As hoarding and construction fences engulf a small, irregularly shaped parcel of Downtown land, a historic Toronto park stands on the precipice of a bold and playful transformation. Berczy Park, situated west of the Gooderham Building between Wellington and Front Streets, is in the process of being less restored than re-imagined, and will greet visitors with a new aesthetic in the summer of 2016.

Berczy Park, City of Toronto, Claude Cormier + AssociésClosed for renovations, image courtesy of UrbanToronto Forum contributor Roundabout

Designed by Montreal's Claude Cormier + Associés, the City of Toronto's new park will be—like its predecessordominated by a large, central fountain. The new Berczy Park's updated fountain will be, however, transformed into an slyly witty work of public art. At the top of the fountain; a giant bone. Around it? Sculptures of 27 dogs and a single cat. 

Berczy Park, City of Toronto, Claude Cormier + AssociésA rendering of the new fountain, image courtesy of Claude Cormier + Associés

The re-conceptualized fountain hints at an interplay between the park's past and present. While the old fountain possessed a (literally) bubbly though dated charm, the cavalcade of dogs—yearning for the golden bone above them—will lend the new park a new, more playful ambianceSince Berczy Park first opened, "carved out from a neglected site left over from the 1800s," the more formal social and architectural codes of the early 20th century have given way to today's more laid-back (and dog-oriented) culture. This notion is reflected in the new design, where sculpted dogs shoot streams of water from their mouths (above).    

Berczy Park, City of Toronto, Claude Cormier + AssociésAn aerial view of the future park, image courtesy of Claude Cormier + Associés

Surrounding the new fountain, patterned granite paving will extend across the park's plaza, creating a stylish and inviting new meeting place in the city's core. The elegant plaza will reinforce the area's somewhat European architectural character, reflected in a pedestrian-friendly streetscape of wide sidewalks and five to seven-storey buildings. 

Berczy Park, City of Toronto, Claude Cormier + AssociésA look inside the construction site, image courtesy of UrbanToronto Forum contributor Roundabout

Unfortunately, given that many of the park's current trees are in relatively poor condition, only 11 of the park's 81 trees will be retained. New trees will be planted, however, using state-of-the-art Silva Cell technology, with six new tree species—including tulips, oaks, and a Japanese Pagoda treeset to grace the new park. 

As it stands, the former plaza's ageing bricks are in the process of being removed (above), while many of the less healthy trees have already been cut down. We will keep you updated as the construction process continues, and the city looks forward to welcome a dynamic new urban space.

Additional information can be found on our database file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Leave a comment below, or in our associated Forum thread.