The Opening of Gibson Park Breathes New Life into North York

June 1, 2015

With the official opening of Gibson Park this past weekend on May 30th, a new sense of community that celebrates the past while welcoming the present and future has arrived.

The .75 hectare park was originally created in 1979 as a leased space to provide a lush reprieve and connection between the community to the west and the vibrancy of Yonge Street. The recent development of the leased lands included the introduction of Gibson Square, a 2?tower condominium development with retail uses at grade as well as the re-design of Gibson Park to best merge the new context of the towers and the surrounding green space.

Gibson Park was redeveloped as 2 parcels, a parkette located at the intersection of Yonge St. and Park Home Ave. and a larger park located to the west. The lush parkette along Yonge St. features the original Tolman Sweet Apple tree as the focal point of the park and provides ample seating opportunities for outdoor lunches. Linked by a wide walkway along Park Home Ave., Gibson Park extends west to Beecroft Rd.

A meandering walkway weaves through the West Park connecting 3 distinct spaces; the orchard which acts as a forecourt to Gibson House Museum links the history of the site with the recent development; the central plaza with perennial gardens; and an open lawn area. With the design of Gibson Park NAK Design Group established a new focus on Gibson House Museumallowing for open views and an arrival from Park Home Avenue through an orchard planted with heritage apple trees set against a monumental backdrop that pays homage to the history of the Gibson Family and their storied property with larger than life vignettes of their daily life etched in black granite.

David Gibson, who built Gibson House in 1851 was a surveyor. Notwithstanding the long driveway that lead to his home over 300 feet west of Yonge St., it was very fitting given his vocation that he chose to build his home square to the street, which is Canada's oldest and longest. The new park exhibits many cues to David Gibson's original respect of the street by aligning the main landscape features square to it as he had done over 150 years ago.

Menkes is very proud to have been the lead on this project and has proven that you can combine old and new ideas to create a space everyone can enjoy.