Berczy Park in Toronto: Celebrating dogs!

Berczy Park in Toronto: Celebrating dogs!

Downtown Toronto, a fountain has reached an incredible power of attraction for all kinds of dog's lovers. Come and feel the vibe!

June 22, 2019 By Julie Roy

You might remember Pink Balls in Montreal's Gay Village? Or 18 Shades of Gay, the multi-coloured, follow-up installation? Or maybe you know Sugar Beach in Toronto? These projects are the creations of Claude Cormier & Associés, the renowned landscape architecture and urban design firm which in 2017 completed the redevelopment of a park in Downtown Toronto where dogs always come first.

Claude Cormier, where did you get the idea for a dog-dedicated fountain?

Berczy Park was already a popular destination for dogs and their owners. That's where the first Woofstock festival—the biggest outdoor gathering for dogs in North America—was held in 2002. During public consultations at the time of the park's revitalization, dog owners were clear that they wanted the park to keep its vocation as a meeting place for dogs, children and families.

There had already been a fountain in the park. We decided to replace it with a Victorian-style fountain with 2 basins, but with a twist: an eclectic collection of 27 life-sized dog sculptures take center stage inside and around the fountain, kept company by a cat (see our photo) and 2 birds. We also built a drinking trough for animals, which encircles the fountain and gives dogs (and other four-legged animals) easy access to drinking water.

According to the Friends of Berczy Park, there are around 1,000 dogs in the surrounding neighbourhood?

The neighbourhood is becoming more and more popular with dog owners. The park is like a magnet: people love to have their pictures taken next to the fountain—with or without their children—and to share them on social media. Kids also drawn to the park, even though there's no specific playground for them. They play with the dog sculptures instead!

The fountain is a feast for the eyes and senses—with dogs spitting out water and the golden bone at the top! It's all a lot of fun.

But, with that said, creating the park wasn't all child's play. It was a complex project and we were happy to have the support of the community, including the Friends of Berczy Park.

Have you created other projects that involve animals?

We're currently working on a new park, The Cats, which is also in Toronto, west of Berczy Park. It will be all about cats. We even have a mascot called Dizzy, a ginger and white cat who's well known in the neighbourhood. We're planning to build a low wall with oversized “mouse holes” which cats will be able to climb through. And we're also working on a stream that cats can drink from as well as a planter bed for cat nip!

Besides this, we've started plans for a project in Mount Vernon in Washington State. It's going to be a park for dogs … and a pony. Stay tuned!

See more of Claude Cormier's work at claudecormier.com.

Photo credit: Industryous Photography.

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