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From the Globe:

Irreverent, fun park proposed for downtownAuthor-turned-designer Coupland envisions bacon, beaver dam and more

OLIVER MOORE

Sculptures of bacon, a bronze beaver dam and an "electronic wheat field" of glowing fibre-optic cable will be part of Toronto's newest park if author-turned-designer Douglas Coupland has his way.

Mr. Coupland, the author of 1991's iconic Generation X, has since trained in such design esoterica as Japanese stone placement and wants to put that knowledge to use at an eight-acre public site that is part of a large development west of the CN Tower.

"I like working big and the scale on this is obviously heroic," Mr. Coupland said from his Vancouver home.

"It's a really good chance to work with stone and metal and concrete, expensive materials that you can't really work with on your own."

Although based on big themes, the design is intended to create a cozy feeling of privacy amid the big city.

"To me, going to a park is about being with a few friends or maybe family and saying 'this is our spot for a few moments,' " Mr. Coupland said. "And then you go, and someone else gets it."

The design is to be part of the huge Concord CityPlace condominium development south of Front Street, on either side of Spadina Avenue. The irreverent park itself, which could be finished as early as next summer, will lie to the west of Spadina and will be open to the public.

As proposed, the ideas would create a park unlike any other in Toronto. Perhaps unlike any other in the world.

There will be trees, of course, to create a feeling of nature, a slope reminiscent of a toboggan run and a host of unique sculptures and installations. A "Miracle Mile" running route will honour the courage of Terry Fox, providing a spot Mr. Coupland hopes will become a place for reflection.

"It's very contemplative, a very long, very skinny park," he said. "You meditate on the size of the country, the scope of the country."

Mr. Coupland, who is slated to appear today at an event officially launching the Miracle Mile, has been working with Greg Smallenberg of landscape architecture firm Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg. The vision has come together; now they just need to see whether the money will be there to make all of it happen.

As planned, the site will be divided into a series of "rooms" representing influential Canadian books.

"There's a musical garden down on the water and I thought, 'you know what, we need a book park,' " Mr. Coupland said.

"We began to explore creating meadows and fields and landscapes using the curves that come from opening a large book. And what kind of book? We thought of Canadian classics."

The working list includes Terry, by Mr. Coupland, and such national powerhouses as Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan, The Last Spike by Pierre Berton and Group of Seven and Tom Thomson by David Silcox. Novels under consideration include The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields and Survival by Margaret Atwood.

Each of these would have its own area. Two Solitudes, for example, would be represented by two large pieces of stone, one quarried from Quebec and one from English Canada. They would form a sort of gate and might be inscribed with the words of poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who coined the expression Mr. MacLennan popularized.

"Toronto is a very literate, literary city," Mr. Coupland said. "I had to choose a few books that speak to me of Toronto, Canada and the site."

A possible late addition could be Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen -- which, Mr. Coupland insisted, literal-minded Torontonians shouldn't take personally.

There is, however, a part of the park's design that highlights Toronto's history as a pork processing centre -- an area tentatively known as "the bacon garden."

"Salvador Dali used to do the melting clocks, so here we have melting bacon for Hogtown," Mr. Coupland explained.

"I want to put metal pieces of melting bacon draped over the railing."
 

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Have vision. Think big.
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I think that all budget considerations should be thrown out the window and federal money should be earmarked specifically for the bacon sculpture.

Think of the kids! Tell me as a kid you wouldn't have loved playing on a giant metal piece of bacon. Damn, I wish my time machine helmet actually worked so I could come to CityPlace as a kid to play on the peameal.
 

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camel_trainer said:
I think that all budget considerations should be thrown out the window and federal money should be earmarked specifically for the bacon sculpture.

Think of the kids! Tell me as a kid you wouldn't have loved playing on a giant metal piece of bacon. Damn, I wish my time machine helmet actually worked so I could come to CityPlace as a kid to play on the peameal.
But Camel, what about Jewish kids? Is bacon a good role-model?? Will
someone please think of the children??!! :jk:
 

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Here's the plan from the Vancouver Sun newspaper. It's across a split in the page so sorry for the poor scan. The red line in the bottom diagram shows the running path that recounts the hills and curves etc. that Terry Fox would have encountered on the run.

 

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Indie Bean
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A well designed park could save this development from a miserable fate. Ironic that we are tearing down developments that are off the street grid, and building new ones at the same time.
 

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An interesting little art park sounds good.





"I am a firm believer in expertise, and am still wonderingwho gave this job to an author from Vancouver."


Naw, Coupland is a good choice for something playful with just the right dose of kitch.








"Ironic that we are tearing down developments that are off the street grid, and building new ones at the same time."


I think this development IS on the grid. The problem is what's going on the grid.







KGB
 

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Indie Bean
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KGB said:
I think this development IS on the grid. The problem is what's going on the grid.
I didn't realize that. I thought it was hemmed in between the Gardiner with no car access to the south, and the tracks with no car access to the north. Does it have access to Bathhurst? In the first plans I saw, it did not (I have a feeling that you guys are more versed in this). It screams "no thru traffic" to me, and that is the prime ingredient in most ghetto cookbooks.
 

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InTheBeach said:
Does it have access to Bathhurst? In the first plans I saw, it did not (I have a feeling that you guys are more versed in this). It screams "no thru traffic" to me, and that is the prime ingredient in most ghetto cookbooks.
yes.

 

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What's the deal with Bathurst...they gonna remove the bridge and ramp the street down?


It's not really on a "normal" grid, as there are not adjoining streets around every block...I guess that's the advantage of being wedged between the Gardiner and the railway tracks.






KGB
 

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"What's the deal with Bathurst...they gonna remove the bridge and ramp the street down?"

it apparently will be rebuilt according to a recent article concerning public transit investment
 
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