The curvature of the pathways in the proposed Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden are like extending a warm embrace to the community, said Jennifer Mahoney with NAK Design Strategies.
The proposed design was unveiled to area residents at a recent meeting at Fern Avenue Public School in Roncesvalles Village.
“It is a simple garden plan with some heritage and some public art,” Mahoney said. “But I must say it was surprising what we could do with such a small space.”
The design, created by locally based NAK Design Strategies, took into consideration input from a number of community meetings as well as the restrictions of the concrete triangle immediately south of where Roncesvalles Avenue and Dundas Street West connect.
“The two main messages we heard, were because of this intersection’s location (the garden) should act as a gateway to the village,” Mahoney said during the Dec. 12 meeting. “And most people wanted somewhere they could stop and wonder at the beauty of the city.”
The community also expressed a desire for trees, seating and pathways through the space. The design incorporates curved pathways bordered by a low tapered wall to prevent people from cutting across the garden spaces.
There is a grove of trees on the west side of the space, which allows for the view to be maintained, and a larger tree for shade at the south east corner. The species of trees and types of grass and plantings in the garden will be identified at the detailed design stage of the project.
The pathways will be wide enough to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs. A memorial plaque at the northern entrance to the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden will tell the story of the origin of Dundas Street.
This portion of Dundas Street was constructed as a military road for the defense of York, the capital of Upper Canada, in 1812. Aboriginal warriors attempted to ward off the landing of the American fleet in April 1813. The garden would honour the men who built the road as well as those warriors.
The proposed garden would be part of the 1812 Binational Peace Garden Trail network, a cross-border tourism initiative connected with the international peace garden foundation, which mark the sites – and tell the stories – of the War of 1812.
Mahoney said the design will be refined and submitted for approval by the city early in the New Year. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden Project Coordinator Abby Bushby said the group will hold a meeting to plan fundraising activities in January. The earliest start date for construction would be in the fall of 2013.