Photo Credit: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc.
Initial Research by: Zoe Goldman
Edited by: Samantha Miller & Nicole Brekelmans
Case study compiled in 2019
Project: Corktown Common
Type of Urban Strategy: Ecological Infrastructure, Water
Type of Project: Urban Park
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Date Designed/Planned: 2006
Construction Completed: 2014
Designer: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc, Maryanne Thompson Architecture Inc.
Corktown Common is a 16-acre park built for Waterfront Toronto by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Maryann Thompson Architects. Corktown is bordering an expanding neighbourhood providing a variety of spaces and functions for the growing residential population. The multiple plantings and programs implemented throughout the park accentuate the visual juxtaposition between infrastructure and ecology. This juxtaposition is based on the urban context and the park’s multiple wildlife habitats such as a marsh, woodland, and prairie, with each space increasing plant and animal diversity.
The park is split up into two halves; the first is riverside that includes multiple plantings on the edge to protect the flood protection landform. This provides the park with flood protection from high water levels and protection from potential erosion. On the adjacent side of the park includes rolling hills with open lawns, a marsh, woodlands; each distinct from their specific plantings. This area provides space for multiple activities such as sledding, sports, and lounging, as well as elevations providing views of the city. The park has multiple play options for new families and their children, but also provides an abundance of space for the ecological functions, promoting sustainability and engagement in urban parks.