Park and Rees Street Park represent a small part (2.3 and 2 acres respectively) of this enormous ongoing project.”