Shoreline Commemorative – A Nod to Toronto’s Historical Waterfront Line

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2022 – The glowing glass orb of the Shoreline Commemorative sits on a bronze tripod. The two-colour teal blue orb signifies the line separating sky and water, while the tripod represents the surveyors’ instrumentation of the line of sight
2022 – The glowing glass orb of the Shoreline Commemorative sits on a bronze tripod. The two-colour teal blue orb signifies the line separating sky and water, while the tripod represents the surveyors’ instrumentation of the line of sight

The Shoreline Commemorative artwork is tucked away in an architectural niche in The Berczy condo’s facade. It’s on the west side of Church St (just south of Front St E) in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto.

Designed by artist and architect Paul Raff and commissioned by Concert Properties Ltd (builders of The Berczy), the public work of art was unveiled in 2014. It shows passersby that for thousands of years, Lake Ontario’s shoreline once reached the aptly named Front St.

The Elements of the Shoreline Commemorative

The sculpted limestone base represents the lakefront’s original profile on the city’s southern edge. The focal point is a glass sphere fixed to a bronze tripod. The glowing two-colour teal blue orb signifies the line dividing the sky and water, while the tripod symbolizes “the surveyors’ instrumentation of the line of sight.” The artwork’s north-facing brick wall represents where the water and land came together. The sandblasted inscription on the wall reads, “For 10,000 years this wall was the location of Lake Ontario’s shoreline. This brick wall stands where water and land met, with a vista of the horizon.”

The Shoreline Commemorative is meant to give the observer the experience of being on the water’s edge and looking out to the horizon. A view that was once available at this exact place.

Did You Know?

Before the completion of the Waterfront Esplanade in 1865, Front St followed the very nearby shoreline of Lake Ontario. Since then, various in-fill projects have extended Toronto further south to where it stands today.

Shoreline Commemorative Photos

2022 - The Shoreline Commemorative is located in an architectural niche in The Berczy condo's facade. It's on the west side of Church St, just south of Front St E in the St Lawrence neighbourhood. Artist-architect Paul Raff created the artwork
2022 – The Shoreline Commemorative is located in an architectural niche in The Berczy condo’s facade. It’s on the west side of Church St, just south of Front St E in the St Lawrence neighbourhood. Artist-architect Paul Raff created the artwork
2022 - The Shoreline Commemorative wall text reads: 
“For 10,000 years this was the location of Lake Ontario’s shoreline. 
This brick wall stands where water and land met, with a vista horizon.”
2022 – The Shoreline Commemorative wall text reads:

“For 10,000 years this was the location of Lake Ontario’s shoreline. This brick wall stands where water and land met, with a vista horizon.”
2022 – Looking west from Church St, south of Front St E toward the Shoreline Commemorative. The artwork is made of limestone, glass, bronze and sandblasted brick and was unveiled in 2014
2022 – Looking west from Church St, south of Front St E toward the Shoreline Commemorative. The artwork is made of limestone, glass, bronze and sandblasted brick and was unveiled in 2014
2022 – The Shoreline Commemorative is located at the former site of Lake Ontario's shoreline. The sculpted limestone base represents the original topography of Toronto's waterfront edge
2022 – The Shoreline Commemorative is located at the former site of Lake Ontario’s shoreline. The sculpted limestone base represents the original topography of Toronto’s waterfront edge
2022 – The glowing glass orb of the Shoreline Commemorative sits on a bronze tripod. The two-colour teal blue orb signifies the line separating sky and water, while the tripod represents the surveyors’ instrumentation of the line of sight
2022 – The glowing glass orb of the Shoreline Commemorative sits on a bronze tripod. The two-colour teal blue orb signifies the line separating sky and water, while the tripod represents the surveyors’ instrumentation of the line of sight
\2022 – Shoreline Commemorative by artist Paul Raff 2014. Concert Properties Ltd commissioned the glass, bronze, limestone and sandblasted brick artwork
2022 – Shoreline Commemorative by artist Paul Raff 2014. Concert Properties Ltd commissioned the glass, bronze, limestone and sandblasted brick artwork
2022 - Shoreline Commemorative artwork is located in an architectural niche on The Berczy condo’s Church St facade, just south of Front St E. It's a nod to Toronto's historical waterfront line
2022 – Shoreline Commemorative artwork is located in an architectural niche on The Berczy condo’s Church St facade, just south of Front St E. It’s a nod to Toronto’s historical waterfront line
1838 – The fish market at Toronto Harbour, looking west from the foot of today’s Jarvis St and Front St E. Notice in the distance The Coffin Block where the Gooderham Building at Church St and Front St E is located today. The Shoreline Commemorative is just south of the Gooderham Building
1838 – The fish market at Toronto Harbour, looking west from the foot of today’s Jarvis St and Front St E. Notice in the distance The Coffin Block where the Gooderham Building at Church St and Front St E is located today. The Shoreline Commemorative is just south of the Gooderham Building (Toronto Public Library B1-26B)
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