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Don River Park sets a park-building precedent

Don River Park, the 7.3 hectre park in the heart of the West Don Lands that will be largely completed this month, is remarkable chiefly for its incorporation of what’s known as a flood protection landmass into its landscape.

It’s the latest example of a city that’s long been in the habit of blending infrastructure and design.

Like the old Hydro houses and the R.C. Harris water treatment plant, Infrastructure Ontario’s armoured mound near the mouth of the Don at River Street, meant to protect the downtown core from the sort of flooding that might result from a century hurricane, is one of the centrepieces of this new park, working water necessities into itself, much like Sherbourne Commons turned its water purification plant into a water feature.

"I think this is a good precedent for how we can design our spaces," says James Roach, Waterfront Toronto’s director of parks, design and construction.

The park has been in development since September 2010. When completed, it will run along the Don River while simultaneously providing "spectacular views of downtown and Lake Ontario," according to the park's website. It will include areas for lacrosse, soccer, bird watching, picnics, concerts, tobogganing, as well as meadows and hiking trails. 

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: James Roach

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