Special to Ontario Construction News
Toronto’s Moss Park neighborhood is on the brink of a significant transformation. The plans for a new community centre and an upgraded park promise to revitalize this urban area. This revitalization effort, initiated by the City of Toronto, will replace the existing John Innes Community Centre at Queen and Sherbourne (150 Sherbourne Street) and remodel the adjacent park, breathing new life into the neighborhood.
The reimagining of Moss Park began in 2015, highlighting the city’s commitment to improving public amenities in underserved neighborhoods. The latest plans, stemming from a 2019 strategy, include replacing the John Innes Community Recreation Centre and remodeling Moss Park Arena’s façade.
“The project provides an opportunity for a holistic redesign of the park and community recreation centre, which will lead to better outcomes for the community. The aim of the project is to create welcoming, safe and accessible spaces for all, including the most vulnerable members of the community.”
The existing playground, splash pad, and community centre will be demolished to make way for a fluid and futuristic community space.
The proposed community centre design will feature:
- 25-meter, six-lane lap pool
- leisure/tot pool
- double gymnasium with a mezzanine running track
- fitness and dance studios
- communal spaces
- senior spaces
- universal washrooms and change rooms
Storeys reports that environmental considerations are central to the project, with plans for a green roof or a rooftop with community access. The park’s redesign includes improved sight lines and lighting for safety, along with a mix of passive and active recreation amenities.
The Moss Park upgrades will significantly improve the surrounding greenspace. This will include paths that will offer residents a variety of recreational opportunities. The park’s improvements will include a playground, splash pad, community gardens, walking paths and an off-leash dog area.
The park’s redesign is envisioned with environmental sustainability and social resilience in mind. An Indigenous place-keeping approach will see the integration of artworks from local Indigenous communities, and considerations for food security and urban agriculture are also included.
The community centre is slated for completion by 2028, with the park’s construction expected to finish in 2030. These timelines reflect the project’s scale and the commitment to thorough planning and execution.