Toronto Sculpture Garden

Toronto, ON
Toronto Sculpture Garden

Opened in 1981, this small park (25 x 30 meters) in downtown Toronto is owned and operated by the City, but its temporary installations of outdoor sculpture are funded by a non-profit foundation created by the Louis L. Odette family. The parcel was once occupied by the architecturally innovative Oak Hall, a clothing store built in 1893 of cast iron, with a glass façade that looked onto the Cathedral Church of Saint James across the street. The building was razed, replaced by a parking lot in 1938, before the Civic Design Group, a division of Toronto’s Department of Planning and Development, transformed it into a setting for outdoor sculpture.

The rectangular parcel runs from King Street East on the north to Oak Hall Lane at the south, and is tucked between two Georgian-style buildings (circa 1840s) on its east and west. Axially aligned wrought-iron gates provide access from both streets, and, along with the ornate fences attached to them, were designed by ironsmith Angelo Garro. A wide apron of brick pavers runs between the gates across the full length of the parcel, which is otherwise a manicured lawn screened by trees along the northern and southern perimeter. Metal benches line a low, brick-faced planting bed along the north, while on the east a waterfall cascades over an elevated metal grill. Beyond the waterfall, a curved planting bed runs beneath the ivy-covered wall of the adjacent building. On the opposite (western) side of the parcel, the second-story extension of the neighboring restaurant cantilevers over an outdoor dining terrace.