Mulock Park

PLANT Architect Inc.

In 2018, the Town of Newmarket – population 90,000+, just north of Toronto – purchased the Mulock Property, the extant core of a former 250-acre estate. Although Sir William Mulock (1843 – 1944) figured prominently in politics, higher education, and many other fields, the Town envisioned Mulock Park as living, multi-purpose community space, as opposed to a historical reconstruction. Community consultation with more than 3,000 area residents revealed strong support for transforming the site into an inclusive, Central Park-style hub for outdoor recreation and cultural activities: a place commemorating millennia of local Indigenous and post-settler history and present-day Newmarket’s diversity, while embodying future-forward sustainable design strategies. As a new cultural centre and an ecologically renewed environment for experiencing and learning about nature, situated in the heart of rapidly growing southwest Newmarket, the 16-acre Mulock Park will be key to strong and active community building and a healthy future.

PLANT led the masterplan for the site’s redevelopment, along with its 19th-century manor house and outbuildings, and then led Mulock Park’s design and implementation. (The adaptive reuse of the house as an Art Gallery of Ontario satellite and for food-services purposes is a separate but concurrent project.)

The architecture and landscape of the now-in-construction park are inseparably intertwined: its new structures and the transformed, repurposed outbuildings are modest in scale but thoughtfully configured to introduce cultural and landscape themes along paths throughout the site. A new entry bridge spanning a constructed wetland transforms the marshy, formerly underused southwest corner at Yonge Street and Mulock Drive into new public space. Other destinations include a riverine water feature celebrating the site’s moraine geological formations; a 350-metre woodland skating loop; a four-season skate pond/splash-pad plaza with a new pavilion; the estate’s garage and stables, repurposed for public use as a conservatory and artist residency; community diversity gardens and orchard; a restored and reinterpreted formal historic garden; and a natural playground with the regenerative life cycle of a forest’s trees as its theme. Visitors can explore re-naturalized, restored woods, picnic on expansive lawns, and tour nine permanent artworks commissioned for specific site locations, plus temporary artworks generated from the artist residency.

Mulock Park integrates sustainable new architecture and adaptive reuse with the renewal/re-naturalization of a former estate’s manicured landscapes. A geothermal system, a photovoltaic array shading the parking area, and building envelope design contribute to energy modelling results indicating 54% lower total energy use, 64% lower peak electric demand, and 76% lower greenhouse gas CO2e emission than the minimums required to meet Ontario Building Code SB-10. Low-maintenance, long-lifecycle materials – cedar, concrete block, stone/gravel – predominate.

Low-impact development strategies include prioritizing re-naturalization, green roofs, stormwater retention, and groundwater purification via the new park’s enhanced wetland. All new planting is native, with an emphasis on climate-change-resilient species that promote biodiversity.

Facilities and all trails through the varied topography of this former historic estate will be fully accessible. Careful path placement following existing routes minimizes tree removals and preserves the extensive forest’s root health. Pivotal to Newmarket’s Urban Centres secondary plan, this park anchors an urban growth area designated under Ontario’s Places to Grow policy.

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Andere projecten van PLANT Architect Inc.

Kew Gardens
Forest Hill Village North Gateway
Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization
Liza's Garden, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
Chapman Farm