The City of London launched the Thames Valley Corridor: SOHO project to design and create new pathways and park amenities along the Thames River from Wellington to Maitland Street. This project supports recommendations from both the Old Victoria Hospital Lands Secondary Plan and part of the SoHo Community Improvement Plan.

View the "What We've Heard" tab below to see a summary of the feedback collected during our first Community Open House (November 2018) and from the online survey.

Stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved and share your feedback!

Background

Opportunity Statement

The project objective is to generate a long-term concept plan and short term detailed design (associated with Phase 1 implementation) for the Thames Valley Corridor (TVC) on the north side of the Thames River between Wellington Street and Maitland Street, within the Old Victoria Hospital Lands.

The concept plan and detailed design developed from this study will support the goals and objectives of the SoHo Community Improvement Plan and be consistent with Official Plan policies detailed in the Old Victoria Hospital Lands (OVHL) Secondary Plan, while taking into consideration the ‘Ribbon of the Thames’ vision and the City’s desire to maximize the area and value of future OVHL development lands.


Opportunities for the Site :

  • Create Gathering Spaces and Urban Promenade along the top of the Thames River Corridor
  • Establish Programming for District Park
  • Provide Opportunities for views to the Thames River and Other Important Features
  • Improve Pedestrian Circulation and Linkages to Adjacent City Parks and the Thames Valley Parkway
  • Provide a New Local Shared Pedestrian Driveway along the top of the Thames Valley Corridor
  • Improve the ecological health of the Thames River corridor


Study Process:

  • Phase 1 - Site Inventory & Background Investigations
  • Phase 2 - Concept Development, Preliminary Phasing & Budget Assessment
  • Phase 3 - Public Engagement, Concept Design & Budget Refinement
  • Phase 4 - Detailed Design & Tender (Phase 1 Scope)
Map of SoHo project area

Existing Site Context

Share Your Feedback

Community Open House #2 was held on March 19, 2019. This open house was a follow up for the proposed pathway and park project in the SoHo Community. Most of the project site is located on former Old Victoria Hospital Lands and includes the redevelopment of Wellington Valley Park. At this open house, we shared the feedback we heard from the community since our first community open house in November and presented some refinements as well as potential phasing options for the project.

View the presentation boards presented during Open House # 2 and share your feedback in the comment box below.

What We've Heard

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first Community Open House or submitted their feedback through our online survey. We received 61 completed questionnaires, below is a summary of the feedback.

What additional amenities do you think would help animate the site and encourage you, or your family to interact and visit this space?

Pie chart
Pie charts

Summary of comments received online and during Community Open House #1


We heard that water, plants and animals are important. We heard that we should be improving the existing habitats and biodiversity of the site and celebrating the natural heritage of the area. We heard strong support for community gardens and fruit trees throughout the park.

  • Native plants, trees (important)
  • Honour the environment and native species + animals
  • Don’t disturb natural habitats, enhance walkways
  • Connections, interactive elements to the river
  • Native plant species, natural gardens, art/murals
  • Celebrate the existence of birds and creatures (i.e.: turtles, aquatic life, insects) with “identified species story boards”.
  • Garden
  • Clean the water
  • The conversation about the history of the river
  • Prune the trees so you can see (as best as possible) the river during the summer months
  • Food forest & community garden
  • Community garden & fruit trees
  • Space for Urban beekeepers
  • Natural vegetation and protecting the steep banks
  • Nature viewing hides for Birdwatching & Beaver-watching Birdfeeders Eco-tourism Hub (Building with infomation, education about wildlife on the Thames, with viewing area of the Thames) Inclusion of the Thames Valley Trail
  • Fungi - every new development that invades natural spaces kills fungi. There were some unique ecosystems in London that were destroyed through this process. There was a spot near downtown that had the most varied fungi life of anywhere in the city.


We heard that the community was outdoor gathering space for ceremonies and cultural events. We head that passive recreation like walking, birding and access to the water is preferred to more formal recreation amenities like soccer or baseball. We heard desires to use the site throughout the winter for cross country skiing, sledding, skating, and winter festivals.

  • Skating rink/ice skating, Winter slides, tobogganing hill/ area, cross country skiing, ice sheet, snow-shoeing, skiing,
  • Semi-enclosed areas, a non-supervised city-operated skating rink
  • Concert space (small), Festival opportunities, Bandshell for concerts. Infrastructure to support pop up markets or community event
  • Trails, festivals, interactive programs.
  • Fire pit, gazebo, heated igloos. Shelter, covered area,
  • Free
  • Provide spaces for Indigenous people’s ceremonies, gathering area for First Nations Celebrations/Ceremonies
  • Tied in through the art & playground equipment, etc.
  • Paths for walking, paths through naturalized areas, walkways, hiking trails
  • All weather access to viewpoints along the top of the river valley. That might require a pathway that can be plowed and lookouts with roofs, seating, etc.
  • Wood oven → bake bread, etc.
  • Winter bird watching – geese & ducks congregate between Maitland and Adelaide
  • Berms that can be used for tobogganing (a big one for big kids, a little one for little kids)
  • Restaurants/cafés. Vendors (hot chocolate, food), space for an outdoor bonfire & hot cocoa.
  • Sculptures for visitors to enjoy.I’d go just for the joy of being near nature.
  • Plowed walking paths, Navigable pathways. Well lit pathways
  • Cleared paths for wheelchair, winter festival
  • Keep the former Med School Bldg at corner of South/Waterloo (again, copied from above)
  • Setting up decoration with lights
  • The canoe launches require canoeists to carry their canoes a long way from their cars. Sitting area at one end or more canoe launch
  • Parking closer to canoe launches – those things are heavy!
  • Who and how the event spaces are organized and run
  • An opportunity to connect the significance of the river to land based learning opportunities for Schools and child cares in the area
  • Community garden & fruit trees
  • Dog park, spaces for dogs - especially in the winter when no one uses the park, why not make more space for dogs?
  • Set aside area for an urban farming (tying in with the Urban Agriculture Strategy). Also LIDS. More LIDS
  • Informal performance areas (amphitheatre, small covered stage, etc.); public washrooms; opportunities for micro-retail/container markets
  • Programs, shelters, recycling regularly maintained, special events.
  • Evening Access....Lights on trails....Culture/History Centre
  • More garbage cans - you have to walk for miles to find a garbage can. If you are carrying a "doggie bag" the walk is even longer.
  • Exercise equipment for seniors like the ones they have in Japan.
  • It'd be great if there was a foot/ bike bridge to connect Colborne and Trevithen / Rowntree neighbourhood to give cyclists a way to cross the river other than Wellington (DANGEROUS!) or Adelaide. Id use it.
  • Bike-friendly Thames Valley Parkway connection from Wellington to Adelaide on the north side of the river to avoid narrow sidewalk crossings on road bridges.
  • All weather access to viewpoints along the top of the river valley. That might require a pathway that can be ploughed and lookouts with roofs, seating, etc.
  • Warming stations; design optimized to reduce shadows and wind; small entrepreneur-run cafe with hot drinks
  • A covered walking track with a heated surface so there would be no ice/snow on it.
  • Some kind of urban-feeling promenade similar to Ivey park area, with lights and with plowed and salted walkways. Encourage some small cafe or food amenities to open up to offer convenient warm drinks and brief refuge from the cold.
  • Well Maintained Walk-Ways Cafe Covered & heated viewing area of the Thames.
  • Thames Valley Parkway connection and trail networks, plus one major focal point somewhere along the river.

We heard a lot of excitement for the Back to the River project. We heard that we should be planning this project with a connection to Watson Street Park in mind.

  • A pedestrian bridge to join these areas with the parks & trails across the river on south side
  • Pedestrian connection (bridge) between park space on north and south sides of the river
  • Events: Annual Canoe Regatta Race in Victorian Dress, Cricket Picnic, Antique Car Parade
  • Consider both sides of the river, don’t ignore Watson St. Park
  • Safety: The pedestrian bridge would be a good preventative feature to prevent kids crossing the train trestle
  • Bridge
  • Location of future pedestrian/bike bridge from the District Park to Watson Park (connecting Colborne St. bikeway to Trevithen St.)
  • Facilitate the best possible Thames Valley Parkway link on the north side between Wellington and Adelaide. Crossing Wellington and Adelaide bridges' narrow sidewalks on bicycles is frustrating and dangerous. We need more ways to get people across the river that aren’t on three overcrowded roads. We need to get people out of their cars. We need to get people moving.

We heard that fairness and should apply throughout the site. We heard that universal access to Wellington Valley Park should be provided and that pathways should be maintained year round.

  • Good wheelchair access to all areas
  • Free
  • Easy walking on cleared pathway, access across the river to the bike path on the south side
  • Clearing pathways
  • Stairs – the hill is steep, how to get handicapped people down & up
  • Wheelchair accessibility.Get it right the first time.
  • Less stairs, more ramps/gradual slopes
  • Waking and cycling paved path that connects to the TVP and cycling lanes on Colbourne
  • Safe walking paths
  • Urban Farming
  • Linkages to the TVP
  • Accessible
  • Paved walking and cycling paths with connections

We heard that we should celebrate the unique cultural history of the site and surrounding area. We heard that providing space for cultural gatherings is important and that we should provide facilities for public art that is inspired by the past. We heard that we should be providing learning opportunities for youth about the natural and cultural histories of the area.

  • Fire pit, gazebo, gathering area for First Nations Celebrations/Ceremonies
  • Keep the former Med School Bldg at corner of South/Waterloo
  • Industrial/manufacturing artifacts
  • Bring people to the river, some plaques & signs, story tellers on special days
  • By learning more about its history
  • Connections, interactive elements to the river
  • Ensure that the First Nations are represented & consulted during the process. The recently announced Childcare Care Indigenous led [sic] will be constructed at Hill St. & Colborne
  • Provide spaces for Indigenous people’s ceremonies
  • Signage that recognizes the traditional territory and importance of Water as Life
  • Brass plaques describing various features
  • Banners representing historical facts
  • “Here Hear” project on the site giving history of Victoria Hospital
  • Natural playground, public art interpretive of different elements of SoHo (hospital, railroad, working class and others)
  • Information panels re: black history, including directions to the Captain’s House on Wellington, Fugitive
  • Slave Chapel
  • Indigenous art
  • Old-fashioned seating & lighting
  • Art referencing past events/milestones
  • Engage the neighbourhood through community-based arts -
  • Programs and festivals.
  • Interpretation centres could discuss the hospitals history, kilometre markers and direction arrows point to landmarks in London.
  • It would be interesting to have a culture centre which may have specimens collected from the area...it will provide people with knowledge or how the area was settled...its significance to early settlers and the unique speciation of the animals there
  • I really like the plaques/signage in Victoria Park that explains the history of that area/park.
  • Art. Love what they’ve done in OEV/ Adelaide and Dundas.
  • A historic board about the Hospital, and informational board & community sculpture about the indigenous peoples of the area (Use Atlosha or N'Amerind for creative ideas)
  • Whatever happened to the plaque inside the hospital entrance noting the donation from Elsie Perrin Williams?
  • Include photo / interpretive panels about the rich medical/hospital history of the South and Hill streets area and of the heritage buildings including the elegant Gartshore Nurses' Residence and former Crippled Children's Treatment Centre that are short-s...
  • Incorporate the historical style of buildings in the design of any structures include art or murals that reflect the heritage
  • Sight lines to landmark buildings, perspectives, and sites; accessibility and walkability; many, many bike racks!!
  • Historic plaques and storyboards, heritage architectural pieces
  • Just make it usable!
  • No vehicles on the river front between Waterloo & Colborne
  • Abolish the city yard works yard
  • Try to keep getting public input!
  • Keep public aware of ongoing process
  • Zoning for restaurants/pubs/cafés
  • What about the homeless who live on the banks!
  • Dog poop issue: please consider receptacles for this blight of dog poop bags littering our current walking paths from Watson Park to Meadowlilly Woods.No receptacles for disposal.
  • Interesting concept!! Go for it.
  • Need to increase # of low rise apartments
  • Sell 1-2 of the parking lots, use the $ for the bike path
  • Commercial development!Bus/bars?, food, music
  • Free
  • Consider identifying the 'potential development block' on the south side of Nelson St. at Colborne St. as institutional so that a retirement home or something similar can take advantage of the view and the adjacent park.
  • Retail and restaurant space nearby
  • Police presence, regular maintenance and repair of site features.Make sure there are activities for all ages of the population. When future development is approved make sure any buildings are low to medium rise, or stepped. High rises would not fit into the neighbourhood or a natural/park area
  • Vegetation and family areas: help deal with flooding and encourage people to engage with the area asap
  • Phase 1 should include the park access and path system along with any naturalization activities. It takes a long time for the vegetation to grow so that should come first. Phase 2 would be the elements along the top of the river valley.
  • Trees and farm
  • Prioritize elements that will attract people and showcase design excellence of the public realm: playgrounds, multi-use paths that are connected to the existing network, landscape design (including ample trees and shade), functioning public washrooms, fou...
  • Linkages to TVP, TVP Connection, Initial Cosmetics of the park (Lighting, Pathways). Pathways. TVP, beginning of low land.Connections to SoHo.
  • Benches, tables, playgrounds and pathways. Programming and Festivals to attract people and regular visits.
  • Bike and walking paths connected to the TVP and cycling lanes on Colbourne.
  • I think establishing the trail system is important and ensuring it can be accessed throughout most of the day....if lights can be used so that the trails can be accessed in the evening that will be great
  • Dog park (or dog run) and garbage cans. And watch what you kill. That always happens in phase one with the construction bulldozing everything that made the natural space good.
  • Connections to the river, and measures to maintain healthy river environment and habitat
  • The paths along the river and the park at the river bend.
  • Thames Valley Parkway connection and trail networks, plus one major focal point somewhere along the river.
  • any play facilities as there are few in the area
  • Bike & pedestrian paths. Bike path, bridge over river
  • Bridge. Bridge to Watson St.
  • Building of the “Heath” get rid of the city works yard
  • The Heath
  • Gardens. Gardens → Community, *Good food!
  • The green (trees) component. Make the green space usable
  • Naturalized areas, community gardens. Natural areas & pollinator spaces
  • Stairs down to lowland, good path along the shore from Wellington to Colborne
  • Start with the District Park
  • Walkway and clearing the banks of non-native & invasive species
  • Walking path/bike path → set down the bones of the project then fill in other items as budget allows
  • The backbone = bike path from Wellington to Maitland
  • Naturalization areas & gardens
  • Playground
  • Parking so walkers can enjoy even before it is all complete
  • River views for immediate impact on users
  • Clear out the junk trees, weeds and garbage

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NOTICE OF COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

The personal information collected on this form is collected under the authority of the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c. 25, and will be used to provide further information to you with respect to the Thames Valley Corridor Project. General comments will become part of the public record. Questions about this collection should be addressed to Jeff Bruin, Manager Parks & Open Space Design, 267 Dundas Street, 3rd floor, London ON, N6A 1H2. Tel. 519-661-CITY (2489) x 5067.

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