03-14-23 | Department

Anacaster Park Plans

A Hub of Activity - For All
by Brad Smith, Seferian Design Group

This site plan of the Ancaster School Grounds in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada shows the pro-bono redesign plan of the 18-acre site by Seferian Design Group of Burlington, Ontario.
This expansive field was selected as the future site of the plans drawn. The project is set to begin construction in 2024 if funding comes through.

The Ancaster School Grounds in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, set on approximately 43 acres of land, includes the Ancaster High School, Ancaster Aquatic Centre, and ten full-size soccer fields.
In 1957, 21.15 acres of land was purchased from Vernon Jerome, a farmer, for the construction of a high school and numerous soccer playing fields. The second parcel of 21.85 acres was purchased in 1967 for the construction of the west annex of the school and the future construction of the Ancaster Aquatic Centre.

Ten years later, in August of 1967, the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) purchased the second parcel of land again from the estate of Jerome and developed the site into a high school. Since 1967, the area and surrounding landscape have seen steady growth and development, turning Ancaster into a sought-after community.
Through the years, the townspeople of Ancaster used this land for all kinds of community events. As Ancaster grew, this land became more and more ingrained in the fabric of the community. Today, the community uses it for everything from soccer, football, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, running, dog walking, and large gatherings for events such as charity fundraisers, sports tournaments, and Ancaster Heritage Days.
In June 2018, approximately 18 acres were selected for a potential severance in a vote taken by the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board trustees to sever the grounds of Ancaster High School. This allowed the site to be potentially sold for development.
The Ancaster Community Group was formed by over 11,500 residents who voiced concern for the HWDSB and the City of Hamilton. Many of these residents view this 18-acre green space as their hub of community involvement or their "Central Park."
Seferian Design Group worked with the Ancaster Community Group to offer pro-bono conceptual landscape architectural design services to develop the 18-acre land into a multi-use park space. According to the Ontario Regulation 9/06, "Criteria for Determining Cultural Heritage Value or Interest," the property has historical value because it "has direct associations with a theme, event, belief, person, activity, organization or institution that is significant to the community."
The design team considered the above when designing the park. They also studied existing conditions, natural systems, ecology, and surrounding neighborhoods to develop a park that is contextually appropriate while offering numerous recreational amenities. The landscape program included: Main Park Entrance Plaza and signage, entry plaza with water feature (scrim) and seating, and parking lot (bioswales, LID features, permeable paving, etc.) to name a few.
This unique project represented an opportunity for our team to brainstorm, sketch, test ideas, and draw our way out of complete whitespace and chaos into clear, compelling ideas. The Ancaster School Park can now become a renewed community destination - a hub of activity - for all.


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