Breakwater Park

Established in the twentieth century, this approximately eight-acre irregularly shaped park is nestled between King Street and Lake Ontario. Rehabilitated by Claude Cormier + Associés in 2018, the park is comprised of two interconnected sections: a linear eastern one that parallels the street and a western that extends into the lake. The latter incorporates an existing pier, named in honor of musician and Great Lakes advocate Gord Edgar Downie, redesigned to provide access to the water. Both sections afford sweeping lakeside views. 

The park’s raised, concrete pier meets the lake at a right angle, framing a ramped pebble beach and rectilinear basin. Designed largely without railings, the pier invites people into the water and provides multiple access points. A rectangular concrete block, evocative of a diving board, marks its terminus, which is connected to the shore by a steel footbridge. At the span’s north end, concrete steps, and chevron-shaped terraces lead to the water’s edge. The terraces border a linear, wedge-shaped sandy beach. From the bridge a diagonal path leads to the eastern section, characterized by a quarter-mile long promenade. 

The promenade is flanked to the north by an allée of century-old silver maple trees and the south by a curvilinear shoreline. Created in the 1970s with fill, the shore is marked by modest U-shaped headlands planted with grass and skirted by crushed stone paths that skirt the lake’s edge. Large stones from revetments, are deployed to limit erosion and provide additional places to sit, while pebble beaches are interspersed in the coves formed by the headlands. 

The project received the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects’ National Award in 2019. 

Location and Nearby Landscapes

Nearby Landscapes