Sure, it was probably the coldest day of the summer, but that didn’t stop a huge crowd from coming out on Thursday, August 14th to the first ever NXT City Prize awards party, which happened to be taking place in a temporarily converted parking lot on Adelaide and John. Made to look and feel like a city park, complete with bench-like seats and food trucks, the parking lot was the meeting grounds for design enthusiasts and NXT City Prize nominees alike. Guests of the Distl-organized event were treated to complimentary drinks and tunes from DJ Kris Steeves as they looked at the short-listed designs prior to the awards ceremony.
After over 120 Torontonians, under the age of 30, submitted their ideas for re-imagined public spaces in Toronto, the finalists selected for the grand prize ($5,000 in cash and an additional $10,000* to work with a team of experts to turn the idea into reality) were pretty impressive – so impressive that mayoral candidates Olivia Chow and John Tory came out to see how young Torontonians envision the future of Toronto’s urban landscape. Rob Ford was a notable no-show. Jennifer Keesmaat, the Chief Planner of the City of Toronto and one of the six judges, was also at the party to help hand out the awards.
The first ever NXT City Prize went to – drum roll – Richard Valenzona. His winning design re-imagined Yonge Street as a pedestrian-only street that bridges the urban experience with a community-focused vibe; a meeting place where Torontonians mingle on the longest street in the world. We love the idea of a new feel on Yonge Street, and we were also very impressed that the next gen, aka Young Street if you will, is full of refreshing ideas to make the future, and our city, a better, happier place.
Are you loving the idea of a new Yonge Street? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.