York Quay Neighbourhood Association covers Toronto’s iconic Central Waterfront, with members in every building. YQNA is actively engaged in what shapes our neighbourhood – traffic, transit, planning, cultural and social events, policing, environment, noise, businesses, and the great urban renewal transforming Queens Quay. YQNA welcomes all residents to participate, share their ideas and enjoy our events.
YQNA has followed the fate of trees that were planted on Queens Quay by Waterfront Toronto (WT) three years ago. Of the 227 young trees, most had died or failed to thrive due to harsh weather conditions, vandalism, salt, fungus, watering problems, or they were simply the wrong type of tree for the challenging weather conditions on the Waterfront.
Residents had been worried about this decline for a long time. Wayne Christian and Carolyn Johnson of YQNA were among them, so they conducted a visual survey of dead, missing, sick and healthy trees, which was sent to WT along with our request to replace the trees. It was no simple matter to analyze this tree situation—which species can thrive, how to protect the trees etc.—but Netami Stuart of WT spoke at our Fall meeting about the large undertaking of replacing 154 trees with new species. That happened in late October, 2018. WT will issue a brochure about taking care of our new trees, and YQNA will help distribute the knowledge to businesses and condo boards. We hope a great tree canopy will define Queens Quay in the future.
After Waterfront Toronto heard what people want in two new parks on Queens Quay, they held an international design competition for York Park and Rees Park. Five winning teams were selected for each, now on display in great detail at yorkreesparkdesign.ca, and also exhibited in the Rotunda at City Hall. Everybody is invited to comment in a survey and pick their favourite designs. Deadline for participating is July 17. The designers were asked to name their park projects, but the official naming is expected after construction starts in 2019.
The two parks are very different in nature. The two-acre York Park will be a green retreat with a water feature, tall trees, art, seating areas, an event space, and possible repurposing of the contentious concrete pillars (bents) that held up the former traffic ramp. Here is an image of “Gardiner Green” from PLANT Architects in Toronto and Mandaworks from Stockholm.
The site for Rees Park is 2.3 acres and currently a parking lot. A vibrant park with year-around activities will fill this gap in Queens Quay by including a pavillion, market activities, an open lawn, art and space for dogs. Snohetta from Norway designed “The Nest” for the competition. They also included a unique integration with Lake Shore Boulevard by providing a bike path under the Gardiner Expressway.