When I was a kid, I was extremely shy. Joining a summer camp,
trying to make friends with 50 other kids was extremely intimidating to me.
But the summers spent at the Ontario Science Centre from when I was 7-9 were incredibly
joyous. The interactive exhibitions of bright lights, buttons, glass tanks and more,
allowed me to forget about my debilitating fear of making new friends.
I could connect with other kids over the feelings of discovery and wonder
that the Science Centre helped incite.
What is beyond the science centre is something more mysterious as the building
itself is embedded into a portion of the Don Valley Ravines. But it was something
I did not understand as a kid. The few times we had lunch at the lookout, at the back
of the building, all we saw were the trees that lined the southeastern edge of ET Seaton Park.
My proposal for ET Seaton park, 48 hectares of hard to access and underused public grounds,
takes inspiration from my childhood. How do you compete with such a powerful presence as
the Ontario Science Center? The centre gives a beautiful view of the ravines from its windows
and lookout, but no way to enter it. What I am proposing will allow this park in the ravines
to keep its shy elements: its timid animals and its quiet reverie from the city.
With a new subway stop opening up just north of the Science Centre, this site will
need to serve a growing number of visitors. My design proposal introduces new
infrastructure and programming that can be replicable on sites all along the ravine.
These pathways will be elevated but also allow for
gentle touch-down points to the ground. What is more, these pathways will be connected
through easily accessible entrance points.
New opportunities for recreation will be introduced but my interventions will also
protect animals that use the parks as their habitat. A reforestation of the park
will increase wildlife habitat, act as a form of slope stabilization and help
slow down storm-water runoff. The new elevated pathway can even twist around
the new trees that will be introduced on-site.
In this new vision for the park, you can also stumble on “shy moments”.
You can wander upon something that seems nonchalant at first, but gradually
becomes something special. Moments where the pathway turns into rocks you
need to climb or lead to branches you need to cross, all in order to find a
clearing that reveals a White-Tailed Deer or singing Goldfinches.
You can forget so many things from your childhood, but with a proposal
like mine, you will always remember that time you spent at the Science
Centre, both indoors and outdoors.