Toronto Botanical Garden Launches Expansion Design Project

Award-winning PMA Landscape Architects will lead project design

April 13, 2021 – Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) has selected Canadian landscape design firm, PMA Landscape Architects (PMA), to lead the detailed design process that will bring a much-anticipated expansion project to life.

“If the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have taught us one thing, it is how important our gardens and public spaces are to our well-being, both individually and as a society,” says Cynthia Webb, Vice-Chair, Toronto Botanical Garden. “Our vision is to create a globally renowned botanical garden in Toronto. The current 4-acre site will be expanded to a 35-acre garden and ravine landscape that will offer an oasis to Torontonians for generations to come.”

Botanical gardens play an increasingly important role providing knowledge and understanding of the world of plants and the importance of plants and healthy ecosystems to all other life on earth. Toronto Botanical Garden is embarking on this ambitious capital project to expand its education, horticultural display, conservation and research activities. When completed, the garden is expected to draw over 1 million visitors a year.

The selection of the Toronto-based firm was the result of a comprehensive and rigorous competitive process. PMA brings a multi-disciplinary team of consultants—including architects, garden designers, ecologists and more—to the task of envisioning what a contemporary 35-acre botanical garden, uniquely set within Toronto’s ravine system, will be. PMA is known for its professional integrity, creativity, environmental sensitivity and technical knowledge. The studio has extensive experience in large-scale projects including St. James Park, Ramsden Park and TBG’s original 2005 expansion.

“To be given the task of detailed design for a botanical garden is every landscape architect’s dream. It happens only rarely in Canada, and our firm is honoured to have been selected,” says Fung Lee, Principal, PMA Landscape Architects.

Located at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Leslie Street, encompassing Edwards Garden, the expansion was launched by TBG and approved by City Council in 2018. In making this possible, Council and staff have embraced a contemporary governance model that sees a City-owned asset managed with the botanical and business expertise of a non-profit cultural organization.

“We have a tremendous and productive partnership with the City of Toronto. We appreciate the trust they’re placing in us to build and manage this civic gem for the benefit of all,” says David McIsaac, CEO, Toronto Botanical Garden.

Detailed design is expected to continue into 2021 with Phase 1 construction commencing upon City of Toronto and Toronto Region Conservation Authority approvals in 2022. Funding for the detailed design process was raised from private sources by Toronto Botanical Garden, a registered charity.

“We are so grateful to the generous individuals who have shared and supported our vision of a 21st century botanical garden that aspires to become a dynamic hub for plant-centred learning, conservation and research,” says Harry Jongerden, Garden Director, Toronto Botanical Garden.