TORONTO / ROTTERDAM – On December 18th, 2023, The City of Toronto selected West 8 as the winners of the competition to design a park at 229 Richmond Street W in the heart of the city’s downtown entertainment district. The winning design concept, Wàwàtesí, which translates to “Firefly” in Anishinaabemowin, was conceived by West 8 in collaboration with hcma Architecture and Design, Native Art Department International, MinoKamik Collective, ARUP, KG&A, ERA Architects, and A.W. Hooker.
The Wàwàtesí design concept integrates culture, public art, landscape, light and space for performance. This thoughtful approach provides an engaging 24/7 urban park for visitors, residents and those who work in the area to enjoy.
The winning design emerged from a two-stage design competition, evaluated by a distinguished panel of experts in landscape architecture, Indigenous placekeeping, architecture, urban design, art and climate resilience. Praising the design, the Jury noted in their report that the West 8 team “challenge[d] conventions around public space and public art” with a “clear and poetic narrative” and created “a thoughtful approach to providing a green oasis, with particular attention to the location of trees, the planting palette, and the intent to provide shade tolerant planting in the microclimate under the under the Balcony”. The Jury’s final decision was also informed by public input and comment from a City of Toronto Steering Committee and Community Advisory Group. Over the next two years, including community engagement, the Wàwàtesí concept will be transformed and elaborated further into a more detailed site design. The construction of the City-owned 2,600 square metre park is anticipated to commence in 2025.
The site of the future park is located on the traditional territory of many Nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. We acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit.
City of Toronto
West 8 – landscape architecture
Minokamik Collective – Indigenous design partner
Native Art Department International – public artist
hcma architects – architect
ERA Architects – heritage and public engagement
kg&a – strategic communications and programming
About West 8:
West 8 is an industry-leading design agency working across the fields of urban planning, landscape architecture and infrastructure. Headquartered in Rotterdam, and with offices in Belgium and Philadelphia, West 8 has established itself as a leading practice with an international and multi-disciplinary team of 70 architects, urban designers, landscape architects and industrial engineers. https://www.west8.com