Big things are happening in Vaughan, Ontario. Really big things. The Vaughan Metropolitan Centre is a 400-acre parcel of land where a multi-year, multi-phase development is literally building a city.
Smart VMC encompasses 100 acres within VMC and is one of the first areas to be developed. Its master plan, developed with TK-based Diamond Schmitt Architects and TK-based landscape architect Claude Cormier + Associates identified a large linear park in the center of the 100 acres and a transportation hub with a subway station and a rapid bus terminal. Sophie Beaudoin, senior landscape architect and principal partner with CC+A, envisions a future with neighborhoods, shops, and office buildings emerging as the extended subway line gives Toronto commuters a new place to call home.
CC+A’s vision was to design for an efficient flow of pedestrians, access to and ease of commute, and a network of public services connected to a network of parks. “We were designing [in] an empty space, so we could build character from scratch,” says Beaudoin. “Smart VMC was mainly hardscape, so introducing environmental components such as parks, trees, and water was important in our design.”
Trademarks of CC+A’s landscape design, the linear park’s bold patterns and shapes are present throughout Smart VMC. Site elements draw people to its public spaces as they wait for buses and subways or just relax and enjoy the views.
The promenade features several Landscape Forms products, including Parallel 42 and Gretchen benches; Ashbery area, path, and wall-mounted lights; and MultipliCITY path lights. “The Parallel 42 benches give the civic building’s plaza its own signature,” says Beaudoin, “and add a sculptural element to the space.” CC+A selected Ashbery lights for their timeless design. “We liked Ashbery’s old European feel but also its contemporary sleek design. We wanted a lighting feature that would stay relevant over time.” Gretchen benches, “the quintessential park bench,” add a park-like feel to the promenade, says Beaudoin. “In all our choices—from pavers to furniture—we think not only about good design but also about durability, sustainability, and urban-proof materials.”
With phase one still in development and years of construction to come, Smart VMC will be a much different scene in 10 to 20 years. “There will be neighborhoods, commercial spaces, retail, cultural components, schools, and more,” predicts Beaudoin. “Smart VMC will be a city in and of itself.”