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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

June Callwood Park design competition

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There’s going to be a new park in town and it’s named after one of Toronto’s legendary figures, June Callwood. It will be located between the new condo buildings just south of Fort York, running between Fort York Boulevard and Fleet Street. It’s a key piece in connecting the Fort to the Lake Ontario shoreline that has steadily moved south with infilling. The design competition is nearly compete and the jury will be deciding on a winner late next week. There are four opportunities for public viewing of the entries at two locations:

WHEN: Saturday, October 18th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, October 19th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Deputy Mayor Pantalone will attend on Sunday, October 19 at 1 p.m.  Staff will also be available from 1 to 3pm on both dates.

 WHERE: Fort York, Blue Barracks, 100 Garrison Road.


WHEN: Monday, October 20th from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.  and Tuesday, October 21st from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Metro Hall, Rotunda – Main Level, 55 John Street.

Spacing contributor Gary Miedema was at Fort York in 2005 for a launch event held so Callwood could express her “hopes” for the park before she passed away, and he made the following notes:

Notes from the June Callwood Lunch,
Fort York, Friday September 16, 2005

June made it very clear that the park is to be for toddlers and their caregivers, NOT teens, who have many other park options. In her opinion, there is yet no park designed only for young toddlers. Care was to be taken in the design, she argued, so that features intended for toddlers would not be overrun by teens either during the night or day.

With regards to specific design features:

1) Water feature: this was of interest to June, though in the safest and most current form of sprinklers or a feature where water does not pool. June specifically requested many benches for caregivers around the feature.

2) When asked about her interest in having any sculpture, June suggested that she would think of something like a Henry Moore piece — safe and climbable for young children. Others raised the example of the Franklin sculptures on the Islands. Here, June raised her efforts to have Sarah Hall create stained glass windows for Jessie’s House. June is thrilled with those windows, and mentioned how they mesmerize children.

3) Skating Rink: June was quick to express concern that this was really a feature for older kids. If for younger, it should be designed in a way that older kids would not take it over for hockey. Perhaps have an ice trail for pulling matts designed to carry young kids. She did not like the idea of a rink, but was open to something designed specifically for toddlers to experience.

General comments:

1) June expressed concern about the wind tunnel which might form on the park, as well as about shadows from the adjacent buildings.

2) June made specific mention of what she calls “Adventure Land” people — designers who are focused on outdoor toys for young children. She highly recommended getting such designers involved.

Photo by Nikki.



  1. Although Fort York is a proverbial hop, skip and jump — as well as a brief entertaining bike ride through the Strachan overpass construction — from my home, will there be someplace online to view the proposals?

  2. I don’t want to pick a fight with a deceased legend but I have to say I really don’t get Callwood’s aversion to teens.

    With the exception of basketball courts, skate parks and hockey rinks at a very small portion of the city’s parks, I can’t think of a design feature I’ve seen in parks that is meant for teens. More often than anything else, teens will adapt a feature to their needs that is actually meant to serve children and seniors because there are so few public spaces that embrace their presence.

  3. Like maybe the way they take over sidewalks for skate-boarding?

  4. A park designed for children sounds good to me. I would encourage mystery and beauty be built into the project.Something really unique whereby a functional area can be altered, possibly by the children themselves. (A colourful animal sculpture perhaps that allows kids to change face, ears, etc.)Something truly inspiring. Fun for kids. Laughter from us.

    Use of soft materials such as the black spongy ground roll at the little kids’play area at Harbourfront,foot of York.

  5. Out of curiousity, why such an unusual (if not unflattering) image of June? Was a screen shot of a TV appearence all you could find? I don’t mean this critically, it just seems odd.

  6. It was the only photo available licensed under creative commons on flickr of June. It is unusual (it’s from her interview on the Hour) but I thought it evoked her “thinking” rather than anything unflattering. But there are other readings certainly.