All east-enders know about Riverdale Park and its commanding view of the Toronto skyline. The top of the hill located on the east side of the park, next to Broadview Avenue, offers an unobstructed vantage point to take in views of the downtown core and surrounding skyline.
This view is part of what makes the park one of the most active outdoor areas in the city yet, despite its popularity, it lacks any kind of infrastructure to promote and support sightseeing as one of its defining characteristics. There is a single lone bench on the crest of the hill.
Now a group of urban designers want to enhance that view with an observation deck and tobogganing platform. Billed by the group as Riverdale Point, plans call for a sweeping wooden deck upon the eastern embankment. The structure will be constructed of locally sourced wood to complement the natural landscape. A lower deck built at ground level will allow users space to stand. An upper deck will provide ample space for seating. In winter, the deck will become a tobogganing launch pad. The design would even bring back the lanes the park once featured to keep sledders safe from collisions with others.
"The park provides a unique opportunity to escape the bustle of the city," says Stas Ukhanov of the Riverdale Point group. "Our design strengthens and supports the existing use of the space by drawing people to the park, the ravine system and the nearby retail areas.
The Riverdale Point project was developed as part of the NXT City Prize 2014, a competition that invites urban enthusiasts under 30 to submit create and innovative ideas to improve public spaces across Toronto. It was shortlisted out of 140 entries and, since then, has received the support of local councillor Paula Fletcher and chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat.
The group is now currently working to build local support for the project. Ukhanov says next steps include officially registering the project with the Parks Department Partnership Program and beginning to apply for grants and funding.
"We currently don't have a price tag for the project and hope to have a better idea of costs in the near future as we get an engineer to look at the proposal,” Ukhanov says.
For more info, visit riverdalepoint.tumblr.com.