A Photo In The Life Of

A Photo In the Life Of is a weekly photo blog written by Larry Lewis. Topics include photo opportunities, past and present, product reviews and other topics of interest to photographers and photo lovers.

Where's The Beach? At the foot of Jarvis.

Sugar Beach and the legend of Toronto's Waterfront Renewal Project.

For as long as I can remember there has been talk of the beautification of Toronto's Waterfront.  For as many years as I can remember politicians and business leaders tantalized locals with visions of massive projects that would make our harbour a place to relax, enjoy and be proud of.

As a runner and bicycler I have always followed the news concerning that track of land from Kew Beach (aka The Beaches or The Beach) to the west side of the downtown.  I waited patiently as I would hear of progress being made., then inevitably I would hear why it wasn't getting started.  The excuses that were made are common in most communities; the economy, stubborn land owners, the refusal of tiers of government to work together to make it happen.  All of these excuses were actually better for me personally than the deafening silence that occurs most commonly.  Then, the construction of high rises began.  I assumed any ideas of a community green space and recreational areas  in the downtown were lost.      

That is my rant, but I can report that some community spaces are being built.  One community space of interest that has been built is Sugar Beach. Located on the shore of Toronto's harbour at the foot of Jarvis Street, Sugar Beach is a 8500 square meter (2 acre) sand box.  Although there is 225 meters of shoreline you definitely don't want to go swimming here due to water quality and access into the water.

The beach is a unique park designed by Claude Cormier + Associés.  The property was formerly a parking lot in an industrial area.  It is of very little use to us runners and bicyclers, but it is a nice space to relax and watch the boats although it is not 'green.'.  It is also an interesting photo opportunity.  

The critics point out that the price tag on the space was way out of line.  The rocks in the park cost $529,800 and the umbrellas cost $11,565 each (x36).  It makes me think that the folks on Barrie Island, Ontario should get into the rock selling business!  I'm not sure what the total price tag was, but when you consider that the price tag of the the washrooms in the sports field down the shore cost the taxpayers $600,000 maybe it is value.  I write this with a incredulous look on my face.  As a side note, the infamous Rob Ford flipped when he heard about the price tag.  He wasn't happy! 

So, am I happy with our waterfront beautification?  The grade has to be incomplete.  There are a couple of parks built but it's looking like the area will be more concrete coated than sugar coated.  As a photographer, the landscaping and modern structure of the parks lend itself to interesting shooting.  I recommend that if you are in the area to spend a morning shooting Sugar beach and the neighboring parks to the east.  The running/cycling lanes through the downtown area are passable, but there is ongoing construction.  I hope, if the construction ever finishes, we have a safe, enjoyable trail across the city.  Maybe I will write a status report after the Pan am Games next summer.

Enjoy my images of Sugar Beach.  I have chosen a few from summer and a few from winter to feature.  They were taken between 2012 and 2014.      


A Photo In The Life Of is a weekly PHOTO blog on LARRYLEWISPHOTO.COM.   It is an evolution of my original blog A Photo in the life of  that began in 2006.  I hope to give a little context to my photography and maybe make a few new photography friends.