Devonian Square, Ryerson University, Toronto




Devonian Square

Opened in 1978 on the campus of Ryerson University in downtown Toronto, this small park, measuring about 60 by 80 meters, is bordered on the east and south by academic buildings and by Gould Street to the north and Victoria Street to the west. The adjacent sections of both streets are closed to vehicular traffic, with pedestrians passing freely among tables and chairs lining the edges of Gould Street. The square is buffered from the streets by a wide apron of umber cobblestones, crossed occasionally by narrow bands of smaller and lighter stone. Mature honey locusts are planted at irregular intervals within the apron along the north and west. The park’s defining feature, a large, oval reflecting pool, doubles as an ice rink in winter and occupies nearly the entire parcel. Placed sparingly at points within the pool and strewn along its northern and southern edges are massive Precambrian boulders imported from the Canadian Shield. The two-billion-year-old rocks, each some 40 cubic meters or more, are complemented by backless concrete benches. The open glass lobby of Heaslip House cantilevers over the boulders at the southern end of the pool, its angular piers descending into the water. When the building was extended northward in 2005, a few boulders were removed. The park was designed by Richard Strong - Steven Moorhead, Ltd., Landscape Architects, in consultation with sculptor Gerard Gladstone. Its name, perhaps confusingly, derives from the Devonian Foundation of Calgary, one of its benefactors (a list of which is inscribed on one of the boulders), rather than from the geological Devonian Period.

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