Toronto park will be completely rebuilt with gorgeous new community centre
A major Toronto park could look a whole lot different in the coming years, as plans evolve behind the scenes for a City-led project to revitalize Moss Park and replace the current John Innes Community Recreation Centre at Queen and Sherbourne.
An earlier plan to reimagine the park was embarked on back in 2015 with community organization The 519 and a philanthropic partner, though the project was later deemed not feasible and brought back to the drawing board.
In 2019, City Council adopted an implementation strategy for a new Parks & Recreation Facilities Master Plan, and early ideas for the revised design were presented in 2022. Most recently, a new batch of visuals were released for public feedback, to finalize and approve the plan in place this spring.
The current plan for the John Innes Community Recreation Centre replacement puts a focus on recreation rather than the social services focus of the previous plan. Its proposed building would feature a smaller footprint than the one envisioned in the 2016 feasibility study design, but would still occupy a larger footprint of Moss Park than the current building.
A striking design from architects MJMA would create a new landmark for Moss Park and the neighbourhood of the same name, utilizing structural timber and glazed reveals framing interior spaces like two planned indoor pools.
Surrounding the rebuilt community centre, plans call for an extensive remodelling of the current Moss Park Arena exterior, and major improvements to the existing park.
There are currently three options being explored for the park redesign, each offering slight variations on the landscaping and arrangement of public amenities, with designs from landscape architects The Planning Partnership.
All three feature elements in common, including basketball and tennis courts, a splash pad, an off-leash dog area, and a community garden.
Planned improvements to the park and community centre would be more accessible to the city than the current neighbourhood amenity, as the southeast corner of Moss Park, at the intersection of Queen and Sherbourne, will be getting its own station on the forthcoming Ontario Line.
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