Ontario Square at York Quay

Ontario Square at York Quay

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Brooklyn NY

Toronto, Ontario

Harbourfront Centre is a unique arts institution that pioneered activity on the Toronto waterfront. The second phase of a three-part revitalization plan transforms the facility in to a year-round urban enclave.

MVVA’s design replaces an existing surface parking lot with a below grade garage, opening up 3.5 acres that is transformed into an urban plaza that can accommodate outdoor events and festivals. This square is linked to Toronto’s esplanade and a development parcel that will serve as the foundation for future Harbourfront Centre expansion.

The plaza’s unique two-tone paving scheme, inspired by ice floes that accumulate in the harbor, makes the ground plane a focal point of visual interest on the site, framing buildings on the site’s edges, smoothing out its idiosyncratic boundaries, and playing with visitors’ sense f scale.