Welland Canal Park

Welland, Ontario

Photo Credit: Janet Rosenberg Studio

CASE STUDY

Initial Research by: Carl Valdez

Edited by: Samantha Miller & Nicole Brekelmans

Case study compiled in 2019

 

 

Project: Welland Canal Park 

Type of Urban StrategyWater 

Type of ProjectUrban Park Recreational Waterway / Cycle Paths

LocationWelland, Ontario 

Date Designed/Planned: 2003

Construction Completed:  2005

Designer: Janet Rosenberg & Studio and CS&P Architects

 

The Welland Canal Park and Civic Square demonstrate how architecture can promote social equity, reduce isolation, or embody social justice. This is achieved through the design of a broader recreation network running along the scenic and historic canal. The design aims to strengthen connections to the canal with bridges, gardens, and viewing platforms. 

 

“Welland’s Civic Square and Library were designed to rejuvenate the downtown core. Our vision for the surrounding parkland focused on re-connecting residents with the edge of the historic Welland Canal. A series of galvanized ramps and viewing platforms hover over the former walls of the canal, recalling the industrial history of the site. A planting palette of long grasses and roses creates a structured, park-like atmosphere. Walkways connect the square to the heart of the city, attracting visitors and reasserting the place of the canal in residents’ daily lives.” 

(Janet Rosenberg & Studio, 2012)

 

CONTEXT


The project is located in Welland, Ontario, a town in Southern Ontario and has been referred to as "the town where rails and water meet" referring to the railways that connect upstate New York and Toronto, and to the Welland Canal which connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario (Janet Rosenberg & Studio, 2012).




SITE ANALYSIS


The site is adjacent to the Welland Recreational Waterway which is a water channel in the city of Welland. This waterway used to be an alignment of the Welland Ship Canal that has been abandoned after the construction of the Welland By-Pass in the 1970s. Today, pedestrian and bicycle pathways line both banks of the waterway. The pathways are important components of Welland's pedestrian and bicycle transportation network, providing a safe and pleasant environment in which to move about the central part of the city (Janet Rosenberg & Studio, 2012).




PROJECT BACKGROUND AND HISTORY


The project became part of the city's revitalization plan in the early 2000s. The idea is to use the waterfront as a catalyst for urban renewal through the enhancement of existing connections and networks along the water. Janet Rosenberg & Studio was commissioned to design a new civic square and park that would strengthen connections to the adjacent canal and reorganize the public space to encourage more pedestrian activity in the city core. The studio developed a civic plaza in front of the new city hall building with fluid connections to a flexible green open space along the canal (Janet Rosenberg & Studio, 2012).




GOAL OF THE PROJECT


Welland’s Canal Park, Civic Square and Library were designed to rejuvenate the city's downtown core. The vision for the surrounding parkland focused on re-connecting residents with the edge of the historic Welland Canal (Janet Rosenberg & Studio, 2012).




DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, AND DECISION MAKING PROCESS


The plaza, created on a limited budget, features a tranquil water feature that transforms into an outdoor ice rink during the winter. The space functions as a community gathering area in the heart of the downtown core and is used for markets and city events. In order to strengthen connections to the canal, the Studio developed a series of gardens, ramps, bridges, and viewing platforms in the form of galvanized walkways that hover over the former historic walls of the canal (Landezine, n.d.).




CITATIONS


Welland Canal Park & Civic Square | Janet Rosenberg and Studio. (2012). Retrieved from https://jrstudio.ca/content/welland-canal-park-civic-square

Welland Canal Park & Civic Square. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.landezine.com/index.php/2015/04/welland-canal-park-civic-square-by-janet-rosenberg-studio/




PROGRAMMED ELEMENTS


Located right in the heart of the city, Welland’s Civic Square embodies the essence of the city through the showcase of art, new and old architecture, beautiful street fronts that are all within the distance of the canal.

A series of galvanized ramps and viewing platforms hover over the former walls of the canal, recalling the industrial history of the site. A planting palette of long grasses and roses creates a structured, park-like atmosphere. Walkways connect the Square to the heart of the city, attracting visitors and reasserting the place of the canal in residents’ daily lives. The design of the canal parkland ties strategically into a broader recreation network running along the scenic and historic canal. Bollards are used to define a lane for cars and allow the landscape to read as an accessible and unified open urban space. A concrete plateau and sloped grass plane help to visually define and organize the space and can be also used as a stage and seating area for small concerts and events. Lighting, signage, walkways, seating, sculptural elements, and a planting strategy have all contributed to making this a welcoming and dynamic public space and civic landscape (Janet Rosenberg & Studio, 2012).




PROJECT IMPACT


The opening was attended by many locals and dignitaries, after taking the will of three mayors from start to finish. This new addition serves as the gateway for locals and visitors to see the many festivals, Market Square, Merritt Island, and the Downtown. The project became a catalyst for urban revival in the city of Welland (Janet Rosenberg & Studio, 2012).




FUNDING


The City of Welland allocated $1.3 million for this project as part of the revitalization effort of its downtown (Janet Rosenberg & Studio, 2012).




MAINTENANCE AND MANAGEMENT


The Welland Canal Park & Civic Square is currently owned by the city of Welland and managed by its Public Works Department (Landezine, n.d.).





 

EDITOR

 

Samantha Miller

Nicole Brekelmans

Zoe Goldman

Desiree Theriault

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