National Urban Design Awards — 2020 Recipient

Berczy Park
Award Category: 
National Urban Design Awards
Civic Design Projects

Lead Firm: Claude Cormier et Associés
Completion: June 2017

The revitalization of this iconic park in downtown Toronto needed to adapt to rapidly evolving community needs that were never foreseen when the original Berczy Park was constructed 40 years ago. Next-generation needs had to be accommodated by shaping the park into three program-oriented spaces—a green area for play, a garden for dogs, and a plaza for gathering. The overall park experience is unified across these distinct spaces by a whimsical fountain at the centre of the plaza, inspired by the phenomenon and history of dogs at Berczy Park, becoming an essential agent of triangulation with universal appeal.

Jury Comment(s): 

"The design’s real success is its ‘triangulation’ of multiple user groups, edge conditions, and in recognizing pedestrian desire lines. While the canine fountain is the focal point—or punch line—many underlying design moves make this park much more than the sum of its parts."

"A delightful carefully conceived public park that not only packs a lot in a diminutive space but also manages to improve the interface with its surrounding urban context, most notably in the creation of the Scott Street Woonerf, the revised circulation layout, the improved streetscape, and the visual and aesthetic rapport established between the park floor and the architectural frontage framing it.. The result is a cohesive urban living room—whose contribution goes much beyond the whimsical appeal of its central fountain. "

Jury members

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Photo at dusk showing the fountain and Toronto's financial district as part of the urban context of Berczy Park

PHOTO: Industryous Photography

Form, colour, pattern and texture are designed to integrate with the urban context, expanding the visual reach of the park to the facades surrounding all sides of the park.

PHOTO: Industryous Photography

Photo of Berczy Park's fountain, with its dogs and the golden bone on top

PHOTO: Industryous Photography

The fountain, embellished with the accoutrements of canine culture.

PHOTO: Claude Cormier et Associés

Dusk view of the park looking west with the fountain framed by mature Japanese Pagoda tree

PHOTO: Industryous Photography

Collection of visitor vignettes at Berczy Park since its opening in June 2017.

PHOTO: McConnell, Industryous Photography, Hans on the bike