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plazaPOPS is a non-profit organization that facilitates the transformation of parking lots and other under-invested spaces through temporary “pop-up” installations. Designed as free, safe, and accessible gathering places, these pop-up experiences build on and complement the vibrant cultures, communities, and businesses in the surrounding neighbourhood.

Largely working along suburban main streets, plazaPOPS partners with local community groups, landowners, and businesses through a collaborative design process to support and celebrate the community connections and vital small businesses that exist in these areas. By demonstrating the social, economic, and environmental benefits of trading parking spaces for people places, plazaPOPS aims to inform and inspire the long-term evolution of car-centred urban districts to include more active social space. The organization also advocates for policy change to make it simpler and cheaper for community groups to initiate their own transformations and catalyzes ongoing partnerships between local residents, community organizations, and businesses.

After the success of its 2019 pilot, WexPOPS, plazaPOPS received three years of funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario through the City of Toronto’s Main Street Recovery and Rebuild program, as well as a Partnership Development Grant. This provided an opportunity to further develop a partnership-based model and a new system of modular furniture designed by ERA.

ERA has played a key role as the project’s Landscape Architect, working collaboratively with the plazaPOPS team and BuildingUp, a non-profit construction contractor. In 2022, plazaPOPS at Albion Islington Square was created in partnership with the Rexdale Community Hub and the Albion Islington Square BIA. The project consisted of four sites spread throughout the BIA. In 2023, plazaPOPS partnered with the Wexford Heights BIA and the Working Women Community Centre and launched Wexford Blooms, a series of installations along Lawrence Avenue East.

Greater Toronto Area
Stuart Chan/Tupac Espinoza/Rui Felix/Teagan Hyndman/Graeme Stewart/Jennifer Wan


  • City of Toronto Urban Design Awards: Special Jury Award for Community Activation, 2023

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