Edithvale Community Centre

Edithvale Community Centre and Park are located in the North York district of Toronto. The Community Centre and Park were designed to complement one another in terms of programming and design with the objective of creating a new social, cultural and recreational centrepiece for the community. Both the Community Centre and the Park were designed to integrate innovative sustainable initiatives; the stormwater management strategy for the site employs permeable pavers, biofilters and a rainwater harvesting system to promote infiltration, improve water quality and mitigate runoff rates. The Park includes a performance stage, bake oven and sports field that converts to a skating rink during the winter months. The landscape for the Community Centre includes a constructed wet meadow, flexible multi-use parking area, a green roof, outdoor gathering spaces and playgrounds to complement the built form of the Community Centre.

The site fronts on Finch Avenue West and a key objective of the design was to enliven the streetscape, while accommodating potential future installation of an Light Rail Transit (LRT) right-of-way along this major transportation corridor. The streetscape along Finch Avenue West is designed to integrate the urban landscape with a natural aesthetic that is evocative of the former tributary of the Don River that once traversed the site but was buried and piped to accommodate the historic build-out of the area.

Schollen & Company Inc. was retained by the City of Toronto to develop an innovative, environmentally-based park as part of a Community Centre redevelopment project for the community of Edithvale in Toronto. The Centre, designed by ZAS Architects, achieved a LEED Gold designation and both the park and building utilized Toronto’s Green Development Standard as a design tool to replace an outmoded community centre into 50,000-square feet of multi-purpose rooms, demo kitchen, studios and youth lounge supporting a range of arts and athletic functions. The building and park concept shared a green vision focused on energy and water conservation, environmental quality and education. The complex has become the symbol for the social change that the surrounding residential population is experiencing, revitalizing a highly valued asset within the neighbourhood. Located directly above a buried creek, the design of the park simulates the natural processes of the river through the creation of a wetland and drainage course and a passive stormwater management system. The environmental-first approach to design is evident from the site planning right through to the form and function in the details. Both the building and landscape respond to the dynamic ecological context and complex urban surroundings.

The design for Edithvale Park was conceived with the goal of creating a new social and recreational centrepiece for the community. The park is fully integrated with the aesthetics, program and function of the new-state-of-the-art Community Centre.

The process for developing the design for the park and landscape for the Community Centre was initiated with an assessment of the site within the context of the local open space system including an assessment of social fabric, neighbourhood linkages, future land use and development scenarios and future planned improvements to transit infrastructure.

The plan for the site enhances fundamental linkages to the Community Centre and the neighbourhood while incorporating a number of program elements that accommodate the social and recreational requirements and desires of a broad spectrum of users ranging from children to seniors. Facilities within the park afford opportunities for environmental education, socialization and recreation throughout the seasons.

The ‘green’ vision for both the building and park were conceived together resulting in tightly integrated design details. During the design phase a number of Low Impact Development (LID) techniques were integrated with the building, such as a green roof and a solar array. The initiatives were inspired by and tied to sustainable initiatives proposed for the park including permeable pavement, native plantings and integrated stormwater management/ infiltration system.

The park affords a full complement of social and recreational activities while at the same time working in tandem with the Community Centre to establish a prominent, innovative and recognizable public amenity in the community