Canada’s Urban Beaches Make Waves

Posted by Matt Hickey on

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France invented the first urban beach in 1996 with the Plage de l’Hôtel de Ville in St. Quentin followed by the popular Paris Plages that are installed along the Seine River every July and August. The rest of Europe soon followed their example and now the urban beach is becoming part of the summer landscape in North American cities. Designed to mimic the atmosphere of a natural beach, it’s located in a public space, often with water views and fountains where residents and tourists can relax with their feet in the sand under beach umbrellas, providing refuge from the heat and traffic for city folk.

ParisPlages_20120725-800x500 Paris Plages

Canada’s Sugar Beach Toronto

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Named for the Redpath Sugar refinery next door, this 2-acre stretch of sand designed by landscape architect Claude Cormier transformed a previous parking lot at the corner of Jarvis Street and Queens Quay Boulevard into an urban oasis. Its bright pink parasols, white Muskoka chairs and candy-striped rocks were inspired by Georges Seurat’s painting Bathers at Asnière. When the sun sets, lights from the interactive water fountain and umbrellas create a festive atmosphere perfect for a warm summer night’s outing. For more information: http://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/explore_projects2/east_bayfront/canadas_sugar_beach  

Clock Tower Beach Montréal

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Another creation by the landscape architect Claude Cormier, the urban beach at the Quai de l’Horloge at Montreal’s Old Port offers a stunning panorama of the St. Lawrence River where Montrealers and visitors enjoy the seaside atmosphere created by silky sand, blue beach umbrellas and colorful Adirondak chairs. It’s the perfect place to cool off in a mist station, stroll the willow-lined boardwalk and view the spectacular fireworks competition when the sun goes down. For more information: http://www.oldportofmontreal.com/activity/clock-tower-beach  

HTO Park Toronto

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Toronto’s first urban beach is only a few blocks from the Toronto Convention Center but its bright yellow-topped umbrellas, wooden Muskoka chairs and wide waterfront views of Lake Ontario is a world away from the bustle of a big city. A backdrop of oval grassy knolls adds areas of shaded greenery for play time and picnics. For more information: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=38c8dada600f0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD  

Kiwanis Centennial Park Moncton, NB

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Situated in the center of the city, the supervised man-made beach is an integral part of the 230-acre Centennial Park that boasts tennis courts, lawn bowling greens and a state-of-the-art Superplash Park for cooling off on a hot summer’s day. The beach features fine sand, change houses, a canteen, and lifeguards. For more information: http://www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca/Products/K/Kiwanis-Centennial-Beach.aspx


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