PRINCE ARTHUR’S LANDING

PRINCE ARTHUR’S LANDING

Architect
Brook McIlroy
Location
Thunder Bay, Canada
Project Year
2014
Category
Parks/Gardens

Urban Green Spaces

Pavilions
Stories By
Brook McIlroy

Entro
Brook McIlroy Architects

THUNDER BAY’S SPECTACULAR NEW WATERFRONT DESTINATION

Brook McIlroy as Architects

Thunder Bay’s revitalized waterfront, which opened in December 2011 and was designed by Brook McIlroy as lead consultant, has been recognized through ten national and international design excellence awards.


The Prince Arthur’s Landing project has transformed the City of Thunder Bay’s waterfront into a mixed-use village and highly animated waterfront park that reconnects the downtown to the shores of Lake Superior. The waterfront officially opened to the public on December 16th, 2011, and has since seen record attendance and continues to be met with overwhelming industry acclaim and community support. To-date, the project has received ten design awards from architecture, landscape architecture and urban design industries, including the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Urban Institute, the Waterfront Center (D.C.), the International Downtown Association, and the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects, amongst others. Please see attached notes for full listing.


Commencing in 2006, the City of Thunder Bay commissioned a team led by Brook McIlroy to design its new waterfront to enhance the City’s image and high quality of life. With a vision led by urban designers, planners, architects and landscape architects, in conjunction with all levels of government, the project demonstrates innovation in creating activities, forms and spaces that integrate local culture and reflect the uniquely indigenous opportunities of sustainable city building in North America. The redesign of the City’s historic port provides residents with a truly unique waterfront destination that embodies the spirit of this spectacular setting.


In 2009, the City was awarded the second largest contribution in Ontario under the National Infrastructure Stimulus Fund program. Through a $22 million investment, the City successfully leveraged a comprehensive revitalization project with a construction value of $120 million, composed of $55 million in public sector funding, along with by $65 million of private sector investment.


The project is based on a philosophy of urban design which embodies the spirit, materiality and culture of northern Ontario and this magnificent waterfront setting overlooking “Nanabijou” / the Sleeping Giant – a landform on the horizon, which is one of Canada’s most powerful and iconic natural vistas.


Inspiration was drawn from thousands of years of aboriginal settlement history; the western threshold of the greatest and largest freshwater ‘sea’ in the world; the launch-pad of settlement of Western Canada; the junction between the western railways and ships of the Great Lakes; and, the place where western and northwestern Canadian troops bid farewell as they headed off to WWI and WWII.


Key components of the project’s public elements include:  An extensive waterfront park network including dedicated trails and a sequence of highly landscaped thematic destinations incorporating water features and $760,000 in public art installations.  Water Garden Pavilion – a public building consisting of ‘The Clearing,’ a full service restaurant, the ‘Mariner’s Hall’ public event space, and support services for the adjacent water feature which provides winter skating and a summer splash pad.  Baggage Building Arts Centre – a renovated 1900’s heritage ‘Baggage Building’ structure with a two-level addition containing a public art gallery, retail, artisan studios and fine arts teaching areas.  Market Square and Waterfront Plaza – located at the heart of the project, these outdoor spaces provide a beautiful multi-purpose piazza area.  Pond Pavilion – a support building for nearby waterfront recreation activities as well as providing bicycle, canoe, kayak and children’s paddleboat rentals.  Skate Board Park – an exciting activity area and source of entertainment for visitors.  Spirit Garden – an outdoor performance/gathering area and rich public park space featuring landscapes and structures which honour Thunder Bay’s Aboriginal heritage.  A 276-slip Marina.


Private sector components include:  CN Station – a three-storey heritage building that is being renovated and leased to accommodate a high-end restaurant and other amenities that will enhance visitors’ experiences.  Market Building – a two-storey building that will house retail, food/beverage and office building uses.  Waterfront Hotel: a 150-room, Delta hotel and conference centre.  Two Condominium buildings with 99 units.


Announced on September 12, 2012, Brook McIlroy was named lead architect for the design of the new Delta Hotel on Thunder Bay’s waterfront. The hotel, featuring 9,000 square feet of conference and meeting space, a 5,300 square foot ballroom with waterfront views, and a full service restaurant and lounge, is slated to open early 2014.



Prince Arthur’s Landing

Entro as Consultants

Prince Arthur’s Landing is a former commercial port that features enormous piers, warehouses, rail facilities, and a foundry. The piers were converted to public promenades, open space, and facilities for recreational boating. The mixed-use development will include condominium buildings, a hotel, retail, and amenities such as gardens, buildings, and open space to serve recreational, historical, and cultural needs.

 

In collaboration with Studio Blackwell, Entro designed and implemented a comprehensive signage program that reflects the site’s industrial waterfront heritage.

 

Since there was no existing brand to draw upon for the solution, we turned to the site itself for inspiration. We made an extensive photographic record of the landing and developed insights into how it had been used historically as an important port and shipbuilding facility. It was a terminus for the grain industry, where train cars unloaded their goods into gigantic silos, which were then transferred to ships plying the Great Lakes.

 

The wayfinding system draws upon historic techniques and materials, balanced by new design sensibilities.

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