Town of Newmarket reveals three visionary design concepts for the future Mulock Property
Today, three innovative design concepts for the iconic Mulock Property were revealed during a Special Committee of the Whole meeting. The reveal marks a significant milestone in the Mulock Property engagement and design process, bringing the site closer to its future as an inclusive, diverse, natural and forward-thinking destination for the Newmarket community.
"I'd like to thank the thousands of community members who came together over the past year to help us imagine the future of the Mulock Property. Your ideas have inspired us to create a property we know will connect our town for generations to come," says Mayor John Taylor. "We have three exciting design concepts and we need your help to create one preferred design that takes the energized, expressive and peaceful elements from each to develop a space we will all enjoy and feel proud of."
Over the past year, community members have shared their vision and how they'd like to experience the future Mulock Property park. This feedback has shaped the three design concepts, which include;
- Energized, where #mymulock is full of excitement and activity
- Expressive, where #mymulock is a place to create and be inspired
- Peaceful, where #mymulock is a place to relax and recharge
The purpose of the three concepts is to show many possibilities for the park. Through various conversations with local residents, Town Council, students and community leaders, five guiding principles emerged that have helped to guide the project:
- Make it a destination
- Keep it natural
- Root it in diverse histories and look forward
- Create inclusive and accessible spaces
- Connect it to our town
These five principles have been incorporated into the three concepts which the community and Town Council are asked to consider and explore.
"We have just taken the leap from the guiding principles that were distilled from the community consultations, to what all of the specific elements might actually be on the site," says Lisa Rapoport, PLANT Architect Inc. "People expressed a desire for a park to dazzle, while also being as quiet as possible on the land, and the three concepts – Energetic, Expressive and Peaceful – express this range of desires, each with a different character and feel. The final master plan will have elements of all three characters, and we look forward to Newmarket's feedback to help pinpoint what that exact balance will be."
The community's ideas and technical research by the Town's expert team have helped to shape and inspire these design concepts which PLANT Architect Inc. revealed to Council, and viewing public, during a Special Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, September 29. The community is invited to tune into a Facebook Live event on Wednesday, September 30 at 8 p.m. on the Town of Newmarket's Facebook page for a short glimpse into the property's future. RSVP to the Facebook event: Designing the Future for #MyMulock.
About the concepts
Each concept is guided by the five principles and the three designs share many similar features, including a variety of trails, gardens, water features, art and recreational opportunities. However, the concepts prioritize different elements and inspire different emotions.
An Energized Mulock: Village Green is full of excitement and activity, offering opportunities for the community to gather and enjoy food among the beautiful landscape. This Village Green is a place residents of all ages can stay active in their own unique ways – exploring natural play zones, running or skating on the trail, doing yoga, cooling off in an interactive water feature or warming up by a fire pit. Seasonal and changing art will bring the community together at key points throughout the year.
An Expressive Mulock: Culture Hub is a place to be creative and get inspired, where visitors can take in a performance on the great lawn or take long walks through art installations. The Culture Hub offers opportunities for artists and creatives to participate in artist residencies, and where residents and visitors can explore a sculpture garden or visit an arts hub. A water feature, fire pits and other amenities will be infused with artistic flair for visitors to experience.
A Peaceful Mulock: The Arboretum is relaxing and offers a space to recharge in a natural, biodiverse and forested setting. The Arboretum offers walking and skating trails that meander through woods and diverse gardens, including a medicine garden. There are also many opportunities to visit a cafe, get warm by a fire pit or water feature and visit a conservatory, while being immersed in nature.
Feedback from the community and Council will help the design team understand priority elements which can be weaved into one final concept to create a park that is energized, expressive and peaceful, all in one.
Between September 29 to October 12 residents can explore and provide feedback on the thematic concepts - Energized, Peaceful and Expressive - all from the comfort of their home.
Residents can learn more about the three concepts in a variety of ways:
Go to newmarket.ca/mymulock to find these educational tools then share your thoughts in an online survey. Survey will close at midnight on Monday, October 12.
The feedback received will help the design team develop one approach weaving in preferred elements from the three concepts. The one preferred concept will be presented to Council during a Special Committee of the Whole meeting in November/December. In early 2021, the initial Master Plan will be presented to Council. The community is encouraged to follow the Council meetings and provide input to Council for consideration during these meetings.
The community will be invited to review and celebrate the final Master Plan which is targeted to be presented to Council and approved in spring 2021.
Background on the engagement process:
- In spring 2018, following the purchase of the property, the Mulock property was featured at the Town's community open house and the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce Home Show for preliminary engagement with residents. The same summer, members of the York Region Society of Artists were invited to capture the house, grounds and landscape through their art. The exhibit – Mulock Farm: Artists Preserve History – was showcased at Old Town Hall.
- In October 2019, the Town officially partnered with PLANT Architects Inc. and PROCESS (engagement experts) to lead the visioning consultation and Concept Master Plan development.
- Nearly a year ago the Town began a more robust consultation journey by bringing the community onsite for a Harvest Picnic (October 20, 2019). The event drew nearly 1,000 community members who were able to walk the site and get a sneak peek into the home.
- In January/February 2020, the Town conducted thorough community engagement, including focus groups, pop up engagement activities at Town events, school workshops, an online survey which garnered over 1,000 responses and a Community Visioning workshop at Old Town Hall with about 100 participants.
- On May 25, 2020 the phase one Engagement Report was presented to Council (view here). During this Special Council Meeting, Council provided direction on numerous design elements and committed to ongoing consultation with the neighbouring community to ensure the best possible outcome. (Read highlights from this Council meeting)
- On July 29, the consultant team hosted a Mulock Neighbourhood Conversation, conducting a virtual discussion with approximately 27 neighbours of the property to better understand their experiences and perspectives on the vision for the site in order to collectively design solutions to address concerns. Read a summary of the Neighbourood Conversation consultation.
Background on the property
The Town of Newmarket purchased the Mulock Property in October 2018. The 11.6 acre property includes welcoming green space and a historic home, all in the centre of urban Newmarket at the northwest corner of Mulock Drive and Yonge Street. The residence that exists on the property is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. It will be preserved by the Town and considered for uses that will best serve the community. The vision for this property is to create an iconic community park/outdoor green space.
The Mulock site contains layers of diverse histories, starting with the initial stewards of the land, the Indigenous First Nations. In the late 1800s, Sir William Mulock, a politician, jurist, educator, agriculturalist and philanthropist made his home on the Newmarket property, hosting influential people from many different fields. The property was owned by the Mulock family for six generations.