The Oculus Pavilion

South Humber Park, Toronto, ON.

Also known as Etobicoke Park Pavilion, this recreation structure was built following the establishment of a park in 1957, as part of the regeneration of the river valley following the devastation of Hurricane Hazel.

Offering shelter to pedestrians and cyclists visiting the park, a thin, reinforced concrete canopy is held aloft on slender steel columns, surrounded by a wide apron of flagstone pavement.  To the north, a stone-clad washroom building is tucked under the edge of the canopy.

“Concrete pioneer” L. Cazaly was responsible for the thin-shell design of the roof.  The circular upturned canopy features an off-center opening: the oculus.  The steel columns are arranged around the oculus, achieving a dramatic cantilevered roof.  The plan of the adjacent washroom structure forms an arc, complementing the geometry of the canopy.

Directly beneath the oculus, was a sculpture of birds in flight, which has since been removed.  The sculpture would have been bathed in sunlight or, at times, in water, given the large catchment area of the roof above.

The modest structure transmits the post-war theme of the space age, with its orbital geometry and structural audacity.

Related News