Mary Allen Park Expansion

Waterloo, Ontario

Mary Allen Park, situated in one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, underwent an expansion project with the addition of an adjacent property. The Mary Allen community uses the park extensively and has an active neighbourhood association.

The expansion property had been used as ball diamonds for the adjacent school, however, prior to this it had been industrial property (originally a furniture factory) which created the need for site remediation. The goal was to create a design that would best meet the current and future needs of the neighbourhood. It was also to establish a template for other urban park expansions that the City is planning.

Snow Larc, together with Step Change, was engaged by the City of Waterloo to undertake an in-depth public consultation process as a major component of its scope of work. Stephanie and her team worked closely with City staff to lead preliminary key stakeholder interviews, a Public Workshop, a Public Information Centre, and associated on-line updates and surveys. A phased master plan was developed that is realistic and understood by the community so that expectations are managed regarding the elements that have first priority.

Approval by City Council in December of 2015 subsequently led to the successful construction of this project. Key design elements include public art opportunities, a community gathering space, additional recreation facilities for a broad range of users, and enhanced plantings. New elements tell the heritage story of the property’s origin as a furniture factory, with the look and feel of features transitioning from a rugged ‘raw material’ look nearest the train tracks, to an industrial factory at its core complete with shade structure and storage area, and finally to an elegant stylized aesthetic with ornate benches and gardens. Park furniture and signs reflect the site’s E.O. Weber furniture company heritage.


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