Devonian Square – The Tranquil Reflecting Pool/Ice Rink at TMU

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Between 1981 and 1988 - An aerial view looking east toward Devonian Square at Victoria St and Gould St. Located on the Toronto Metropolitan University campus, back then, it was known as Ryerson Polytechnical Institute
Between 1981 and 1988 – An aerial view looking east toward Devonian Square at Victoria St and Gould St. Located on the Toronto Metropolitan University campus, back then, it was known as Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 495b, Item 12)

Devonian Square, or “Lake Devo,” is located at the southeast corner of Gould St and Victoria St, at the Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) campus in downtown Toronto.

Lake Devo’s History

On October 13, 1978, what was known then as Ryerson Community Park opened. One of the park’s highlights is Devonian Square, which features a large and tranquil reflecting pool and becomes an ice skating rink in winter.

Scattered about the pool are massive Precambrian boulders imported from the Canadian Shield in the Muskoka region, while its north and west sides are lined with honey locust trees. It was designed by landscape architects Richard Strong and Steven Moorhead Ltd in consultation with sculptor Gerard Gladstone.

Between 1980 and 1995 - Looking southwest towards the Devonian Square reflection pool from Gould St, just east of Victoria St. The boulders scattered around the pool were imported from the Canadian Shield. They were formed between 540 million to 3 billion years ago
Between 1980 and 1995 – Looking southwest towards the Devonian Square reflection pool from Gould St, just east of Victoria St (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 771, Item 14)

The square’s name originates from The Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations (Calgary), which gifted the principal funds for the project. Lawyer, oilman, and philanthropist Eric Lafferty Harvie established the foundation.

In 2005, an extension for the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education was added to the north side of Heaslip House and cantilevers over a portion of TMU’s Devonian Square pool.

Did You Know?

February 18, 2024 - A few famous people on the panorama overlooking Lake Devo's ice skating rink at Gould St and Victoria St include Viola Desmond, John Candy, Mary Pickford, k.d. lang and Oscar Peterson. The mural, "Spotlight Canada: Faces That Shaped a Nation," is on TMU's School of Image Arts
February 18, 2024 – A few famous people on the panorama overlooking Lake Devo’s ice skating rink at Gould St and Victoria St include Viola Desmond, John Candy, Mary Pickford, k.d. lang and Oscar Peterson. The mural, “Spotlight Canada: Faces That Shaped a Nation,” is on TMU’s School of Image Arts
  • The boulders were formed between 540 million to 3 billion years ago.
  • In the late 1970s, the boulders cost over $275,000. Accounting for inflation, that amount would be well over $1.4 million today.
  • When the Devonian Square opened, the university was called the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
  • Eric Lafferty Harvie was born in Orillia in 1892 and went on to study law at Osgoode Hall and the University of Alberta. After serving in World War I, Mr Harvie practiced law until 1950 and also made fortunes in the petroleum industry. He was known for his generous contributions to educational and cultural institutions, such as Devonian Square and the Glenbow Museum. Eric Harvie, an Officer of the Order of Canada, passed away in Calgary in 1975.
  • In 1947, drillers hit a significant oil reserve in Leduc, Alberta, on land leased by Eric Harvie from Imperial Oil. This land was part of the Devonian reef, which dates back to the Devonian period between 355 and 418 million years ago.

Devonian Square Photos

January 1, 2024 - Looking southwest towards a frozen Lake Devo from Gould St, just east of Victoria St, at the Toronto Metropolitan University campus in downtown Toronto
January 1, 2024 – Looking southwest towards a frozen Lake Devo from Gould St, just east of Victoria St, at the Toronto Metropolitan University campus in downtown Toronto
Between 1981 and 1988 - Looking southwest from Gould St, just east of Victoria St, towards the reflection pool in Devonian Square. The square was the defining feature in what was known then as Ryerson Community Park. Notice the CN Tower in the background
Between 1981 and 1988 – Looking southwest from Gould St, just east of Victoria St, towards the reflection pool in Devonian Square. The square was the defining feature in what was known then as Ryerson Community Park. Notice the CN Tower in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 495b, Item 14)
January 1, 2024 - Looking southwest from Gould St, just east of Victoria St. Behind the frozen Devonian Square pool is the G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education on the left. The structure was added to Heaslip House in 2005 and cantilevers over a portion of the reflecting pool/ice skating rink
January 1, 2024 – Looking southwest from Gould St, just east of Victoria St. Behind the frozen Devonian Square pool is the G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education on the left. The structure was added to Heaslip House in 2005 and cantilevers over a portion of the reflecting pool/ice skating rink
Between 1980 and 1995 - Looking southwest towards the Devonian Square reflection pool from Gould St, just east of Victoria St. The boulders scattered around the pool were imported from the Canadian Shield. They were formed between 540 million to 3 billion years ago
Between 1980 and 1995 – Looking southwest towards the Devonian Square reflection pool from Gould St, just east of Victoria St. The boulders scattered around the pool were imported from the Canadian Shield. They were formed between 540 million to 3 billion years ago (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 771, Item 14)
January 1, 2024 - Looking southwest towards Devonian Square and the G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at the TMU campus. The Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations (Calgary) provided the principal funding for the square. It was founded by lawyer, oilman, and philanthropist, Eric Lafferty Harvie
January 1, 2024 – Looking southwest towards Devonian Square and the G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at the TMU campus. The Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations (Calgary) provided the principal funding for the square. It was founded by lawyer, oilman, and philanthropist, Eric Lafferty Harvie
Between 1981 and 1988 - Visitors relaxing beside Devonian Square's reflection pool at the northeast corner of Gould St and Victoria St in downtown Toronto. Notice Heaslip House on the left, the CN Tower in the distance, and the tall building on the right is the Eaton Centre
Between 1981 and 1988 – Visitors relaxing beside Devonian Square’s reflection pool at the northeast corner of Gould St and Victoria St in downtown Toronto. Notice Heaslip House on the left, the CN Tower in the distance, and the tall building on the right is the Eaton Centre (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 495b, Item 38)
February 19, 2024 - Looking southeast from Gould St and Victoria St towards a frozen Lake Devo at the TMU campus. A skating rink in the winter, during the warmer months, it becomes a reflecting pool. Just behind Devonian Square is the School of Image Arts on the left and the G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education on the right
February 19, 2024 – Looking southeast from Gould St and Victoria St towards a frozen Lake Devo at the TMU campus. A skating rink in the winter, during the warmer months, it becomes a reflecting pool. Just behind Devonian Square is the School of Image Arts on the left and the G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education on the right
1972 - Before the construction of Devonian Square in 1978, the southeast corner of Victoria St and Gould St was the site of a parking lot
1972 – Before the construction of Devonian Square in 1978, the southeast corner of Victoria St and Gould St was the site of a parking lot (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 17, Item 12)
January 1, 2024 - Looking northeast  towards Devonian Square at Gould St and Victoria St, in the Garden District of Toronto
January 1, 2024 – Looking northeast towards Devonian Square at Gould St and Victoria St, in the Garden District of Toronto
February 18, 2024 - A few famous people on the panorama overlooking Lake Devo's ice skating rink at Gould St and Victoria St include Viola Desmond, John Candy, Mary Pickford, k.d. lang and Oscar Peterson. The mural, "Spotlight Canada: Faces That Shaped a Nation," is on TMU's School of Image Arts
February 18, 2024 – A few famous people on the panorama overlooking Lake Devo’s ice skating rink at Gould St and Victoria St include Viola Desmond, John Candy, Mary Pickford, k.d. lang and Oscar Peterson. The mural, “Spotlight Canada: Faces That Shaped a Nation,” is on TMU’s School of Image Arts
Between 1981 and 1988 - Looking northeast  towards Devonian Square at Gould St and Victoria St, in the Garden District of Toronto
Between 1981 and 1988 – Looking northeast towards Devonian Square at Gould St and Victoria St, in the Garden District of Toronto (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 495b, Item 28)
February 18, 2024 - Looking west towards the ice rink at Devonian Square from Victoria St, just south of Gould St. Directly behind the rink is the School of Image Arts building, which has featured the "Spotlight Canada: Faces That Shaped a Nation" mural since 2017. The west-facing panorama includes Mary Pickford, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Buffy Sainte-Marie, John Candy, Wayne Gretzky, Viola Desmond, Leonard Cohen, David Suzuki, k.d. lang, Oscar Peterson and Marshall McLuhan
February 18, 2024 – Looking west towards the ice rink at Devonian Square from Victoria St, just south of Gould St. Directly behind the rink is the School of Image Arts building, which has featured the “Spotlight Canada: Faces That Shaped a Nation” mural since 2017. The west-facing panorama includes Mary Pickford, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Buffy Sainte-Marie, John Candy, Wayne Gretzky, Viola Desmond, Leonard Cohen, David Suzuki, k.d. lang, Oscar Peterson and Marshall McLuhan
Between 1981 and 1988 - An aerial view looking northeast from Victoria St, just south of Gould St, towards Devonian Square. The square’s name originates from The Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations (Calgary), which gifted the principal funds for the project
Between 1981 and 1988 – An aerial view looking northeast from Victoria St, just south of Gould St, towards Devonian Square. The square’s name originates from The Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations (Calgary), which gifted the principal funds for the project (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 495b, Item 23)
January 1, 2024 - Looking southeast from Gould St and Victoria St on the Toronto Metropolitan University campus. The photo shows Devonian Square. Directly behind it, on the left, is the School of Image Arts, and on the right is the G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education and Heaslip House
January 1, 2024 – Looking southeast from Gould St and Victoria St on the Toronto Metropolitan University campus. The photo shows Devonian Square. Directly behind it, on the left, is the School of Image Arts, and on the right is the G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education and Heaslip House
February 18, 2024 - Devonian Square's ice skating rink at Gould St and Victoria St in downtown Toronto
February 18, 2024 – Devonian Square’s ice skating rink at Gould St and Victoria St in downtown Toronto
Between 1981 and 1988 - An aerial view looking east toward Devonian Square at Victoria St and Gould St. Located on the Toronto Metropolitan University campus, back then, it was known as Ryerson Polytechnical Institute
Between 1981 and 1988 – An aerial view looking east toward Devonian Square at Victoria St and Gould St. Located on the Toronto Metropolitan University campus, back then, it was known as Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 495b, Item 12)
February 18, 2024 - A tranquil ice skating rink amongst the massive boulders at Devonian Square. Located at Gould St and Victoria St at the Toronto Metropolitan University campus, in the background on the left is the Library building and on the right is Kerr Hall
February 18, 2024 – A tranquil ice skating rink amongst the massive boulders at Devonian Square. Located at Gould St and Victoria St at the Toronto Metropolitan University campus, in the background on the left is the Library building and on the right is Kerr Hall
October 21, 1978 - Looking northwest toward Devonian Square's reflecting pool with Gould St and Kerr Hall in the background. The photo was taken in the days following Ryerson Community Park's official opening
October 21, 1978 – Looking northwest toward Devonian Square’s reflecting pool with Gould St and Kerr Hall in the background. The photo was taken in the days following Ryerson Community Park’s official opening (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 35, Item 14)
October 21, 1978 - A person standing next to one of the massive boulders in Devonian Square. Part of what was known then as Ryerson Community Park, it had officially opened just eight days before this photo was taken
October 21, 1978 – A person standing next to one of the massive boulders in Devonian Square. Part of what was known then as Ryerson Community Park, it had officially opened just eight days before this photo was taken (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 35, Item 15)
July 6, 1978 - Looking southwest toward the building of Devonian Square at Victoria St and Gould St, in the Garden District of Toronto. Notice the tip of the CN Tower, Coles Bookstore, Eaton Centre and the back of the Biltmore Theatre
July 6, 1978 – Looking southwest toward the construction of Devonian Square at Victoria St and Gould St in downtown Toronto. From left to right, notice the tip of the CN Tower, Coles Bookstore, Eaton Centre and the back of the Biltmore Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 35, Item 7)
1978 - A view looking southwest during the construction of Devonian Square. Notice the Eaton Centre tower in the background
1978 – A view looking southwest during the construction of Devonian Square. Notice the Eaton Centre tower in the background (Photograph courtesy of Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries)
1978 - Laying the cooling pipes for the ice rink during the construction of Lake Devo
1978 – Laying the cooling pipes for the ice rink during the construction of Lake Devo (Photograph courtesy of Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries, RG 122.10.53b)
July 6, 1978 - The northwest corner of Devonian Square during construction. The Precambrian boulders were imported from the Canadian Shield in the Muskoka region
July 6, 1978 – The northwest corner of Devonian Square during construction. The Precambrian boulders were imported from the Canadian Shield in the Muskoka region (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 35, Item 4)
1978 - A crane holding one of Lake Devo's massive Precambrian boulders with two construction workers on top. A portion of Heaslip House is visible on the right
1978 – A crane holding one of Lake Devo’s massive Precambrian boulders with two construction workers on top. A portion of Heaslip House is visible on the right (Photograph courtesy of Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries, RG 122.10.53b)
1978 - An aerial view looking northeast showing a crane lowering a boulder during the construction of Devonian Square. The building on the right is today home to TMU's School of Image Arts
1978 – An aerial view looking northeast showing a crane lowering a boulder during the construction of Devonian Square. The building on the right is today home to TMU’s School of Image Arts (Photograph courtesy of Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries)
Between 1978 and 1983 – A drawing of Devonian Square, looking south from Gould St and Victoria St, at the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute campus in downtown Toronto. In 2022, the university was renamed Toronto Metropolitan University
Between 1978 and 1983 – A drawing of Devonian Square, looking south from Gould St and Victoria St, at the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute campus in downtown Toronto. In 2022, the university was renamed Toronto Metropolitan University (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 1465, File 611, Item 18)
April 23, 2023 - A close-up of the Devonian Square dedication stone inscribed with the names of the square's benefactors, architects and contractors
April 23, 2023 – A close-up of the Devonian Square dedication stone inscribed with the names of the square’s benefactors, architects and contractors
April 23, 2023 - The Devonian Square dedication stone at Gould St and Victoria St on the TMU campus. The square was a part of what was originally known as Ryerson Community Park, which officially opened on October 13, 1978
April 23, 2023 – The Devonian Square dedication stone at Gould St and Victoria St on the TMU campus. The square was a part of what was originally known as Ryerson Community Park, which officially opened on October 13, 1978
February 19, 2024 - Looking west towards the Devonian Square ice rink and School of Image Arts. The mural overlooking Devonian Square pays tribute to the people who helped establish Canada's national identity. The panorama was created in honour of Canada 150 and features (from left to right): Mary Pickford (circa 1910), Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1981), Buffy Sainte-Marie (circa 1971), John Candy (circa 1983), Wayne Gretzky (1981), Viola Desmond (circa 1945), Leonard Cohen (circa 1990), David Suzuki (circa 1993), k.d. lang (circa 1988), Oscar Peterson (1977) and Marshall McLuhan (circa 1974). The mural titled "Spotlight Canada: Faces That Shaped a Nation" also wraps around a portion of the building's north facade and features Chief Dan George (circa 1971), Margaret Atwood (circa 1989) and Yousuf Karsh (1971)
February 19, 2024 – Looking west towards the Devonian Square ice rink and School of Image Arts. The mural overlooking Devonian Square pays tribute to the people who helped establish Canada’s national identity. The panorama was created in honour of Canada 150 and features (from left to right): Mary Pickford (circa 1910), Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1981), Buffy Sainte-Marie (circa 1971), John Candy (circa 1983), Wayne Gretzky (1981), Viola Desmond (circa 1945), Leonard Cohen (circa 1990), David Suzuki (circa 1993), k.d. lang (circa 1988), Oscar Peterson (1977) and Marshall McLuhan (circa 1974). The mural titled “Spotlight Canada: Faces That Shaped a Nation” also wraps around a portion of the building’s north facade and features Chief Dan George (circa 1971), Margaret Atwood (circa 1989) and Yousuf Karsh (1971)
February 19, 2024 - Looking west from Victoria St, just south of Gould St, at the TMU campus in downtown Toronto. The G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education building, which was built in 2005 and is attached to the north side of Heaslip House, cantilevers over Lake Devo
February 19, 2024 – Looking west from Victoria St, just south of Gould St, at the TMU campus in downtown Toronto. The G Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education building, which was built in 2005 and is attached to the north side of Heaslip House, cantilevers over Lake Devo
Circa 1937 to 1940 – Eric Lafferty Harvie sitting at a desk in his office in Calgary, Alberta. The charitable foundation established by Mr Harvie donated the principal funding for Devonian Square
Circa 1937 to 1940 – Eric Lafferty Harvie sitting at a desk in his office in Calgary, Alberta. The charitable foundation established by Mr Harvie donated the principal funding for Devonian Square (CU1203161, Glenbow Library and Archives Collection, Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary)
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