Like the newly-named Sherbourne Common to the north-east, Canada’s Sugar Beach is another of Waterfront Toronto’s new projects along East Bayfront. Not slated to officially open until August 9, the city’s new urban beach is nonetheless open to the public already, and attracting some curious passers-by.
The Beach sits in a sandpit opposite the Redpath sugar refinery and museum, overlooking Jarvis Slip where freighters regularly pull in to receive cargo. Claude Cormier urban design firm’s concept was for an inviting space that pulls pedestrians in from the sidewalk. The dramatic triangle of the beach itself comes to a point at the head of the slip and widens towards the water; the candy floss-pink beach umbrellas are a visual representation of the sugary scent wafting in from Redpath; the Adirondack chairs are ready for use. Immense candystriped boulders dot the area; climbers are welcome.
Adjacent to the new Corus Quay building, home of Corus Entertainment, Sugar Beach is intended to be a punctiation mark on a continous, multi-purpose waterfront path complete with finger piers and a wooden boardwalk like at the central waterfront. At the risk of criticising an incomplete work, the Beach and Quay make for a spartan area at the moment; the dual-colour paving stones are relentlessly sunny, unrelieved by trees or shade, the benches look lonely, and the building is not yet ready for occupancy. But even a month before grand opening, the Beach already attracts regular usage, and one can only imagine its popularity once the Quay is fully developed with year-round business and residential tenants, to say nothing of the permanent George Brown College campus set to begin construction.
Sugar Beach, at present, is an ambitiously-minded spot in the heart of nothing and nowhere, but just watch how quickly that changes. It’s bound to be sweet.