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This marks the start of a journey to strengthen our connection with the river

Civitas & Stantec winners of Back to the River Design Competition

November 3, 2015

On November 2nd in the Covent Garden Mezzanine, Civitas: Landscape Architecture Firm and Stantec Consulting Ltd were announced as the winning team of the Back to the River design competition.

Months in the making, the competition finally came to an end as the winning team, Civitas & Stantec were announced. This announcement is an exciting milestone that marks the beginning of a journey to strengthen Londoners’ connection to the city, its heritage and each other.

Spearheaded by London Community Foundation in partnership with the City of London and Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, the Back to the River design competition challenged five finalists to develop visionary designs that will help our community reimagine its relationship with the river.

The project challenged teams to present designs that would strike a balance between environmental sustainability, economic development and community/recreational space. The finalists’ submissions were evaluated by the jury on the following criteria:

  1. Compliance with all submission requirements
  2. Attendance at all required events
  3. Innovative and Imaginative: A creative overall design for the River that integrates its recreational and environmental potential at all three scales of inquiry, and enhances its natural beauty
  4. Design quality and integration: Design strength demonstrated in the details of proposed spaces, features, and inaugural projects
  5. Practical: Achievable, phaseable design proposals, aligned with approved plans and strategies that build on existing initiatives and respect environmental, ownership, regulatory, and other constraints
  6. Social and Environmental Benefits: Design proposals that increase accessibility and activity, improve the environment, and offer opportunities for community and donor sponsorship
  7. Downtown and Economic Regeneration: Design proposals that assist with the revitalization of the downtown and the city’s overall economic improvement


Martha Powell, President & CEO, London Community Foundation says the project was initiated by the Foundation as part of its community mobilization strategy.

“We wanted something that would unite our community around a common cause, something that everyone could take pride in,” says Powell. Because of its significance to London, we knew revitalizing the Thames River could have a great impact on our community. I am thrilled with how engaged the community is with this project.”

“Today is an exciting day as we celebrate what the future of the Thames will be and how Londoners will re-engage with our river and each other,” said Mayor Matt Brown. “Let’s join together as we embark on our journey back to the river.”

“This is great news for our downtown and our river,” says Councillor Tanya Park. “Londoners will be able to enjoy and experience the Thames River like never before.”

“We’re incredibly luck to have access to the Thames River in the heart of our city, in our downtown,” said Councillor Stephen Turner. “I can already envision Londoners taking advantage of the revitalized riverfront thanks to Back to the River.”

Civitas & Stantec will be awarded a design contract with the City of London for at least $200,000 for an inaugural project at the Forks of the Thames. An inaugural project for the SoHo neighbourhood may be the subject of a future competitive contract once capital funding has been secured. London Community Foundation is enthusiastic about moving this project forward.

View Civitas & Stantec’s design

Vanessa Dolishny
Vanessa is the manager of communications at London Community Foundation where she oversees the Foundation's communications and media strategy. A community enthusiast with a passion for creating change, Vanessa loves using her creativity to have a positive impact on the community. When it comes to ideas, the bolder the better!