Irish famine memorial park offers direction for waterfront
Archiseek / Canada / News / 2007 / June 22
It's called Ireland Park but don't expect shillelaghs or green beer. Hidden on the shore of Lake Ontario in the shadow of the Canada Malting Silos, this tiny but monumental space was conceived as a memorial to the thousands of Irish immigrants who came to â€“ and died in â€“ this city. Despite its rather odd location just east of Bathurst St., the pocket park packs a preternatural punch. The designer, architect Jonathan Kearns, has used a minimum of elements but to maximum effect. The main feature is Kilkenny limestone, a dark and rugged stone quarried in Ireland. Kearns has incorporated it in slabs, blocks and as large chunks seemingly ripped out of the ground and transplanted here. The result is a remarkable landscape-within-a-landscape. Surrounded by the ruins of Toronto's industrial past and the hopes of its waterfront future, Ireland Park straddles a number of worlds. Amid the ear-piercing din of the Island Airport â€“ no quiet jets here â€“ and the traffic of the harbour, the sudden advent of sacred space is even more surprising.