I was in Atlanta, Georgia, and had an opportunity to flip through a quick tourist magazine. I took some pics, as a lot of what was on offer are ideas I have espoused for Brampton. For instance, I have argued for an installation to be built into the back side of Mt. Chinguacousy. Options include a Hotel, Wedding Facilities, Museum dedicated to Native History, and of course, a Natural History Museum (ie: Dinosaurs).
Again, on the subject of Chinguacousy Park, I have talked about redeveloping the radius around the park into a more urban area. Leveraging the park and the greenhouses and building the density adjacent to the park, including locating the University on the former Peel Regional Police Division site on the south corner of Queen and Central Park Drive, could look something like this picture here:
Recognizing the potential of both Chinguacousy Park, or the Claireville Conservation lands with the newly acquired Golf Course lands adjacent thereto, can be the cornerstone of larger and more urban neighbourhoods, as pictured here as well:
I’ve talked about our need to drive tourism. Building on our parks is a big park of that. So is including active transportation options beyond just adding more parking lots and more buses. Here are some interesting ways to diversify the ways that visitors can interact with our city that I found intriguing:
With Transit as the backbone of the Queen Street Corridor, it is important that we get it right when it comes to moving people from Transit stations to the adjacent activity hubs. From the Peel Centre Drive Bus Terminal to Bramalea City Centre, or from the Gateway LRT Station to the Shopper’s World Bus Station and the Mall itself, we have a choice to make on how we want to build our city. Will it be Brutalism, with its bare concrete affect at low low prices? Or will we invest in something that costs more to build, but acts as a Place Maker to drive tourism and quality of life factors? Consider this commuter corridor for example:
Be it the Rose Theatre or the Powerade Centre, if we can shift our thinking into leveraging our assets into city building units with a radius of redevelopment potential, we can achieve bigger and better cultural outcomes for our city, like these projects:
For with intensification and building areas that are resident and tourist friendly, come private sector investments in tourist attractions and activities as well. M&M’s, Hershey’s, Lego, even Coca-Cola have product themed attractions that can be built into busy areas such as our Malls at Gateway or Bramalea. All it takes is a commitment to expanding our world view to include such activities. We will, of course and as I have discussed on this blog on the topic of zoning and official plan changes, have to make physical room for such installations. But there are definitely possibilities.
The Etobicoke Creek Trail? Why is there nothing buy backyards facing onto this 20km stretch of natural beauty? Why not commercial spaces? Museum spaces? Classroom spaces? An ecological studies facility for Ryerson or for the TRCA? Why not food trucks? Skate and bike rental shops? Sports equipment rental spots? Atlanta has the Beltline? We can have one too, especially if the rumored opportunity to buy the old rail line comes to fruition.
And finally, a project I wrote about after my trip to Scotland last summer, an Aquarium and Marine Life exhibit modeled after the “Sealife Loch Lomond” facility, together with adjoining market, tree treking, birds of prey and equipment rental shops. It was a real tourist attraction for Balloch, it could be one for Brampton in either of Professors Lake or Heart Lake (and yes, we can compete with Ripleys, if we know how to compete. And if we don’t know to compete, well, let’s just bulldoze the city why don’t we?)
I write a lot about ideas. Atlanta is my proof of concept. It’s not the only one, but it was nice to see a city that embraced growth based on serving both residents and tourists alike.