The use of traditional stone similar to Porphyry pavers are part of the award winning design of this urban park. 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. 

Part of the multi-faceted Waterfront Toronto project previously highlighted in this blog, this park is in the East Bayfront section. Located at the foot of Lower Jarvis Street adjacent to the Redpath Sugar Factory, the 8500 square meter (2 acre) park is the first public space visitors see as they travel along Queens Quay from the central waterfront. The park’s brightly colored pink beach umbrellas and iconic candy-striped rock outcroppings welcome visitors to the new waterfront neighborhood of East Bayfront.

The design for Canada’s Sugar Beach, by Claude Cormier + Associes draws upon the industrial heritage of the area with a nod to the neighboring 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.

Between the plaza and the beach, people will stroll through the park along apromenade 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.

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.

The park is a recipient of the 2012 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) professional Awards. It received the Honor Award in the category of General Design Category.


Claude Cormier + Associes (Montreal)

Landscape Architecture + Urban Design

“Our work celebrates manmade nature. Landscapes are constructed, and we believe they should look the part. We are deeply committed to the specific qualities of each site – its natural conditions, its cultural history, its sociology, its politics. We want to translate each unique situation into a bold and pleasurable design that will connect with people physically, sensually, and playfully. We want to wake our audiences up and force them to take a fresh look at their surroundings. Our work may be artificial; it’s also anything but fake.

We thrive within bureaucratic constraints, lengthy decision-making processes, conflicting affiliations, and demanding timetables, and budgets, because these are the intensely interesting realities of any site. Within each project, we navigate webs of political, environmental, historical, social, and economic entanglements, seeking to extract a simple, clear idea that encapsulates it all. Once this single concept is identified, we meticulously unfold it to guide all aspects of the project, from global organization to the finest construction detail. This results in complex, consistent environments that communicate loudly and clearly. We believe that a bold landscape image can brand a company, define the identity of a city, or simply entice passers-by to take a closer look.

We feel that the term ‘landscape architect’ no longer conveys the many different aspects of our practice. Not only has it evolved over time, but it has most notably become more complex. New terms such as ‘landscape architecture’ and ‘urban design’ are evidence of this evolution.”

Waterfront Toronto

The revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront is the largest urban redevelopment project currently underway in North America, and it is one of the largest waterfront revitalization efforts ever undertaken in the world.

On a world scale, Toronto’s waterfront revitalization is almost unequalled in size. It’s larger than Lower Manhattan south of Houston Street, and four times the size of Monaco. To get a sense of its proportions on a local scale, the total area being redeveloped is 800 hectares (1,977 acres), which translates into an area roughly the size of Toronto’s downtown core, from Bathurst Street to Sherbourne Avenue and Front Street to Bloor Street.

Images Courtesy Waterfront Toronto


Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These beautiful materials are available from Milestone Imports.   Milestone supports the creativity of architects, planners and designers. Porphyry offers surfaces of various finishes and mixed colorings, tending towards tones of grey, gold, violet and red, depending on where it is extracted.  –