Don River Park Pavilion

Within a reclaimed post-industrial landscape bisected by urban transportation infrastructure, the Don River Park lies along the Don River in Toronto. The design concept for the park involved the insertion of varied and undulating topography, diverse plantings, and the creation of a distinctive outdoor pavilion serving as a fulcrum and active point of reference throughout the park. Although the site was small and confined by an active railroad and flood protection landform, the design manipulates sight lines and scale throughout the park, creating a sense of the boundless that encourages the visitor to roam, explore, and form an intimate relationship with the park spaces. The Pavilion overlooks the outdoor amphitheater, kids splash area, ball fields and central lawn.

Two sculptural roof forms hold space beyond their edges, defining the dry and wet play areas adjacent, and orienting the visitor to three main program areas: the playground, the amphitheater/sledding hill and the fireplace. The Pavilion roof forms compliment and mirror the undulating terrain of the landscape and is designed to be occupied and enjoyed throughout the shifting seasons. In summer, the north-facing roof casts a deep shadow on the ground to shelter visitors from the intense sun. An integral grill and counter area allows for outdoor cooking and dining celebrations at all seasons. In winter, the fireplace area can be partially enclosed with large sliding panels, providing those sledding or observing with a warm retreat. Being in a public park, the ground level materials withstand heavy and frequent use, including galvanized columns, concrete fireplace core, ipe wood cladding and translucent sliding panels that completely slide into lockable pockets when not in use.

Services provided included visioning, site study, programming, planning, concept design, schematic design, construction documentation and construction administration.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Architect of Record:
Maryann Thompson Architects (MTA)

Landscape Architect:
Michael VanValkenburg Associates

Evan’s Role:
Project Designer at MTA

Date completed:


courtesy of Waterfront Toronto