Set the date! The grand opening of Love Park takes place June 23
After much anticipation, Love Park is officially open to the public this Friday June 23! This Waterfront Toronto project broke ground in July 2021 as part of the organization’s efforts to revitalize the city’s Harbourfront and increase green spaces in a downtown dominated by skyscrapers. Designed by CCxA (formerly Claude Cormier et Associés) in collaboration with Gh3 and Arup, the park’s instantly iconic heart-shaped pond and lush, surrounding grounds replacing the Gardiner Expressway’s offramp at York Street and Queens Quay West.
This two-acre park is designed as a meeting ground and communal space, featuring 12 café-style tables, 51 moveable chairs, nine bronze-casted animal sculptures of native-Canadian species, a 255-square-metre, off-leash dog park and, of course, the main muse of the park: the heart-shaped pond framed in hand-laid Mexican Smalti mosaic tile fabricated by Mosaika.
The pavilion, designed by Gh3, was among the features that earned the park a winning title at the 2018 international design competition held by Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto Parks. Originally created to visually represent the transition between urbanism and nature with its stainless-steel structure, mirrored finish, and bold crimson interiors, its final form sees a metal trellis with abstract interloping rods covered in flowering wisteria, creating a beautiful juxtaposition of the industrial landscape and natural elements. Underneath, the foundation integrates a soil system that supports the growth of large vines.
Beauty is not the only thing that Love Park offers, but also environmental support and safety; its design retains and filtrates 90% of all rainfall on the site, which is used by the park’s trees or returned to the groundwater table.
Alongside its architectural features, Love Park is now home to 38 new trees, including ginkgoes, dawn redwoods, lindens, Dutch Elms, American elms, tulip trees, London plane trees, weeping willows, and silver maples. Among this collection, a mature Northern Catalpa tree stands out in the centre of the pond, surrounded by water.
The surrounding pathways were designed for short and long-term flexibility, creating space for pop-up markets and event staging, along with a new sidewalk along York Street to ease the Financial District’s bustling traffic. Beyond all the noteworthy adornments, Love Park gives visitors great vantage points of Queens Quay Terminal Clock tower – and a warm, fuzzy feeling.