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.