Hidden Toronto – ‘Cloud Gardens’, Financial District, 14 Temperance Street

CLOUDGDNS1An award-winning half-acre park, above a parking garage in the Financial District, is a good example of the value of development tradeoffs.

CLOUD GARDENS, named for its on-site greenhouse, was given to the city in the 1980s as part of a deal allowing the Bay-Adelaide Centre to build higher than official planning allowed.  The developers gave the land plus another $5 million to create a park.  And what a fine park it is.

Once on the skids, with the renovation of the delightful Dineen Building to the east, CLOUD GARDENS has been reborn as an oasis in the middle of downtown’s business centre.  Designed by Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, the MBTW Group/Watchorn Architects, and two artists—Margaret Priest and Tony Sherman – the park consists of a series of interconnected terraces with bridges and ramps; an urban woodland on the west side; small greenhouse, thundering waterfall, and a monument honouring  construction workers designed by Margaret Priest and assembled by the Building Trades Union.

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CLOUD GARDENS won the Governor-General’s Award for Architecture in 1994, and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architecture Regional Merit Award in 1995.

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