The Amazing Kinsmen Carpark, Edmonton Canada.

Urban Trees for Shade & Stormwater Management at Kinsmen Sports Centre in Edmonton, Canada

Key Facts

Project Location:
Kinsmen Sports Rehabilitation Centre


Project Partners:
City of Edmonton,
Ground Cubed Landscape Architects
HML Construction
Norwood Waterworks/EMCO

Kinsmen Carpark Project Overview

Kinsmen Sports Centre has been operating since 1968 and is located on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River in the middle of Edmonton.  The facility focuses predominantly on sports and fitness training, athletic competitions and events.

The need to upgrade the sports centre was identified by all levels of government to encourage the physical activity and well-being of its citizens and bring the centre up to International standards to increase the exposure of Edmonton on the National and International stage.

During this Construction, Citygreen’s Stratavault was incorporated in the upgrade to the carpark to serve two distinct yet important purposes:

  1. Provide adequate soil levels and soil quality for trees to flourish, grow, & provide shade for the carpark through tree canopy cover
  2. Serve as a water run-off and stormwater catchment area below the carpark itself.

“We saw an opportunity to implement low impact development to deal with stormwater management, but also to ensure that whatever trees were being proposed, had adequate soil volume”

- Natalie Goulet-Sorenson
  Ground Cubed Landscape Architects

Kinsmen workers installing infrastructure in the stratavault matrix

Kinsmen Carpark Project Challenges

In Canada, capturing stormwater is a mandatory requirement for all new constructions, as a means to effectively manage water and prevent a higher level of pollutants from entering municipalities. In recent years there has been a surge of architects, engineers, and planners seeking greener underground solutions that maximize natural resources and landscape.

Citygreen's Stratavault offers a cohesive solution that connects stormwater management with landscape tree design. Instead of stormwater immediately entering the city infrastructure and depleting the valuable water resource by taking it out of area, our Stratashield product directs the stormwater into the Stratavault matrix.

This innovative system allows trees and soil to utilize the water, effectively cleansing it of contaminants before permitting the cleaner excess water to enter the pit's base chamber. This design enables the recycling of water for on-site irrigation & a slower release back into the city's infrastructure during periods of lower demand


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As Eric Keller from Norwood Waterworks highlights

“By planning projects to direct stormwater runoff into soil cells rather than any form of cage or pond, developers would be able to meet any soil volume or stormwater management goals in one easy way versus having to look into several different forms of management”

Kinsmen workers installing stratavault

Choosing the Right Trees for Edmonton's Climate

When selecting trees for a shade canopy in Edmonton's climate, it's important to choose species that are well-suited to the local environment. Edmonton has a continental climate with long, cold winters and short, warm summers, so it's important to choose trees that can withstand these conditions.

For this project, Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) was chosen due to its exceptional qualities as a shade tree in Edmonton, Canada. With its cold-hardy nature and ability to withstand harsh winters, Bur Oak thrives in Edmonton's climate. The tree's wide-spreading canopy provides ample shade for the carpark, shielding vehicles from the sun's heat. Its deep root system ensures drought tolerance, making it well-suited for Edmonton's dry summers. Moreover, Bur Oak is a long-lived species, guaranteeing lasting shade and beauty for years to come for the car park. This native tree also supports local wildlife with its abundant acorns, fostering biodiversity within the park.

Why Stratavault?

For this project, collecting the stormwater was crucial in the overall design, as it needed to account for a 1 in 100 year storm event and the elevated levels of contaminants typically found in parking lot runoff due to the city's winter practices. Snow removal and salting were a concern as the current stormwater system discharged directly into the North Saskatchewan River. Tyson Buckley, Design Lead at Citygreen, highlights the advantages of Stratavault, stating,

“The advantage of using Stratavault over a standard containment tank on a site would be primarily the full-season use of on-site stormwater versus the storm catchment at high rain events.”

The utilization of the soil vault as a dedicated area for tree root growth, in conjunction with its stormwater containment capabilities, presents a holistic approach to site design. By allowing trees to establish healthy roots within the vault, the system enhances overall tree stability and longevity. Simultaneously, the stormwater containment function ensures that excess water is effectively managed, reducing the risk of flooding and preserving the quality of water resources within the surrounding environment.

Additionally, Nolan Halonen, Landscape Architectural Technologist from Ground Cubed Landscape Architects highlighted the following reasons Stratavault was chosen for this project:


  • 100% Recycled Plastic: Stratavault modules are made out of 100% recycled polymer plastic. No virgin plastics are used, leading to a more sustainable outcome.
  • Workability: The structural workability of Stratavault when factoring in the engineering requirements of parking lots and drive lanes exceeded that of other options
  • Void space: Stratavaults 90% void space meant that they were able to achieve the soil volume and stormwater retention requirements with less units
Stratavault being installed at Kinsmen sports centre edmonton canada

Kinsmen Carpark Project Outcome

In conclusion, the outcome of the project showcases the successful integration of tree canopy shading and stormwater management within Kinsman Sports Centre's carpark in Edmonton. This sustainable solution not only provides comfort and protection from the sun's heat but also contributes to water conservation, local biodiversity, and the long-term viability of the carpark infrastructure. By incorporating innovative and environmentally friendly approaches, the project sets an example for future developments seeking to enhance both functionality and sustainability.

Need more trees? Talk to our team.

Kinsmen Carpark Projected completed

spacer kinsmen Citygreen

“Great customer service, quick response times and a very in depth QA system with constant support.”

- Laura Wiesenekker, Project Engineer, Densford Civil -

“Citygreen is a very professional  business, and I found everything was great in terms of deliveries, product supply and information. It was all forthcoming and helped us to complete the project.”

- Keith Burns, Architect/Designer, Keith Burns Architect -

“Citygreen offered training and invaluable technical assistance during the works.”

- James Callan, Estimating Manager, Complex Co Pty Ltd -

“Our experience, in working with a Citygreen Design Studio was second to none. We found responses from the design studio to be very timely, and technically thorough. We went backwards and forwards a number of times, looking at different iterations of the design and, nothing was too much trouble to examine and explore different possibilities. I would highly recommend the Citygreen Design Studio to any future client considering using your services.”

- Sandra Smith, Principal Landscape Architect, City Of Monash -

“We are big on compliance on all projects, and the fact that their SmartCertify cloud platform covers all bases, and supports their 20 year warranties, is critical – especially that these pits are being installed under roadways and footpaths.”

- Johny Purkaystha, Civil Program Engineer, Central Coast Council -

"I reviewed all the previous projects that we have installed in the past couple years using your product and I can happily report back that we have 0% mortality in the soil cells, which is incredible!"

- Brendan Wilton, CEO, Trim Landscaping, Bedford, Canada -