A large tree with green leaves at the center of an artificial pond in downtown Toronto; A large tree with green leaves at the center of an artificial pond in downtown Toronto;

Love Park, Toronto

Toronto’s Love Park is a labour of green infrastructure love.

Love Park, in the heart of Toronto’s urban waterfront, is a much-needed addition to the city’s public spaces, replacing the grounds of a decommissioned off-ramp of the Gardiner Expressway with a green oasis – with love of the outdoors as its theme. 

Selected through an international design competition held by Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto, renowned landscape architectural practice CCxA Architectes paysagistes inc. (CCxA), along with architects gh3*, designed Love Park with engineering input from Arup. The whimsical, lush, inclusive, and accessible green space designed to naturally absorb stormwater was the clear winner of the international design competition. Green infrastructure permeates the two-acre park and is part of a growing use of nature-based solutions in cities to address increasingly intense rainfall and other challenges posed by climate change by promoting “sponginess” or natural absorbency.  

Arup was tapped by CCxA to help bring the design to life, providing multi-disciplinary engineering services including structural, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical, and civil engineering.


Project Summary

2 acre park featuring nature-based solutions

165meters of 'urban love' seating on the pond wall edge

100year storm event green infrastructure ready design

Several people wearing site safety gear visit an urban park Several people wearing site safety gear visit an urban park

I deeply appreciate Arup’s first-principles approach to innovation. They’ve helped make Love Park a site-specific stormwater sponge ready to handle more extreme events in the future. ” Marc Hallé Co-President, CCxA

A design to sustainably protect and preserve a city’s waterfront

Arup is proud to have provided its expertise in green and blue infrastructure to develop the resilient stormwater management system that underlies Toronto’s Love Park. Officially opened on June 23, 2023, Love Park welcomes residents in its central location near the shores of Lake Ontario. By implementing nature-based solutions and green infrastructure into its design, Arup’s team helped create a space that is as resilient as it is inviting.

Characterized by a high water table and permeable native soils, Love Park’s water story was developed in direct response to the site’s unique challenges and opportunities. Arup addressed the challenge of groundwater clearance by designing a shallow, yet extensive and interconnected stormwater management system that enhances the site’s potential for stormwater retention and detention. Layers of bio-engineered soil buried beneath elevated grassy mounds are hydraulically connected for even circulation of retained stormwater, maximizing the return of water to the soil. For added resilience, redundancy was added to the system in the form of overflow connections, which discharge water into the local stormwater sewer system only after the interconnected bioretention network has been completely saturated.


A design that serves people first

Living up to the park’s name, a heart-shaped pond is its main attraction, with one preserved tree at its centre. A glass tile mosaic in different shades of red along its 165-metre edge serves as an “urban love seat” with ample space for park-goers. Paths wind through abundant greenery, providing the perfect setting for community events, and there is a thoughtfully designed off-leash area for dogs. 

The rolling, grassy mounds buffer visitors from adjacent roadways and offer space for leisure with different vantage points. At the southeastern edge of the park, a trellised steel pavilion hosts a canopy of wisteria that will provide shade in summer.


Arup’s green and blue infrastructure expertise recognized across Toronto

Arup has leveraged its expertise in green and blue infrastructure in other Toronto parks, including Corktown Common, Aitken Place Park, and Leslie Lookout Park, which will be completed in the summer of 2024. We have also worked with the City of Toronto to create recently adopted Green Infrastructure Guidelines involving extensive consultations with industry professionals and local community groups. The guidelines are proven, accessible, and comprehensive technical standards that support the implementation and lifecycle of green infrastructure in Toronto, and will be used by consultants, developers and contractors on future construction and road retrofit projects in the city.

The multiple benefits that nature-based solutions and green infrastructure provide include stormwater management and flood prevention, urban heat island reduction, regeneration of urban sites, and reconnection with nature. We are proud to have been part of the team incorporating sustainable and resilient nature-based infrastructure in Love Park. ” Munir Al-Hashimi Munir Al-Hashimi Principal