Toronto’s bizarre floating park is gearing up to open next spring

Toronto is getting what could be its strangest park to date. This park won’t be particularly large or unique in its design, but it’s an unconventional location in the heart of the city that will set the future CIBC Square park apart from others.

Developers Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines are enveloping the first phase of their CIBC Square office complex opposite Scotiabank Arena, and construction is progressing for an even higher second-phase building to the north.

September view of CIBC Square and the new park. The second phase of the park can be seen on the left. Photo for CIBC Square / Sierra Curtis Photography.

Bridging those two towers, a new one-acre park is being built four stories above the Union Station rail corridor, and part of it is set to open to the public in spring 2022.

Sure, there aren’t sandy beaches or floating halos, but this might be the only Toronto park you’ll have to go through enclosed escalators and stairs to access.

The new park is being built in phases on a steel deck crossing the railway tracks just east of Union Station. The first phase of the park, which was built alongside the complex’s 49-story south tower, was scheduled to open this past summer, although that goal was pushed back to next spring.

A second phase in the north is expected to be complete in about three years, with the entire park expected to be open by late 2024.

Commuters waiting on the railroad platforms below are now treated to a preview at the park’s newly planted trees, a hint of how this urban space will appear as an interrupted slice of tranquility amid the fast-paced Financial District.

Four floors is not exactly an acrophobia-inducing height, but the park’s position above the railroad corridor will give visitors unobstructed views of nearby landmarks such as Toronto Island, the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Scotiabank Arena and the CN Tower.

There will also be a range of scheduled events such as food markets, concerts and more, while those just looking for a quiet place to work outside will have access to enhanced Wi-Fi.

cibc square park

Representation of the completed development with both phases of the park, as it should appear in late 2024. Returned by Ivanhoé Cambridge / Hines.

Creative solutions to new parking have emerged in urban centers around the world. Just this year, New York City celebrated the opening of a new public park hovering over the Hudson River earlier this year.

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