News   Feb 26, 2024
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The Fountains Of Toronto

There are certainly things that could be done to improve Clarence Square........

That said, I find the reference to poor pathways rather odd, they're almost all new. The last re-do was maybe 10 years ago...........2012/13 I believe.

The park got all new pathways, lights and benches at that time.

I frankly don't like what they chose, and find the DOLA and annoying intrusion into the space; but it shouldn't be in all that poor condition, except for any sod wiped out by the encampments.
True, the paths are relatively new, but from a landscape design point of view (materiality, widths, layout, seating) they're not really well done (again I make the comparison to the work DTAH did at St. Andrew's Playground with its paving materials, patterns, variety of seating and lighting).

The map I posted from 1923 was from a website that contained the following comment:

"The formal pattern of paths in Clarence Square documented in the 19th century was superceded by a sparser layout of 'given' paths as the park came to serve more as a convenient link for passers-through than as a destination. The neighbourhood changed when houses on the the south and west sides of Clarence Square were demolished to allow some railway sidings to be built."


I think this thinking is still present in the current design for Clarence Square. Last summer, on a typical evening where St. Andrew's Playground would be packed with people strolling, sitting at tables, benches or at the central triangular pad, Clarence Square would be relatively empty. Landscape design is the difference.

One final comment (since this is a thread on fountains): the current fountain is woefully out of scale with the size of the park. Clarence Square is more than double the size of Berczy Park yet its fountain is probably half its size. It really needs a larger basin and higher fountain (more like the centralized fountain in the 1876 plan above).
 
True, the paths are relatively new, but from a landscape design point of view (materiality, widths, layout, seating) they're not really well done (again I make the comparison to the work DTAH did at St. Andrew's Playground with its paving materials, patterns, variety of seating and lighting)

I don't like what they did either. I would have preferred to retain the heritage-style light fixtures for a start.

The map I posted from 1923 was from a website that contained the following comment:

"The formal pattern of paths in Clarence Square documented in the 19th century was superceded by a sparser layout of 'given' paths as the park came to serve more as a convenient link for passers-through than as a destination. The neighbourhood changed when houses on the the south and west sides of Clarence Square were demolished to allow some railway sidings to be built."


I can't say that I think the layout as shown above makes any great sense to me either.

I think this thinking is still present in the current design for Clarence Square. Last summer, on a typical evening where St. Andrew's Playground would be packed with people strolling, sitting at tables, benches or at the central triangular pad, Clarence Square would be relatively empty. Landscape design is the difference.

Partially true, I think.

If you look at St. Andrews, the playground drives a certain amount of that traffic, there is no playground at Clarence Square. I'm not sure if I would add one, either.

St. Andrews also has good access from surrounding streets, where Clarence is really only integrated to Spadina.

The immediate area also hasn't been particularly residential in character (the remaining heritage homes notwithstanding); what with a heritage office building, and parking to the south of the site, a hotel and offices further east, Spadina as a major barrier to the west etc.

That will change when Slate moves ahead with developing the parking lot and there is opportunity to fix some of those integrating issues; but that does extend beyond the park boundary.

I also agree there are landscape choices, including the one you note below that would draw more traffic.

One final comment (since this is a thread on fountains): the current fountain is woefully out of scale with the size of the park. Clarence Square is more than double the size of Berczy Park yet its fountain is probably half its size. It really needs a larger basin and higher fountain (more like the centralized fountain in the 1876 plan above).

Entirely agreed.
 
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St. Andrew is a pretty great playground and park, and should get better depending on what happens with the food hall next door. Right now, Clarence Square is a place to be moved through as quickly as possible to get to your actual destination.
 
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So much for nice things. Wonder how long this will be off.
 
That's the wading pool. I think it's been open every summer, though I can't specifically recall if it was in 2020 because our kid wasn't old enough yet.
 
What's up with all the, sawdust ? Assuming that's what it is.

Generally Toronto turns on fountains ~ Jun 1st from what I recall.
It’s not sawdust but the seedlings from the trees in the park that happen to accumulate there.

Only a few more days until June 1st.
 

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