Roses for Thorncliffe Park
East York Town Centre, parking lot between Food Basics and Kandahar Kebab, Toronto, 2022–ongoing.
Located at East York Town Centre, the garden is envisioned as a gift to Thorncliffe Park, a culturally diverse community largely comprising recent immigrants living in high-rise apartment buildings. Launched simultaneously with a sister rose garden at University of Toronto Scarborough campus commissioned by the Doris McCarthy Gallery, the garden features historic Damask rose varieties named after the city of Damascus in Syria. Unlike modern roses common in North America (and first cultivated by British colonizers), Damask roses offer a strong fragrance, making them particularly suitable for Middle Eastern and Asian culinary traditions.
This public art commission has been donated to East York Town Centre and the mall's staff will continue to care for the garden. As the garden matures over the next 5+ years, Waard Ward will host floristry, gardening, and food workshops with local newcomer and refugee families.
Produced by ArtworxTO, City of Toronto's Year of Public Art. Curated by Maya Wilson Sanchez and project managed by Jeremy Forsynth. Architectural design and fabrication by Matthew Walker. Garden design by Allison Chow of Posy Gang.
Photos: Darren Rigo.