mabelle park toronto

Toronto park is getting a stunning new clubhouse with performance space

A mid-sized Toronto park is set to get a major glow-up, with a large-scale transformation in the works for the Mabelle Park green space just northwest of Islington subway station.

Non-profit community arts organization MABELLEarts announced a new project on Thursday, aiming to transform the 2,181-square-metre park with the addition of a brand-new clubhouse, a performance stage, and other park features like upgraded outdoor kitchen space, a community table space, and a trio of permanent art installations.

The Mabelle Park Transformation builds on almost 15 years of programming led by community organization MABELLEarts.

"Since we started our journey on Mabelle Avenue 14 years ago we've seen the MABELLEpark transform from a neglected thoroughfare into a vibrant hub where residents of all ages and cultures connect through the joy of creating art," says Leah Houston, Executive Director, MABELLEarts.

"The MABELLEpark Transformation shows us what is possible when we think about who and how our parks serve residents' needs differently – it's not enough to cater to the nuclear family anymore. Our parks can be inclusive spaces that strengthen neighbourhood resilience."

The latest plan features a collaboration with LGA Architectural Partners and SHIFT Landscape Architects to bring new features to the site, including seating, a covered water feature, and a range of plant species like sumac and sage, chosen to reflect the homelands of residents living in the surrounding Toronto Community Housing apartment towers of Mabelle Avenue.

A press release states that the park upgrades were planned with input from intergenerational and multi-ethnic residents of the community, with these groups "involved throughout the unconventional and imaginative process, eagerly collaborating with the diverse project teams to co-create the final design plans.

Unlike the field houses or storage sheds common in public spaces, the transformation project plans a new, 113m² clubhouse offering a pair of multi-purpose rooms that can be combined into a single space, featuring staff workstations, a kitchenette, and public washroom facilities.

The clubhouse's exterior will include a covered deck that acts as both a front porch for the building and a new performance space.

"The MABELLEpark clubhouse was designed to reflect the primacy of the park in people's lives," says Janna Levitt, Principal of LGA Architectural Partners.

"Small in size, yet large in ambition, it will welcome park-goers and embody the imagination and warmth of both the organization and the community. Having a permanent building is essential to enhance the range of park programming, and to establish a physical center for celebrations and gatherings, day and night."

"After hours, residents from the surrounding towers will see the clubhouse glowing brightly like a beacon in the park."

Area residents won't have to wait too long for these park upgrades, as the transformation is due to begin next spring with a targeted completion in spring 2024.

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