Pecaut Square

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Pecaut Square
Public square
Looking east to Roy Thomson Hall with the eternal flame and The Poet, The Fever Hospital in view.
Looking east to Roy Thomson Hall with the eternal flame and The Poet, The Fever Hospital in view.
Features: Reflecting pool
Opening date: 1992
Surface: concrete,grass
Owner: City of Toronto
Location: King Street at John Street
Toronto, ON, Canada
Pecaut Square is located in Toronto
Pecaut Square
Pecaut Square
Location of Pecaut Square in Toronto
Coordinates: 43°38′47″N 79°23′14″W / 43.64639°N 79.38722°W / 43.64639; -79.38722

Pecaut Square is a large concrete-and granite-clad plaza located in front of Metro Hall in Toronto, Canada. The square supports the PATH network connection between Metro Hall and nearby buildings such as Metro Centre. Glass pavilions provide access to the PATH network.

History[edit]

Pecaut Square was built as part of Toronto's Postmodern Metro Hall project, meant to house the government of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, which existed from 1954 to 1998. The agreement to build Metro Hall was signed in 1988, and the project was completed in 1992.

It was formerly known as Metro Square but was renamed in April 2011 by a unanimous Toronto City Council vote to honour the late civic leader David Pecaut.[1][2]

Culture and amenities[edit]

The public space features Canadian sculptor Bernie Miller's The Poet, The Fever Hospital, a 1992 piece made up of galvanized steel, bronze, granite, and marble. The sculpture incorporates a fountain and reflecting pool. The title refers to the poet Isabella Valancy Crawford, who stayed for a brief time in a house that was demolished for the construction of Metro Hall at the southeast corner of King and John Streets.[3] The fever hospital refers to one of Toronto's first hospitals, which stood at the northeast corner of King and John Streets from 1829 to 1856.[3] Sheltered by a large granite wall, four bronze boxes evoking television monitors stacked nearly 5 metres high form a fountain. The water flows into a marble basin and into the reflecting pool. The boxes are framed with a semi-circular steel beam, perforated with small holes and mounted at a gentle tilt. The reflecting pool also has an eternal flame fueled by natural gas, unveiled in 1996. The Eternal Flame of Hope is inspired by the perseverance of disabled people, and burns as a reminder that society must be all-inclusive.[4]

Also located at the southwestern part of the square is Jaan Poldaas' Surface Design for Tampered Windscreens (1992), a sculpture composed of tempered glass screens which functions as a windbreak.[5] The screens are etched with vertical and horizontal lines to create different relationships, and are arranged so that people can walk between them. Cynthia Short's Remembered Sustenance (1992) is piece composed of 19 small and generic bronze animals on the grass just off the sidewalk on Wellington Street West. Half the animals appear to be headed for a bronze feeding dish while the other half seem to be walking away.[5]

Pecaut Square also has a lawn and trees along its outer edges. The public space allows for unique views of Metro Hall, Roy Thomson Hall and the Royal Alexandra Theatre. It is frequently used for free concerts, film screenings, and other events; for the state funeral of Jack Layton on August 27, 2011, the square was used to accommodate a screening for overflow crowds not able to be seated inside Roy Thomson Hall.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Moloney, Paul (12 April 2011). "Metro Square renamed Pecaut Square to honour late city builder". Toronto Star. Retrieved 12 April 2011. 
  2. ^ Knelman, Martin (7 April 2011). "City renames Metro Square to honour David Pecaut". Toronto Star. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Warkentin, John (2010). Creating Memory: A Guide to Outdoor Public Sculpture in Toronto. Photographs by Noemi Volovics ; maps by Carolyn King. Toronto: Becker Associates. p. 152. ISBN 9780919387607. OCLC 0919387608. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  4. ^ "Eternal Flame of Hope at Metro Hall - Toronto, ON". Waymarking.com. Retrieved 2010-11-22. For more than seven years, the Eternal Flame of Hope has burned brightly at Metro Hall in downtown Toronto. Its inscription says it all: SYMBOLIC OF THE HOPES, ASPIRATIONS AND TRIUMPHAL ACHIEVEMENTS BURNING WITHIN THE HUMAN SPIRIT. MAY COURAGE NEVER BE EXTINGUISHED, OR LIGHT DIMINISHED NOR SPIRITS BOUND IN PURSUIT OF PERSONAL EXCELLENCE. 
  5. ^ a b Warkentin, John (2010). Creating Memory: A Guide to Outdoor Public Sculpture in Toronto. Photographs by Noemi Volovics ; maps by Carolyn King. Toronto: Becker Associates. p. 153. ISBN 9780919387607. OCLC 0919387608. Retrieved 2010-11-14.