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Artist rendering of King's College Circle, with University College in the background and the grassy field in front with cherry blossom trees in bloom. Students are sitting on benches, and a soccer game is underway.
Rendering courtesy of KPMB Architects

A Bright Future for Front Campus

U of T’s plans for new trees, gardens and green space around King’s College Circle bring the university a $100,000 gift

The University of Toronto will plant more than 200 new trees around King’s College Circle and Hart House Circle – and preserve 365 others – as part of its Landmark Project to revitalize the historic centre of the St. George campus.

The plan, which will help the city toward its goal of 40 per cent tree cover, recently received a $100,000 grant from the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation, with funding from the City of Toronto.

The Landmark Project, which goes to Governing Council this fall, will renew 35,000 square metres of green space at the heart of the St. George campus. The planting of dozens of new trees and gardens around King’s College Circle – and throughout the whole project area – along with the replacement of roads with pedestrian and cycling paths, will be one of the most noticeable changes.

Bursts of colour

Joseph Bivona, a project manager with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), the landscape architecture firm working on Landmark, says his team has chosen several flowering species to highlight the change of seasons, particularly winter to spring.

As students are writing their final exams in April, King’s College Circle will brighten with colour – pink cherry blossoms, bright yellow dogwood buds and magenta redbud blooms. “We’ve chosen trees that will flower early and bring lots of joy,” says Bivona. As the leaves turn in the fall, the circle will shimmer with red, orange and gold.

Because front campus is used for recreation, MVVA will set the flowering trees in clusters around the outside of the field; taller oaks and maples will stand in the corners of the site, providing shade for studying and relaxing. Small plazas and seating areas will offer a chance to take in the view.

Broad-based support

Along the west side of Tower Road, next to the playing fields, new amphitheatre-style seating will be added. Columnar oaks will rise behind the seats, forming what, from the north end of the road, will look like a wall of green – with gaps that become visible as you walk toward Soldiers’ Tower. “The oaks will really put the focus on the tower,” says Bivona.

So far, nearly 2,100 alumni and friends have contributed more than $5.9 million to the project. The support is an indication of how strongly alumni feel about the central campus landscape and the university’s plans for it, says Donald Ainslie, principal of University College and co-lead of the Landmark Project.

A perfect partnership

Amory Ngan, the project manager for the city’s tree-planting strategy, says U of T’s Landmark project gives the city the opportunity to add trees to one of the municipality’s largest and most heavily used green spaces on private land. The Landmark project, adds Ngan, “serves as a great example for what other institutions in the city might be able to achieve. It’s absolutely fantastic.”

Visit to learn more about how to support the Landmark project.

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