WINNIPEG — The pride and joy of Winnipeg — The Forks — has been named Canada’s top public space in the Great Places in Canada contest.
More than 6,000 nominations were submitted as part of this year’s contest, which is sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Planners.
The public had four months to vote for their favourite in three award categories: great streets, great neighbourhoods and great public spaces. A panel of professional planners then selected the top three winners in each category.
The Forks beat out Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto and Pippy Park in St. John’s in the great spaces category.
"The Forks has evolved into the quintessential example of how physical geography and urban design can come together and create a public space that is memorable, functional, and embodies the historic centre of downtown Winnipeg," said Alex Forbes, assistant director of development services for the City of Fredericton and a CIP member.
"This has been achieved through the creation of extensive trail networks, use of the waterfront in the summer and winter months, outdoor activities for festivals and events, surrounded by great urban design in building and public infrastructure."
The CIP said the top locations are honoured not only because of their popularity, but because they exemplify the highest standards of planning. To be judged a winner, the locations had to meet certain criteria, including:
— promoting social and economic activities
— having a memorable or unique character
— having design or architectural features that are visually interesting
— meeting different aspects of sustainability
— being accessible by different modes of transportation
— reflecting local culture, history, and landscape.
"The voting far exceeded what we were anticipating," CPI president Marni Cappe said of this year’s competition. "People really got involved and wanted to see their favourite location recognized as a Great Place. We tapped into a tremendous pride that Canadians have in the many beautiful places in this country. It was, in a true sense, a celebration of great places."
The top three winners in the great street category (in order of placing) were: Commercial Street in Nanaimo, B.C., Ottawa Street in Hamilton, and Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon.
The top three in the great neighbourhoods category were: Le Petit Champlain in Quebec City, The Hydrostone in Halifax, and Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose First Nation) in Lantzville, B.C.