top of page



Love Park

CCxA Architectes paysagistes Inc. / gh3* Architects

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

June 2023


Marc Halle (Landscape Architect - Park), Pat Hanson (Architect - Trellis)


Arup (Engineering (all disciplines),), DEW Inc (Water Feature Design), Eventscape (Trellis Fabrication), Mosaika (Mosaic Fabrication), Somerville Construction (General Contractor


Waterfront Toronto / City of Toronto


CCxA / Industryous / Nirmit Gire


A new park in the heart of an emerging downtown neighbourhood, Love Park is inspired by the semiotic universality of the heart to create a meaningful symbol for the district.

The park is punctuated by a basin in the shape of a heart, surrounding a preserved catalpa tree previously hidden at the centre of the former expressway offramp. A trellis composed of a complex filigree of arcs supports wisteria vines, and a garden for dogs provides a play refuge for the neighbourhood’s canines. Love Park is designed to become a sponge that directs runoff below grade, minimizing discharges to the surrounding municipal infrastructure and providing passive irrigation for the park’s trees. A leafy veil of preserved and new trees blurs the urban backdrop, and a perimeter of small hills masks traffic on the surrounding streets. The slower park pace invites greater attention to detail and craft, from the hand-laid red tile mosaic of the pond perimeter, granite cobble of the pathways, sculpted bronze menagerie of Canadian fauna distributed like Easter eggs throughout the park, to the intricate fabrication of the trellis.

Love Park aims to be both a local community amenity and a crossroads for residents, workers, visitors and tourists. The fundamentals of a successful public realm – from sitting where you want, connection to the street, sunlight, food, water, trees, and an object of triangulation – are synchronized to inspire a space of joy and optimism, encouraging a relaxing atmosphere across all seasons.


Love Park was previously the site of an offramp to the Gardiner Expressway, built in the 1950s for downtown commuters and lakeside industries established in this area of reclaimed lake-fill. The neighbourhood has been transitioning to mixed-use residential and offices over the past twenty-five years, along with the epic revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront that has transformed the water’s edge into a metropolitan destination. Previously a motorist’s no-man’s land, the Love Park site optimizes an infrastructural knot situated curiously at the centre of some of the city’s top destinations. This fulcrum along the waterfront’s east-west axis is a natural meetup point for launching day trips, a veritable crossroads at the foot of the metropolis.

The large scale of development to date has not given much emphasis to human scale in the public realm, despite the large numbers of people that have been attracted into the neighbourhood. Giant building volumes and ubiquitous glass curtain walls have created a district in need of a distinguishing signature.

Revitalization of the Queens Quay boulevard to the south of the park has been a catalyst for elevating the pedestrian priority of the public realm. New parks and public realm features have succeeded in transforming the waterfront into a civic destination, and Love Park provides an opportunity to become a landing and gateway to both the Financial District to the north and Lake Ontario to the south, while having a distinct identity of its own.


The moment construction fences came down, it was clear that Love Park would become the town square that had been missing in the community. Residents in the neighbouring towers, who had never met each other before, were giddy sharing pictures taken from their balconies of the site during construction. Situated around the conceptual starting point of the project – the heart-shaped pond – this new park has given neighbours and visitors an opportunity to see and be seen, unified by views across the pond that showcase a panorama of the community. The park has become a neighbourhood amenity, a place for pet owners to socialize and exercise their dogs, with increased traffic for the adjacent restaurant and its park-facing outdoor patio. The iconic placemaking effect of Love Park has made it a meet-up point for people coming from across the metropolitan area. Children race remote control boats in the calm waters of the pond, couples intimately recline on the mosaic at ease within the park crowds, groups gather and lunch on the movable furniture under the trellis, and office workers carry out walking meetings while circling around the heart. Love Park is becoming part of the everyday life of the community. As the new park matures, with trees getting bigger and flowering vines soon covering the trellis, Love Park will fulfill its ambition as a green oasis at the heart of the city.

bottom of page