To: Mike Layton, Graig Uens, Jonah Letovsky (Westbank)
From: Mirvish Village Task Group
Re: Design for Mirvish Village Park
Date: June 26, 2018.
In anticipation of the public meeting on July 9, members of the Mirvish Village Task Group met to discuss our vision for the Mirvish Village Park. We offer these comments to the park designers and city planners as part of the public input. We are very grateful to have this dedicated park space in the Mirvish Village. It is a wonderful opportunity for creating something special on the site. We also recognize that the space presents many design challenges.
We have come to the view that the space can best be conceived as a small, green sanctuary from the busyness of the Mirvish Village market and retail, from the comings and goings within the site, and from the activity of Bloor St in general. Given this busyness and activity, we expect the site will be enjoyed and valued by many different people, at most times of the day and evening, and by all ages.
We researched online and found one New York Park of about the same dimension that had many attributes we found delightful. Greenacres is a similar size to the main space of the Mirvish site park, with dimensions of 120 x 60 feet approximately. It has some of the sanctuary feel that we think the site could profit from. An oasis, it could be a place for people to sit and eat the food or drink from the market, or the cafes that could flank the space. Paley Park, again in New York, is another ‘pocket park’ with attractive elements that could be learned from. We note that both these parks have waterfalls, and we highly recommend trying to incorporate something similar into our project. (For more information and photographs of these two parks see: https://greenacrepark.org/ and https://www.pps.org/places/paley-park
The site could be conceived as two main rooms: Markham to the lane, 100 x 60 framed by buildings north and south; the second, a child friendly area 40 x 50 running south along Palmerston Lane.
Elements that would be desirable could include:
1. Paved permeable surface (granite sets?) with plantings and large trees—little leaf lindens, perhaps a copse of trees including a specimen tree—a beech or copper beech.
This promotes the contemplative feeling, sheltered from the sun. Dappled shade.
2. Water fall along the south wall, creates visual interest in winter and dampens street sounds in summer, again promoting sanctuary.
3. Seating areas, well designed tables and chairs. Not rustic.Tailored, distinctive and comfortable.
4. Stone seating around trees, if desirable. Near the water fall.
5. West wall along Palmerston Lane – a decorative, designed, metal screening with plantings. Perhaps poplars along the screening? Several points of entry and exit in the screen.
6. No provision for amplified sound or concerts. This is a lovely sanctuary where folks will want to sit, talk or just be quiet.
7. North wall framed by cafes.
We expect that the outdoor area of the daycare will be available for public use by younger children when the daycare is not in operation. Therefore we would not wish to have typical playground equipment as part of the park; however, we would welcome provision of a child friendly installation in the south ‘room’ laneway spur – a unique architectural feature that invitesexploration and play. The materials could emphasize wood to connect with the surrounding trees, and the structure could have an improvisational character. The area would need woodchipsfor safety. Perhaps include large stones to sit or crawl on.
The park area would be easy to keep clean. Maintenance would be reasonable.
There are other issues to consider such as the relation to the streetscape of Markham and an inviting access through Palmerston Lane so that there are no dead or unsafe spaces.
We hope these suggestions are helpful, and we look forward to the future discussions on the design of this important park in the Mirvish Village site.
Paul MacLean (on behalf of the Mirvish Village Task Group)