Toronto Through My Lens

Tag: YorkSt

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.

Banksy at One York

Today we look at Banksy’s Guard with Balloon Dog.

Banksy is the pseudonym of a UK-based street artist, political activist and film director, whose real name and identity remain unconfirmed and the subject of speculation. Active since the 1990s, Banky’s satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stencilling technique.

His works of political and social commentary have appeared on streets, walls and bridges throughout the world. Like Toronto’s own Elicser, Banksy’s art has a style which is instantly recognizable.

Here in Toronto we are fortunate to have his Guard with Balloon Dog (2010). It used to be on the exterior of what was formerly OPP headquarters in downtown Toronto. The building was torn down to make way for residential and commercial towers, but a section of the wall with the art was saved. Menkes, the company who redeveloped the site at One York Street, preserved the concrete slab and it now has a permanent home on the mezzanine level of One York Street.

There used to be 7 Banksy works scattered around Toronto, but several were destroyed or painted over. Now only two exist, including Guard With Balloon Dog.

Everything you could ever want to know about Banksy is located here.

Shooting “Guard with Balloon Dog” at One York Street

Here are some examples of Banksy’s work (disclaimer: only the first image is mine):

I came across this piece while I was visiting St. Austell in the UK. The work resides on a door beside the Cafe Tengo. If it’s not a genuine Banksy, it’s a great imitation.

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