street parking toronto

A street in Toronto is replacing parking with a natural playground installation

If you ever wished that Toronto's streets were lined with natural elements instead of cars, you're in luck: one street will soon be totally transformed to replace parking with a beautiful immersive naturescape.

Parliament St. from Carlton St. to the south of Winchester St. is going to be turned into Cabbagetown Naturescape 2022 for most of the summer.

Parking spaces will be filled with logs, stones and tree canopy designed and built by Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds instead of the usual cars. Bienenstock works with Parks and Recreation departments to create natural play structures.

"We create these important urban natural oases across Canada and the United States as proof of concept that greener cities increase community cohesiveness, equitable access to nature and profitability of the local businesses," said Adam Bienenstock, founder of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds.

"Connection to nature is not a problem to solve, it is the solution to the most pressing problems our cities face today."

The naturscape will include five natural interactive parkettes that could be used as seating for residents and businesses as well as programming space.

The installation will add 100 new trees and shrubs, 3,000 tons of natural material, 130 truckloads of soil, 250 seats for business patrons, reduce surface temperatures on the street during the summer and increase foot traffic to local retail businesses by 50 per cent.

"This initiative is vital for the economic recovery of Cabbagetown," said Virginia Gallop, the executive director of the Cabbagetown BIA. "We're also offering a new and life-affirming approach to our urban landscape by connecting our community to nature."

Bienenstock has created installations in Toronto before, partnering with Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.

"I'm proud to be a co-producer of Cabbagetown Naturescape, an exciting new festival and public realm experience designed to invoke surprise, wonder and delight for local residents and visitors to historic Parliament Street," said Wong-Tam.

"We're going to activate Parliament St. with music, art and the most family-friendly immersive and naturalized place-making experience ever created in Toronto."

Lead photo by

Cabbagetown BIA

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