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Finalizing the redesign of Riverdale Park East playground

Although the green space around the Don Valley can seem unlimited, the space landscape architects DTAH has had to work with was pretty tight.
The plan for the revitalization of Riverdale Park East’s north-east quadrant off Broadview, just south of the Danforth, called for an artificial ice rink, a playground that would provide physical activity for kids aged nine to 12 and a pleasure skating trail, all squeezed into a space bordered by the outdoor Riverdale Pool, an off-leash dog park and a steep slope.
Rather than dropping some of the proposed programming, DTAH came up with an elevated spine with the rink as a hub for activities. The elevation itself would provide some of the challenge for the kids would be going to the park for—hiking uphill for a long slide down. Raising the elevation of the playground also makes it more visible.
“One of the challenges was the piecemeal objects in the site,” says Bryce Miranda, a principal at DTAH. “The landscape spine will unify many of the elements.” Following a public survey this month, DTAH is coming up with a detailed design that can be put out for tender for construction this fall, hopefully with a summer 2016 completion.
Providing better accessibility was also a priority. Right now access is down steep stairs at Broadview and Montcrest Boulevard. Improving the roadway to the pool was one possibility. Instead, they decided to create a new entrance opposite Tennis Crescent, which is also at a TTC stop. Miranda says the additional entrance will improve the feeling of safety. “The more entrances to the park, the better.”
The fence around the pool is non-negotiable, but a buffer of trees along its west side, facing the new playground spine, should make it less forboding.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Bryce Miranda
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