Canadian Consulting Engineer

Arup helps design Corktown Common in Toronto

August 1, 2014
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Arup provided multidisciplinary engineering and consulting services for Corktown Common, the new park opened last month along Toronto's east waterfront.

Arup provided multidisciplinary engineering and consulting services for Corktown Common, the new park opened last month along Toronto’s east waterfront.

The park is the centerpiece of the developing community of the West Don Lands. Working in close collaboration with Waterfront Toronto and design team lead Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Arup helped to transform a post-industrial site into a dynamic, re-natured public park that is to be used all year round.

The design for the 7.3-ha park provides a variety of open spaces and programmatic elements. A landscape with open sightlines to Toronto’s skyline, Don River and beyond, creates a sense of scale and grandeur that expands the park far past its physical boundaries. Emphasizing the park’s riverside location are two prominent and sustainable water features: a large splash pad and a living marsh, both of which are integral parts of the onsite stormwater management system that irrigates the park. The splash pad is set atop a hill and provides important free-space for children to enjoy the grounds while allowing for overseeing parents to enjoy the unobstructed views of downtown.

The park also boasts a variety of sustainable features, which are in keeping with Waterfront Toronto’s sustainability framework. One of the key elements requires the collection of rainwater for irrigation purposes. This was achieved through a series of swales and landscaping resulting in reduced reliance on municipal water supply. Water from the splash pad, typically directed to a sanitary sewer, will instead be treated sufficiently so that it can be safely conveyed to the park’s marsh and irrigation system. Combining a mix of trees, open lawns, diverse plantings and an extensive marsh will create an inviting environment for patrons while showcasing Waterfront Toronto’s commitment to sustainability and community building.


“As the engineers for Corktown Common, not only did we have the opportunity to design a highly sustainable park, we also were able to help create a wonderful space for the community in which we live and work,” said Andrew McAlpine, Toronto Office Leader at Arup. “We are excited to have been part of the continued redevelopment of Toronto’s waterfront lands.”


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