Toronto Through My Lens

Tag: QueensQuayW

Love Park

Earlier this year a new park opened in downtown Toronto. Dubbed Love Park, it is located at the southern foot of York Street and Queens Quay (96 Queen’s Quay West, to be exact). The 2-acre park responds to the need for flexible public space in the southern Financial District and Harbourfront neighbourhood.

Talk about making ugly turn beautiful: the former use of this space was the York-Bay-Yonge eastbound off-ramp of the Gardiner Expressway. During 2016-17, the ramp was removed and the space reclaimed for public use.

The project timeline went something like this:

  • June 2020: Design
  • July 2021: Construction starts
  • Spring 2023: Construction complete
  • June 23, 2023: Park opens with ribbon-cutting ceremony and community celebration

Here’s how Love Park looks from above:

Disclaimer: Not my image

Love Park is a deliberate departure from the hard surfaces dominating downtown Toronto, with healthy existing mature trees retained and dozens of new trees being planted. Tree-lined sidewalks outline the entire perimeter and internal pathways of the park site, marking the transition into a calm urban refuge. Rolling elevated grassy mounds provide further buffer from the adjacent roadways and offer space to relax and enjoy the park at different vantage points.

Love Park’s pond was designed and built as a natural pond, which mimics a wetland and uses a natural water filtration system, not chlorine. Foggy pond water with a green hue can occur for a few weeks while the water system balances its water chemistry. The pond water remains safe and is monitored and maintained as required. The changing water hue and clarity can be affected by fluctuating water temperatures, rainwater, sun and shade.

Plenty of little critters around the park…

If you’d like to learn more about the creation of Love Park, click here to go to the architect’s website, Claude Cormier & Associés.

“Sundial Folly”

Sundial Folly is a large concrete ball sitting on the edge of Lake Ontario. Located at at 25 Queen’s Quay West, it was created by John Fung and Paul Figueiredo and installed at Toronto’s Harbourfront in 1995.

A folly in architectural terms is a building or structure built for decoration without any real function. This particular folly, though, is supposed to work as a sundial – I’m not sure if that happens or not. Even if it is useless as a sundial, it’s an interesting piece of art and you can actually go inside of it.

Someone, obviously an “Aliens” fan, created this image on the inside of the sculpture

The folly rests in a pool of water. The water feeds a small waterfall that tumbles a few feet into Lake Ontario on the east side of the pier in Harbour Square Park.

Simcoe WaveDeck

The Simcoe WaveDeck is one of four WaveDecks along Toronto’s Harbourfront. Located at the foot of Simcoe Street – 234 Queen’s Quay West to be exact – it opened in June 2009.

Located at the water’s edge, the wooden Simcoe WaveDeck features an informal public amphitheatre-style space with curves that soar as high as 2.6 metres above the lake. Inspired by the Canadian cottage experience and the shorelines of Ontario’s great lakes, the WaveDeck is meant to give urban dwellers a feel for life at the lake.

The other WaveDecks along the Harbourfront are the Spadina WaveDeck (foot of Spadina Avenue), the Rees WaveDeck (west of Rees Street on the south side of Queens Quay), and the Parliament WaveDeck (foot of Parliament Street; currently under development).

The WaveDecks were designed by the firm West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The WaveDecks have achieved the Award of Excellence, Ontario Builders Awards (2009) and were nominated for the Conde Nast Traveller Innovation and Design Awards (2010).

The Spadina WaveDeck has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including a Toronto Urban Design Award. It was also the first Canadian project ever to be short-listed for the world-acclaimed Brit Insurance Design Awards.

The Rees WaveDeck has been honoured with several awards including a Bronze Medal for Landscape Design from the Design Exchange.

The Simcoe WaveDeck’s Construction

To see a time lapse video of the Simcoe WaveDeck’s construction, check this out:

Future Plans

There is to eventually be a total of 8 WaveDecks along the Harbourfront, and they promise to totally transform our waterfront.

Here’s an interesting video from our controversial architecture critic Christopher Hume, discussing this project and its expansion:

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