155 Bayview Ave. (West Don Lands)
Opened in 2014; 18 acres
Known for: Largest park in the new Waterfront Community
Neglected industrial area now an urban ecosystem
Once part of a neglected industrial area and floodplain, Corktown Common is an urban ecosystem that combines in its park unique terrains, sustainability, innovation and urban design. It was built on remediated industrial lands (a former pork packing plant). Its design provides a barrier to flooding from the Don River in areas such as Toronto's financial district and the new Canary residential area.
Waterfront Toronto commissioned New York-based landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates to turn former industrial land into the neighbourhood park. Part of the challenge was to provide flood protection. In response, a 4-metre-tall, 750-metre-long earthen land-form was constructed out of compacted clay in order to reshape the river's floodplain. Once completed, the berm prevents excess water from traversing towards the Canary District. The berm also forms the basis of the park.
When opened, the Common already had been planted with over 700 trees and thousands of shrubs and grasses that make up our native forest ecosystem.
Running parallel to the Don River, Corktown Common's eastern portion is commonly referred to as the "urban prairie" or "wet side". It features long grasses, gently sloping hills and a small, off-leash urban dog run.
The western portion of the park is the "dry side", representing roughly 9 acres. With an extensive play area (and structures), pavilion, open lawns and marsh, this region of the park is the busiest.
The marsh is also part of the parks ecological storm water management system. It both receives and treats runoff water that is then used for onsite irrigation needs. This reduces the park's consumption of treated potable water.
At the foot of the open sports field, at the south end of the park, you'll also find a spectacular public art installation, No Shoes. It was created by internationally recognized artist Mark di Suvero. This large piece was originally installed in High Park but was restored and relocated to Corktown Common in 2013.
Events: For the last 2 summers, Toronto Outdoor Picture Show has hosted movie nights at Corktown Common Park.