York Harbour Club is the last of the three phases at Plaza's West Harbour City development in Toronto's Fort York Neighbourhood, and the Art Deco influenced complex designed by Quadrangle Architects is now complete. Typically one of the last events to celebrate completion of the building process is the dedication of the artwork that will contribute to the building's public realm. At the York Harbour Club, that's a 6-part piece called Fountaingrove, the last of five art commissions across the wider site since 2006, all overseen by art consultants Rina Greer and Catherine Williams in collaboration with Leslie Yager of Plaza.

Looking east along Fort York Boulevard towards Fountaingrove, image by Craig White

Created by artists Carlo Cesta and Nestor Krüger in a first collaboration between them, Fountaingrove signposts a point in the track of the Garrison Creek, a long-ago buried watercourse that for a while separated the Town of York from Fort York and the untamed forests to the west. As York became Toronto and expanded in all directions, including into Lake Ontario, (this development is built entirely on land reclaimed from the lake), Garrison Creek was encased in a large, winding brick culvert. Fountaingrove is located at a curve in the culvert, metaphorically piercing it and allowing its waters to rise in frozen metal cascades.

Fountaingrove, looking south, image by Craig White

A result of Toronto's Percent for Public Art Program, consultants Williams and Greer re-enlisted Nestor Krüger, who had previously created Pond on an earlier phase at West Harbour City, and teamed him up with Carlos Cesta who had created Marais and Drift at other locations within the complex.

Catherine Williams, Rina Greer, Nestor Krüger, Carlos Cesta, and Leslie Yager pose within Fountaingrove, image by Craig White

Cesta and Krüger's statement about their work reads thus:

Fountaingrove sits above the Garrison Creek culvert, an underground waterway that carries a buried river to the lake. It discloses its presence by evoking the vertical column of water produced by such artificial and natural phenomena as geysers and ornamental fountains. Historically, fountains identified a water source but over time that function became largely symbolic. Fountains remain as meeting places often with images and forms commemorating human achievements and growth.

We are interested in the city as a dynamic living organism with its constant ebb and flow of building and unbuilding. This sculpture is both a greeting and a symbol that marks a hidden resource for the new community of West Harbour City.

Fountaingrove may be frozen in place, but it's all about light now. When the sun is shining on it, it's casting complex moving shadows, while the concrete below it has microscopic glass beads embedded in it, causing it to sparkle.

Fountaingrove, looking west, image by Craig White

Fountaingrove joins four other works at West Harbour City, most of which reference the water that flows by or used to lap along shallow shore here. Along with Pond, Drift, and Marais, Waveside by Jennifer Marinas and Daniel Borins grace the Plaza buildings here. Videographer Howard Fraiberg recorded the creation of all of these works, and each video is worth a look to better appreciate the works.

Want to know more about York Harbour Club and the other West Harbour City phases? UrbanToronto's dataBase files, linked below, include renderings and information. Want to talk about the work? Click on the associated Forum thread links to join in on the conversation, or add your comments in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Plaza, Quadrangle, TMG Builders