Moss Park Redevelopment
Client : City of Toronto / The 519
Area : 182,200 sf
Program : Aquatic Centre (5-Lane 25m Lap Pool, Leisure Pool, Changerooms), Single-Pad Arena (Spectator Seating, Changerooms), Nine Multi-Sport Courts, Fitness Centre, Fitness Studios, Meeting Rooms, Cafeteria, Administrative and Support Spaces, Outdoor Program (Accessible Rooftop Terrace, Covered Public Plaza, Track
Associated Architects : West 8 / LGA-AP / SvN
The future Moss Park Community Centre is part of a planned transformation of Toronto’s Moss Park. Led by The 519, an LGBTQ-focused City Agency, and supported by city, provincial and national funding, the completed Centre will provide inclusive spaces and programs to underserved populations both locally and citywide.
Moss Park began as a private estate, but since the early 1900s has contained community services that were slotted into the property without the guidance of a cohesive overall plan; this includes the current community centre and arena, erected in 1951 and 1963 respectively, which are now slated for demolition. A cycle of industrialization and de-industrialization has resulted in a larger neighbourhood dominated by public housing and shelters, with a reputation for being “downtrodden and dangerous,” though that reputation is giving way in the face of renewed development. The Moss Park renewal plan is the first major overhaul to consider the park—including its structures—holistically.
MJMA’s new Centre is sited on the opposite end of the park from the current structures, which allows for continuous operation throughout construction and will ultimately open up the centre of the park to form a large green commons. While the new Centre adds 200,000 square feet of new programming, it occupies only 41,250 square feet at grade—less than the current buildings and parking occupy. This is achieved by elevating the volume containing the second and third floors on pilotis; the northern half of the first floor is enclosed by glass, making the ground plane highly transparent, while the southern half of the building footprint at grade is turned over to an exterior plaza sheltered by the building mass floating above. The interior portion of the ground floor will contain public functions at the park level—including food services, studios, meeting rooms, youth and child centres, and gathering rooms—while the exterior plaza can be programmed public events such as movie nights and outdoor markets.
The elevated volume above will house levels two (with an aquatics hall, triple gymnasium, workout and lounge spaces, and green terraces overlooking the park) and three (the roof level, housing flexible-use studios and other spaces that open onto the landscaped roof). Additional functions—including an arena, parking, and building services—are concealed below ground. Throughout, the Centre is engineered to exacting sustainability standards, incorporating a multi-tiered strategy to minimize emissions and reclaim and conserve power and water—all part of an overarching carbon-reduction strategy.