CORKTOWN COMMON
Toronto, Ontario (2006–2014)
Corktown Common is a 16-acre park that provides a civic centerpiece for Toronto's fast-growing West Don Lands. Located on the banks of the Don River, the park sits atop a concurrently built 16-foot high flood protection landform that has allowed the West Don Lands to be developed.

MVVA's design combines robust new topography, a rich planting palette, and a variety of program to create a vibrant urban park that celebrates the integration of infrastructure, ecology and recreation in the city. Formerly a flat and barren brownfield with no existing horticultural resources, the re-constructed site ecologies are now growing into a living natural system. Different soil types and depths were designed to support marsh, edge woodlands, and prairie, the range of which provides for experiential variety and wildlife habitat. The plantings are a mix of common and specialist plant species. Native wildflowers known to self-seed now grow throughout the park in areas increasingly of their own choosing, and support an array of butterflies and other pollinators through the seasons.

The park creates spectacular views from the newly created elevations. An expansive urban prairie on the river side of the berm is crossed by walking and cycling trails. In the uplands, lawns, marshes, and woodlands provide an ecological frame for a range of uses such as walking, sledding, sports, sunbathing, and public art. All-season comfort can be found in a multifunctional park pavilion designed by Maryann Thompson Architects. Corktown Common play areas include embankment slides, swings, sand play and interactive water elements. A comprehensive sustainable approach to site systems includes the collection of stormwater and water-play wastewater for treatment in a constructed marsh and then conveyance to storage for reuse in park irrigation, thus conserving approximately 550,000 liters of water per day in the peak season.


Links:
A Gorgeous Park Designed With a Double Purpose: Flood Protection
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