The City of Toronto has announced it has chosen “the Angler” as the preferred site design option for the new Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park.
“Based on spring and summer consultations with local community members, Indigenous representatives, and the City’s operational staff, the Angler has been selected as the site design option that will be further refined through continued community consultation,” wrote the City in a September 21 email to community members.
The City’s consultations included the Friends of Sorauren Park, which voted for, and promoted, the Angler as the best option.
“We’ve looked closely at the options, and while there are always site compromises in a constrained space, in the end there was little debate among the directors,” said Joël Campbell, chair of Friends of Sorauren Park, in May 2021 when the five site options were presented. “Design option 5, the Angler, was the clear winner for us. We look forward to continuing the collaboration with the City and the design consultants as work progresses through the design process.”
This phase of the design work only addresses how the main building blocks will be situated within the park. The design consultants, Diamond Schmitt Architects, will now work on more detailed interior and exterior design and landscaping, with further community consultations planned.
Follow community centre news by subscribing to the Friends of Sorauren Park newsletter, or following @SoraurenPark on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The City also maintains a comprehensive Wabash Community Centre project page.
Here are some of the reasons FOSP chose the Angler as the preferred site option:
- least impact on the park, tucking the community centre along the back
- preserves the Town Square and Fieldhouse, in which the City and community have invested more than $1 million and which are key elements of the park
- the only design that preserves the full grassy slope facing the Town Square and creates an integrated hardscape/softscape community event space, enhancing the way the park is used for outdoor movies and performances (remember the Tragically Hip concert simulcast and Raptors playoff games?!)
- preserves the popular (and growing) tree grove including the serviceberries near Wabash Avenue, and many other trees cared for by Adopt-a-Tree volunteers in 2014 and 2015
- speaks to the reality of the rail corridor that cuts the park on an angle, and to the angled Robert Watson condo building north of the park, part of the neighbourhood vernacular
- the fourth building block tucks neatly into the landscape of the park along the railway creating a “wedge” that becomes a clear focal point on the park side, and an entrance space on the rail corridor side, with the potential for a “great lobby” that invites community interaction
- accommodates all the City-mandated community centre program plans
- creates interesting roof space options
- maintains the circular flow of the park and provides easy access to a planned future footbridge crossing the tracks and connecting the park to the West Toronto Railpath
- retains and integrates the industrial heritage features of the linseed building
- aligns with the preferred design principles already outlined by Friends of Sorauren Park and confirmed through FOSP-led community consultations and survey (1,200 responses)