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There’s a brand-new park on Toronto’s waterfront

Oct 21, 2019

A view south across the newly completed Aitken Place Park towards the Water’s Edge Promenade.A view looking south across the newly completed Aitken Place Park towards the Water’s Edge Promenade.

By: Meghan Hogan

For those of you heading down to the water’s edge in search of spectacular lake views and beautiful foliage this autumn, there’s a stunning new waterfront park that you won’t want to miss.

Aitken Place Park, located in the heart of the emerging Bayside community, officially opened to the public earlier this month. Named after Alexander Aitken, a surveyor who prepared a plan for the Town of York in 1793, Aitken Place Park is a multi-purpose park connecting the area with the broader East Bayfront neighbourhood – a growing live, work, play and learn destination. 

Visitors can experience Aitken Place Park in a number of ways, including a central grassy knoll perfect for picnic’s, sunbathing and snow sledding; an overlook at the top of the slope with excellent views of the water; and, an urban porch with swivel chairs ideal for small gatherings. There’s also a children’s play area on the park’s western edge offering a fun and interactive space for young families to enjoy, while a fully enclosed dog relief area at the park’s north end helps meet the area’s growing need to accommodate four-legged friends.

Low energy lighting, drought-tolerant native trees, and locally sourced materials make Aitken Place Park as sustainable as it is beautiful, and more than 40 new trees will flourish over time to create a lush oasis where visitors can connect with nature in a dynamic urban setting. 

A view looking west across the recently opened Phase 2 Water’s Edge Promenade in East Bayfront.Looking west across the recently opened Phase 2 Water’s Edge Promenade in East Bayfront.

Designed by Forrec Ltd. with SWA/Balsley Associates, Aitken Place Park was designed to echo the Water’s Edge Promenade – one of the waterfront’s most cherished public spaces (that also opened an extended section earlier this month!). With its intimate and relaxed vibe, visitors and area residents will find Aitken Place Park offers a complementary experience to Sherbourne Common and Canada’s Sugar Beach, the other parks located in East Bayfront. 

Later this fall, a permanent public artwork called LIGHT KEEPER will find its home at the south-west corner of the park. Designed by the Calgary-based artist team of Caitlind Brown, Wayne Garrett and Studio North, LIGHT KEEPER will use light as a sculptural material, projecting waves of rainbow light and a moon clock that responds to shifting winds and phases of the moon onto its surroundings. LIGHT KEEPER joins a growing collection of public art designed to deliver a cohesive and unique identity for the area that was set out in the East Bayfront Public Art Master Plan.

Artist rendering of the future public art installation LIGHT KEEPER in Aitken Place Park.Artist rendering of the future public art installation LIGHT KEEPER in Aitken Place Park.

The opening of Aitken Place Park represents another exciting component of the award-winning East Bayfront Precinct Plan coming to life. Adopted in 2005, the plan is helping us transform this former underused industrial area into a beautiful, sustainable and inclusive mixed-use community. When complete, East Bayfront will include new homes for all family sizes, affordable housing, employment spaces, restaurants, higher education facilities, retail shops and community services, all surrounded by a network of parks and public spaces like Aitken Place Park.

 

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post contributor

  • Meghan Hogan

    Meghan Hogan is a communications and public engagement manager at Waterfront Toronto.