Rees Street Free Forest

Toronto, ON
  • Park
  • Waterfront
  • Resilience / Climate Adaptation

Banging on trees with sticks. Digging for earthworms. Gathering by the fire. Munching lotus root skewers in the night market. Sipping coffee while watching your kids play. The Rees Street Free Forest – its concentrated landforms and generous, sunny, central lawn – provides an ecological and spatial structure that fosters a full and direct experience of nature in the city for all ages. Developed for Waterfront Toronto’s two-stage design competition in 2018, SCAPE was inspired by the biology, thick section, and tactile richness of the forest itself, and the diversity and welcoming outlook of Toronto citizens, its physical design unlocks a serendipitous array of arts, culture, and nature experiences on the waterfront. The Free Forest grows spatial enclosure and complexity over time, while preserving large open areas that can change daily and seasonally alongside populations that age and evolve. It propagates a place to breathe deeply, connect with each other, play, and feel free.

Our team has developed a tactile, three-dimensional framework for a true 21st Century Park shaped by the geography, topography and history of the region. Toronto citizens are encouraged to become active co-creators of the space, and to freely inhabit a landscape that feels green, wild, and open to interpretation.


BSN Architects
Tillotson Design Associates