Toronto Parkland Strategy

Client City of Toronto
Location Toronto | Ontario

The City of Toronto’s population is slated to reach 3.2 million by 2036, an increase of 300,000 in less than 15 years. Intensification and infill development will add more people to existing neighbourhoods and transform former industrial and waterfront areas into medium and high-density neighbourhoods. As the city grows and evolves, the park system must respond in a sustainable way. 

Working with the City of Toronto, O2, in association with Gladki and Hemson Consulting, is updating the Parkland Acquisition Strategy, completed over 15 years ago. The Toronto Parkland Strategy is a 20-year plan to guide the longterm supply of parks within Toronto. Specifically, the Strategy will guide planning, policy development, municipal park and recreation facility service delivery, asset management and investment planning, and development reviews. 

Development is occurring over two phases. The first phase focused on developing a parkland measurement and assessment methodology. O2 assessed the strengths and weaknesses of current measurements methodologies and proposed an enhanced methodology considering walkability first, using updated reporting units and applying an updated parks classification system. Employing advanced geo-spatial and data-analysis methods, this methodology assessed existing parkland based on four functions: Ecology; Sport + Play; Community; and Health + Wellbeing.

The results provide an accurate picture of Toronto’s current supply and distribution of parkland, highlighting under-supplied locations. This picture informed an innovative Stakeholder and Community Engagement Plan, designed to gain a deeper understanding of park and recreation facility and service needs. Building on previous consultation feedback, the stakeholder and community engagement strategy employs various tools to reach a broad range of interests, communities and stakeholder groups. The strategy includes a website with an online survey and video, engagement kits for do-it-yourself community conversations, open houses and pop-up events, and various advertising innovations to drive stakeholder traffic. Engagement will be ongoing and will help determine how to set parkland goals that complement Toronto’s identity as a “City within a Park”.