The verdict is in, and the umbrellas are going up! Following an invited competition to design a new public space for the Jarvis Slip, Waterfront Toronto has revealed the winner, unanimously chosen by the design jury: Claude Cormier Architectes Paysagistes Inc.
As outlined in our competition coverage, the Cormier plan—dubbed “Sugar Beach”—will bring an HtO Park-style “urban beach” to the foot of Jarvis Street, dotted with charming steel umbrellas and Muskoka chairs. The sandy wedge sits directly across from the Redpath shipping basin, and also includes a pedestrian promenade and public plaza demarcating the western edge of the upcoming East Bayfront development. The East Bayfront site will eventually host five significant public spaces.
Sugar Beach is based on Cormier’s quirky HtO Park, co-designed with Jarvis Slip competitor Janet Rosenberg + Associates. Unlike HtO Park’s yellow canopies, the umbrellas at Sugar Beach will be multi-coloured—what Waterfront Toronto calls “candy coated,” which is appropriate considering the troublesome sugar dust blowing off the Redpath factory. Results from a dust and emissions study haven’t yet been revealed, but 25–30 ships unload their raw sugar cargo annually from the west side of the slip, which takes about three days per boat. The design submissions were required to take the factory noise and wind-borne debris into consideration.
Canadian-sourced granite boulders will be assembled throughout the park, which the designers hope will serve as vantage points for waterfront events. Local trees will also populate the site, with granite tiles paving the plaza section. A continuous promenade will split the beach and plaza in half at an angle, extending from Queen’s Quay East down to the waterfront boardwalk (the trees and paving along the dockside promenade are part of the existing Waterfront Revitalization Plan and had to remain consistent in materials and design). The plaza will border on the new studios of Corus Entertainment, to be built in TEDCO’s upcoming First Waterfront Place.
No mention was made about a proposed “moon lighting” tower in today’s announcement, although New York-based lighting designer Leni Schwendinger was part of the design team and also created the appealing lighting scheme for HtO Park. The group is rounded out by David Leinster, landscape architect with the Planning Partnership, and design consultant and author Beth Kapusta, both from Toronto. Landscape architect Claude Cormier has an obvious knack for combining natural and industrial environments, helming projects like Old Montreal’s Place d’Youville and Lipstick Forest, Shanghai’s Montreal Garden, and the Don Valley Brick Works restoration.
The city’s second dockside beach may not be its last, according to jury member Siamak Hariri: “The jury appreciated the big idea approach for the design of Jarvis Slip with its connectivity and integration to the central waterfront promenade design, and the proposal for the establishment of a larger greater system of beach designs throughout Toronto’s waterfront.” Strangely, Hariri also claims that the jury panel wants to see the signature umbrellas entirely removed from the final installation.
The $4 million project is slated to begin construction in the spring of 2009, and will be complete the following year.