Gore Park, Hamilton, ON
City of Hamilton
City of Hamilton, Tourism and Culture Division;
City of Hamilton, Public Works;
Accessibility & Risk Assessment
Urban Landscape Architecture
In 2008 the City of Hamilton initiated the “Gore Pedestrianization Initiative”. The goal of the Initiative was to “successfully address the current functional requirements of the Gore Area and to help The Gore take this next step in its continuing evolution, by finding a physical form that captures, reflects and celebrates the inherent essence of the space, and ‘puts people first’.” This forward thinking endeavour included the repurposing of the south leg of King Street into a Pedestrian Promenade which visually and physically ties together all three blocks of the Gore Area. Through a rigorous community engagement and internal consensus building process, a single vision for the Gore Area evolved that balanced the community’s and city’s objectives for a high quality, meaningful and Hamilton-specific public realm.
Veterans’ Place, embedded in the centre of Gore’s three city blocks, was selected as Phase One of the Initiative as significant positive changes were needed to address the safety, inclusiveness, sustainability and programming objectives for the site and to establish and reinforce the envisioned personality for the Gore Area. Changes to the area included the construction of the Pedestrian Promenade within the former south King Street right-of-way, the relocated heritage Cenotaph, an open green and a series of new complementary interpretive memorial features that include a free-standing Memorial Wall, a heritage panel and nine double-sided Memorial Enclaves. The design maintains the heritage character of the area through material selection while introducing a new coordinated urbanism and successfully blurring the edge between a profoundly commemorative space and the newly pedestrianized downtown city street.
Phase One, Veteran’s Place exemplifies the blending of excellence in project visioning, planning and urban design, landscape architecture, place-making and downtown revitalization. Veterans’ Place was a product of a well coordinated, dedicated and passionate team that included design consultants, municipal staff, local politicians and business owners, special interest groups, the public-at-large and a highly qualified contractor. The successful implementation of Phase One has been pivotal in recapturing community enthusiasm and generating excitement and support for the upcoming Phases Two and Three of the Pedestrianization Initiative.
The detailed design and engagement process for the implementation of the Gore Pedestrianization Initiative began in February 2013. For over a year the consulting team, city staff, internal and external stakeholders, the Veterans’ Committee and the community worked towards achieving the design goals while keeping the whole project (all three phases) within the $7 million dollar budget. By May 2014, the first phase (Veterans’ Place) began construction and was completed on time in December 2014 with a few minor items completed in spring of 2015. Phase One was delivered for the projected $2.2 million while minimizing the impact of eight months of construction on local businesses and traffic.