Over the span of the last month, the southeast corner of Adelaide and John Streets has transformed from a construction zone into a lively public piazza, as new food retailing, landscaping, and public art was inaugurated at the base of Pinnacle on Adelaide condominiums in the Entertainment District. With exterior and ground-level construction work now largely complete, residents and visitors to the city quickly are already bringing to life Toronto's newest public space.

The plaza is dominated by a modern fountain, image by Craig White

The plaza, designed by Janet Rosenberg + Studio, is dominated by a central fountain, over which a Marman + Borins art display presides. During our visit, Speech Bubble seemed to re-conceptualize the naked eye's water into a pixelated digital reality. Outdoor seating and light fixtures create an inviting ambiance, and the rush of water provides a soothing counterpoint to what has fast become one of the city's busier outdoor spaces.  

The Marman + Borins art display overlooks the fountain, image by Craig White

Directly north of the plaza on John Street, a Fox and Fiddle outpost was first to open at Pinnacle's base. Facing out to the plaza, Union Juice offers quality sustenance, while Sweet Jesusa somewhat piquantly-named dessert and coffee offspring of La Carnita—offers over-the-top soft serve ice cream to a brisk trade (line-up seen above, interior seen below). It's all bringing new life and vibrancy to the previously drab stretch of John Street south of Hooters. 

The interior of Sweet Jesus, image by Craig White

The logistics of combining the plaza with an art installation were overseen by Public Art Management, who shepherded the various elements of the project through the design and fabrication process. Up above, Pinnacle International's eponymous condominium tower, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, is bringing 46 storeys of new residential density to Toronto's thriving urban core.

Pinnacle on Adelaide, image by Craig White

The construction of the condo and public plaza involved the relocation and restoration of the historic, 1869-built Richard West house, which now sits on the John Street, just south of Adelaide. The heritage property was moved twice, first from its original location—where the tower is now located—to a parking lot across the street, and then to its new home beside the former Duke of Argyle pub. La Carnita, which now offers "Mexican Street Food" in Toronto's Little Italy and Riverside neighbourhoods, will shortly be opening its third location here, while there's no word yet on what restoration or reuse of the Duke of Argyle site is coming from the new owners.

The Richard West House, now on John Street, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Red Mars

The public plaza and revamped heritage property have been unveiled to the public just as the Toronto International Film Festival brings its annual influx of glamour and tourism to the city.

The plaza lit up in the evening, image by Craig White

The sight of festival-goers, tourists and residentsand perhaps even the occasional Hollywood celebrity—bringing life to the once dull corner is a fine sight to behold. And, with TiFF upon us, what better way to soak up the atmosphere than with Hollywood Royalty and some heavenly ice cream confectionary by your side?      

Related Companies:  Hariri Pontarini Architects, Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Janet Rosenberg & Studio, U31