Canada’s Sugar Beach is a whimsical new park that transformed a surface parking lot in a former industrial area into Toronto’s second urban beach at the water’s edge.
Located at the foot of Lower Jarvis Street adjacent to the Redpath Sugar Factory, the 8500 square metre (2 acre) park is the first public space visitors see as they travel along Queens Quay from the central waterfront. The park’s brightly coloured pink beach umbrellas and iconic candy-striped rock outcroppings welcome visitors to the new waterfront neighbourhood of East Bayfront.
The design for Canada’s Sugar Beach, by Claude Cormier + Associés draws upon the industrial heritage of the area and its relationship to the neighbouring Redpath Sugar factory. The park features three distinct components: an urban beach; a plaza space; and a tree-lined promenade running diagonally through the park.
Canada’s Sugar Beach reminds us that Toronto’s waterfront is a playful destination. The beach allows visitors to while away the afternoon as they read, play in the sand or watch boats on the lake. A dynamic water feature embedded in a granite maple leaf beside the beach makes cooling off fun for adults and children.
The park’s plaza offers a dynamic space for public events. A large candy-striped granite rock outcropping and three grass mounds give the public unique vantage points for larger events and the spaces between the mounds result in a natural performance space for smaller events.
Between the plaza and the beach, people will stroll through the park along a promenade featuring granite and tumbled concrete cobblestones in a maple leaf mosaic pattern. Lined with mature maple trees, the promenade offers a shaded route to the water’s edge providing the public with many opportunities along the way to sit and enjoy views to the lake, beach or plaza.
Location: Foot of Lower Jarvis Street on the eastern edge of the Jarvis Slip, south of Queens Quay
Size: 8500 square metres (2 acres)
Shoreline frontage: 225 metres
Number of trees: 57
Number of beach chairs and umbrellas: 150 chairs, 36 umbrellas
Operation and maintenance - City of Toronto
Official opening date - August 9, 2010
View some of the behind the scenes images of Canada's Sugar Beach.
Explore and learn more about Canada’s Sugar Beach from Christopher Hume at thestar.com.
Watch a short video from the opening of Canada’s Sugar Beach.
Take a tour with Waterfront Toronto during the official groundbreaking for Canada's Sugar Beach.
Canada's Sugar Beach promenade and plaza have been designed to be fully accessible to people with disabilitiies. In an effort to improve accessibility to the beach, Waterfront Toronto has added a boardwalk, level with the sand to some of the park's signature pink beach umbrellas and Muskoka chairs.
Learn more about how silva cells will help mature trees grow at Canada's Sugar Beach in this video from Deep Root.
One of the park’s signature design elements is the oversized, granite rock formations located on the beach and in the plaza space next to Corus Quay. The rocks, which feature candy-coloured stripes made of a flexible and durable thermoplastic, add to the whimsical feel of the park.
The granite rocks were selected from a quarry in northern Quebec by Waterfront Toronto and the park’s design team. The granite was then sliced into 1.5 metre-wide pieces using an industrial strength saw, categorized and trucked to the park site. Much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, crews used a 165-tonne crane to assemble the rock outcropping piece by piece on site. The granite outcropping at the beach is over six metres long and wide, and about one metre high. The second rock outcropping at the plaza is more than double the size of the rock at the beach. These signature granite outcroppings will be used as informal seating, play and gathering spaces.
Canada’s Sugar Beach has two important neighbours – Redpath Sugar to its west across the Jarvis Slip and Corus Quay, the new headquarters for Corus Entertainment on its eastern edge. The park’s design bridges the gap between old and new by celebrating Redpath’s important industrial heritage and the new creative vibe Corus Entertainment brings to the waterfront. All summer long, Corus employees will spill out into the park using its unique plaza space for concerts, film screenings and other live events against a backdrop of large freighters docking in the slip to deliver sugar to Redpath.