Site Plan
Mulock Park’s 15-acre site comprises the remaining 116. acres of a former 200-acre farm and estate, plus the to-be-redesigned 3.4-acre Jim Bond Park to the west.

Mulock Park, the transformation of a former private estate in Newmarket, ON, into the town’s ‘Central Park’, has received full approval from the Town of Newmarket and is now in Schematic Design by PLANT Architect Inc. This four-season destination for naturalized public realm space and cultural activity will include an enhanced wetland and riverine water feature, a woodland skate trail and pavilion, conservatory and diversity gardens, an artist-in-residence studio, and many other feature areas. Mulock Park’s $40-million budget makes it Newmarket’s most ambitious parks project to date.

Entrance - wetland
The Yonge Street Entry Bridge spans a marshy part of the site that will be enhanced into a naturalized wetland.

The process of re-envisioning the former Mulock estate for public use began in 2018, when the Town of Newmarket purchased the property at the northwest corner of Yonge Street and Mulock Drive from the heirs of Sir William Mulock. The following year, a team headed by PLANT was awarded the project. An extensive consultation program, led by team member PROCESS in partnership with the Town of Newmarket, involved collecting input from more than 3,000 Newmarket residents about their preferences for the site’s redevelopment and the adaptive reuse of its 19th-century manor house. This community feedback, in tandem with close collaboration with the Town of Newmarket’s Council and staff, informed the two-stage master plan that PLANT developed.
In the first stage, PLANT proposed three concepts for the redesign of the site. The consultation process led to the selection of a hybridized, nature-focused approach for more detailed, stage-two development. Key community priorities that emerged during the consultation process were the preservation of the manor house and its historical gardens; the development of contemporary art programs for the site; and the importance of telling the site’s many histories, stretching back through millennia of pre-settler habitation by First Nations peoples and forward to reflect the increasingly diverse composition of Newmarket’s population. Early in 2021, PLANT presented its advanced concept (summarized in this video) to Council and the community. The project’s budget received unanimous approval on June 8, 2021 from Newmarket Town Council. Through responsible budgeting and planning for the future, the Mulock Property’s operational and capital charges will be fully funded by growth and will have no tax implications to Newmarket residents.

Skate trail
A winter Skate Trail loops through the woods. From spring to fall, it will convert to a walking trail.

Site investigations are now underway and PLANT has begun the process of seeing the project through to fruition. Mulock Park will encompass the remaining 11.6 acres of the Mulock estate grounds. Most of the land in what had once been a 200-acre farm had already been sold off and redeveloped, including a 3.4-acre parcel along the west edge of the present site that is now Jim Bond Park. An outcome of the consultation process was the decision to redevelop this existing park as part of Mulock Park, bringing the new park’s total area up to 15 acres.
Mulock Park’s name derives from Sir William Mulock (1843-1944), who, over the course of his long and industrious life, held positions including University of Toronto vice-chancellor, Liberal Member of Parliament in Canada’s House of Commons, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario, and Canada’s Postmaster General. For several decades the Mulock property in Newmarket was his country house. There, he hosted heads of state and luminaries from many different fields. His working farm was a research hub for agrarian science – and locally famous for the apples it sold.
While Mulock was a remarkable individual, it was clear even before the Mulock Park master planning process began that the site needed to be redeveloped in a way that would reflect the area’s millennia of history and celebrate Newmarket’s increasingly diverse identity. It was also clear that this park needed to provide green space in a part of town where intensive new residential development is pending. At the same time, Mulock Park is envisioned as a destination that will not only serve the local community but also attract visitors from a much wider area.

House
Sir William Mulock’s former country home will be restored and renovated to support food services, community events, and arts and heritage experiences.

Early in Mulock Park’s master-planning process, five guiding principles emerged:

  • A Destination: Ensure this site becomes a significant place to visit in Newmarket.
  • Rooted in History and Forward Looking: Share the multiple layers of history and evolution of the Town on the site.
  • Natural: Maintain and enhance the natural features of the landscape.
  • Connected: Connect the site with the neighbouring areas through pedestrian walkways, trails, and cycling routes.
  • Inclusive and Accessible: Create an inclusive and accessible site for all residents and visitors.

“Mulock Park is a symbiotic integration of architecture and landscape,” says PLANT partner Lisa Rapoport, who leads the Mulock Park design team. “The design we’ve developed in collaboration with Newmarket residents, Town Council, and stakeholders introduces new buildings to the site, preserves the heritage manor house while adapting it to an exciting range of possible new community uses, and focuses on ecological regeneration and the use of the site for many types of cultural activities, as well as passive recreational activities. We see the park as a network of destinations, linked by trails that will encourage people to explore different parts of the site on each visit.”

“Over the past two years, thousands of community members came together to share their vision for the iconic Mulock property,” says Newmarket Mayor John Taylor. “Born from shared ideas, stories and experiences, we are incredibly excited to bring our shared vision to life. We look forward to the completion of this magical place that will bring joy to the community for many years to come.”

The eight main site areas will be:

  1. Entry Area at Yonge Street and Mulock Drive: Near a landmark artwork that draws people into the park, an entry bridge will span a marshy part of the site that has been enhanced into a naturalized wetland.
  2. Riverine Water Feature: North of the entry bridge, naturalized gardens and boulders along a meandering water feature will recall the ancient glacial moraine.
  3. House & Great Lawn: This area will support food services, community events, and arts and heritage experiences. The manor house will be restored and renovated for future uses that may include a café, event spaces, and an art gallery and studios.
  4. Skate Trail: Used for skating in the winter, a woodland loop will convert to a walking trail from spring to fall.
  5. Ice Pond, Wet Plaza & Pavilion: Adjacent to a new amenity pavilion that also serves the Skate Trail, a small winter skating rink will convert to splash pad use in the summer.
  6. Conservatory & Diversity Gardens: The manor house’s garage and stables will be adaptively reused as a conservatory, containing and surrounded by gardens honouring the area’s Indigenous history and the diversity of Newmarket’s residents.
  7. Historic Garden & Artist Studio: A new artist-in-residence studio will be integrated into the revitalized heritage garden of the Mulock estate, originally designed by the prominent 1920s Toronto husband-and-wife firm H.B. & L.A. Dunington-Grubb, Landscape Architects.
  8. Jim Bond Park Natural Playground: Jim Bond Park will be redesigned to include a playground that turns fallen trees into engaging terrain for children to explore.

Construction of Mulock Park is expected to commence in 2023.

About the Town of Newmarket:
The Town of Newmarket is a thriving community in York Region, just north of Toronto. It is home to over 90,000 residents, over 41,000 local jobs, great restaurants, a regional healthcare facility and much more. Newmarket is consistently named one of Canada’s most dynamic, diverse and desirable places to live and work. The Town is also widely considered a progressive place committed to collaboration, creativity, environmental initiatives and innovation. For more information visit newmarket.ca

Ice Rink/Splash Pad
A Skate Pavilion will be adjacent to both the woodland Skate Trail and a small ice rink that converts to splash pad use in the summer.

We are delighted to share the news that the Bloor/Kipling & Islington Developments have won a 2021 Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence, in the Visions and Master Plans category. PLANT is the landscape design consultant to Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects and Toronto-based Adamson Associates Architects on CreateTO’s west-end Toronto Housing Now projects for the Bloor-Kipling (Six Points) and Bloor-Kipling Focus Areas. Now in construction, the 13.8-acre Bloor-Kipling Focus Area is a $77-M capital investment that will create six mixed-use blocks, including the new Etobicoke Civic Centre block. The Bloor-Islington Focus Area is a 4.9-acre parcel that will be redeveloped to provide an affordable/market mix of approximately 1,280 high-rise residential units, integrated with commercial and retail space at and near grade.
“Neighbourhood scale is carefully arranged to achieve thresholds and a sense of public/semi-public open spaces that are well proportioned and have a sense of overlook, intimacy, and safety for users,” the jurors stated. “… This redevelopment plan shows the potential of future mixed-use residential development to incorporate vibrant habitats in shared environments that help us thrive together.”

Advanced Typography book cover

We have of late been enjoying a deep dive into Advanced Typography , recently published by our long-time friend and collaborator Richard Hunt. More than just a technical guide, the book explores the history and cultural evolution of type, it’s effect on the presentation of ideas, and the ways in which it is transforming as new technologies change the way we interact with information. Full of delightful examples – and occasionally pointed commentary – we were also pleased that some of the work we’ve done with Richard features as well.

The projects Richard has worked on with us include: East Point Bird Sanctuary, The Canadian Firefighters Memorial, With Words as their Actions.

Another month, another lovely article on PLANT’s First Avenue Residence! In March 2021 our renovation of a tall, narrow townhome in what was originally a 19th-century dairy was featured as a Designlines Online “Show us where you live,” and on April 2, 2021, this project received a full-page feature in The Globe and Mail’s Real Estate section. If you’re a Globe subscriber, you can read Ximena Gonzalez’s “A renovation focused on wood and light” here.

Nearly a decade after Graham McLeod and Tim O’Fallon hired PLANT to design their garden, they asked us to renovate the interior of their residence – a lofty but narrow three-storey slice of a Toronto heritage building that was originally a dairy. Azure senior associate editor Evan Pavka has just posted a wonderful “Show us where you live” article on this project on Azure’s website. PLANT also did a refresh on the landscape when we completed the interior renovation on Tim and Graham’s place – please see First Avenue Garden on our own website for an update on that part of the project.

We are proud to say that PLANT has been certified as a Women Business Enterprise. WBE Canada (Women Business Enterprises Canada Council) is a Canadian nonprofit organization that certifies Canadian B2B businesses that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by women and connects them to corporate and government supply chains. As a WBE, we can now provide proof to many corporate and government organizations with Supplier Diversity procurement policies in place that we meet their Diverse Supplier criteria. We are excited to be included in Canada’s largest database of Canadian women-owned businesses and we look forward to providing exceptional architecture and landscape architecture services to organizations seeking to do business with Diverse Suppliers.

Congratulations to Zeynep Benk, the newest PLANT person to be certified a full member of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA). Zeynep earned her Master of Science in Landscape Architecture from Istanbul Technical University in 2011 and joined PLANT’s team in 2016. A creative designer with a strong technical background, she has been a vital team member on recent PLANT projects including the landscapes for Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Innovation and the University of British Columbia Okanagan’s Centre for Teaching and Learning. Her current projects include Guelph Pedestrian Bridge, the Governor’s Bridge Lookout at Toronto’s Don Valley Brick Works Park, and the expansion and redesign of Alexandra Park for the City of Waterloo.

The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial in St. Catharines has won a Niagara Biennial Award. This new awards program recognizes and celebrates design excellence throughout Ontario’s Niagara Region. PLANT was the landscape architect and construction services manager on this memorial project, which was designed by Dereck Revington Studio to commemorate the 137 workers who lost their lives during the current Welland Canal’s 1913 - 1932 construction. “Fallen Workers Memorial weaves a landscape within a memorial,” the jurors observed. “The monolithic forms create a strong presence and speak to the engineering marvel that the workers constructed.”

We are excited to share the news that PLANT’s Face to Face / Tête à Tête curb-lane parklet for the City of Toronto is a Finalist in the international 2020 Architizer A+ Awards. As a Finalist, our project is one of five worldwide to be eligible for a Popular Choice Award in its category. This means that as of today and until July 31, 2020, you have an opportunity to vote for it online – and we do hope you will! To vote, please follow this link and search for Face to Face or PLANT Architect Inc. (That’s faster than scrolling through all the award categories.)

Created for the King Street Transit Pilot, our six-feet-wide ‘concentrated community conversation zone’ received a nod from the jurors in the Architecture + Urban Transformation category, which recognizes projects that create new public spaces and build “new ways for the world’s citizens to live more densely within existing urban fabric.”

Face to Face / Tête à Tête was completed on a $25,000 budget, with PLANT staff sharing in some of the fabrication duties with the amazingly resourceful team at Oriole Landscaping. This project has transformed a couple of curb-lane parking spots on King Street just east of Yonge into a place where pedestrians can pause and connect. (A success in its own right, the King Street Transit Pilot demonstrated that a more-streetcars-fewer-cars approach on central King would ease downtown traffic congestion, and this route is now known as the King Street Transit Priority Corridor.) For more on Face to Face / Tête à Tête, please see our website and PLANT’s Architizer page.