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BoBo is a French expression, short for Bourgeois Bohème, and it pretty much describes who we are.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Canoe Landing: A Park is Born

The appropriately named Canoe Landing Park recently opened in Toronto in the rapidly developing (& as yet nameless) neighbourhood west of Spadina & north of the Lakeshore.
We're not sure if this location was historically a landing place but we do know that the shore of Lake Ontario was at one time approximately where the big red canoe is located. Fort York, which lies just to the west across Bathurst Street, was once at the water's edge. Perhaps Douglas Coupland discovered that this was once the 'port' of the early settlement when he did his research for this commission. Or perhaps the canoe is simply a bold artistic device. (He has described it as a light-hearted means to provide connection between the park & the lake)

Above is a rendering of the entire park. The canoe is perched at the ridge of a large earth berm that gently ramps up from Fort York Boulevard just to the west of a paved north-south axis that divides the park. To the east of the berm & axis (right side in the rendering) are a couple of large rectangular grass areas, at least one of which is equipped with sports field-style lighting masts. Expect to see lots of pick-up soccer games here in the future.

There are two other bold-move features in the space: The first, visible in the rendering at the bottom of the path leading down from the canoe as a blue half-ellipse, is a large planter filled with grasses, (perhaps suggesting a pond or wetland?) which culminates in a white log 'beaver dam' (photo below)
The other feature element is the large paved plaza filled with colourful fishing bobbers (more pics further down in the post)

Encircling the park is the Terry Fox Miracle Mile (actually half-mile!), a pathway whose route is marked by red maple leaves embedded in the concrete.

Along the Fort York Blvd section are installation pieces that reference the brave life of this young man. On the plinth below the image of the Henkell bottle (above) is the following plaque:

To our mind, a stand-out highlight of the new park is the array of sculptural fishing bobbers on posts. Their resolute verticality is very appropriate for the tower-surrounded setting, yet their vivid & playful colours ensure you don't take them seriously. (come to think of it, how could the absurdity of giant fishing bobbers on sticks be taken any other way than non-seriously?!)

Canoe Landing Park opened at the end of April, so not surprisingly it doesn't yet look too 'park-like'. We have a feeling, though, that as the trees grow up & the other planting grows in, this will become a stand-out green space downtown. It's considerable size coupled with it's enclosure by tall buildings will work together to create one of the city's great urban rooms.
Maybe we'll catch you sipping a glass of wine & paddling off into the sunset across the ever flowing river of the Gardiner Expressway
(photo above from the National Post)

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