Three Wavedecks, Simcoe, Rees and Spadina are now completed and open to the public of Toronto, with a further five to come. Part of a major revitalisation and opening up of Toronto's waterfront.
The Simcoe WaveDeck, one in a series of uniquely Canadian urban docks, is as artistic as it is functional. Located just west of Simcoe Street, the wooden Wavedeck features an informal public amphitheatre-style space with impressive curves that soar as high as 2.6 metres above the lake.
Inspired by the shorelines of Ontario’s Great Lakes, the Simcoe WaveDeck created new public space at the water’s edge by replacing a narrow sidewalk with a grand waterside gathering place. Its whimsical and dynamic design has made the Wavedeck one of the waterfront’s most interesting new public spaces. People of all ages are enjoying views of the harbour from its 30 metre-long backless bench, using its steps as a place to eat lunch and taking pictures of themselves sliding on its graceful curves.
The 650 square metre structure is made of yellow glulam cedar and Ipe wood. The Wavedeck’s two large swells feature slender stainless steel railings that follow the undulations of the waves in the deck. These railings are designed to differentiate the curved portions of the deck and help visitors negotiate the slopes.
In addition to the railings the Wavedeck includes several other health and safety features including antislip components at the edge of each step and a visual white band to provide contrast and help mark the edge of steps. To provide traction on the slopes, strips of abrasive material called carborundum inserts were used and the deckboards were angled to provide extra traction on the steepest slopes.
At Rees, the wavedeck dips gracefully towards the water allowing the public to get so close to the water they can almost touch it. Boating clubs in the slip also benefit from the new wavedeck which offers an amphitheatre-like space for outdoor education. A portion of the toe rail at the centre of the deck is removable to accommodate boarding of small boats from the wavedeck. Two 15 metre backless benches act as an elegant barrier to the water while also providing seating for users of the space
In the evening, the deck is lit from below with colourful LED fixtures mounted to the timber structure. These colourful lights cast a glow from beneath the deck creating a beautiful effect on the water and highlight the architecture of the wavedeck.
Located at the foot of Spadina Avenue, the 630 square-metre wooden wavedeck transformed a narrow sidewalk into a new waterside gathering place. It created more public space along one of the most heavily used parts of the Toronto shoreline and helped connect two key waterfront amenities, the Music Garden and HtO Park.
In addition to amphitheatre-style seating on the steps of the wavedeck, a 57 metre backless bench creates a perfect place to relax and gather by the lake. The bench also acts as an innovative and elegant barrier to the water.
Check out the video from the Toronto Star below which offers a broad overview with great before and after images as well as a brief discussion with the VP of Planning & Design team Chris Glaisik in which he describes the hurdles to bring the designs to fruition.
For further infomation please check out the Waterfront Toronto website: http://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/