cloud gardens toronto

Long-closed Toronto park with hidden waterfall won't fully reopen until at least 2026

A long-closed Toronto park was finally scheduled to reopen this year, but it looks like the public will have to wait quite a while longer for Cloud Gardens' full return to the city's Financial District.

The park, with its lush, two-level conservatory and five-storey waterfall, has been fenced off since late 2018 as part of a City-led restoration of Temperance Street, which dovetails with the completion of the Bay-Adelaide Centre complex the street passes through.

Though the rebuild of Temperance Street and construction of the surrounding office towers are now complete, the scheduled reopening of Cloud Gardens appears to have been pushed back from its previous 2024 estimate.

A City webpage for the park now states that the Cloud Gardens Conservatory "is closed until late 2026 due to planned restoration work," adding that surrounding "stairs, ramps and terraces will remain closed until restoration work is completed."

While this wording suggests that parts of the park will indeed open before the conservatory, the updated timeline means that Cloud Gardens' closure (at least in part) will have stretched on for an agonizing eight years before fully reopened.

Renovation of the park was a laborious task that involved the replacement of its quarter-century-old waterproofing membrane separating it from a parking garage below.

This element of the project was covered by developer Brookfield Properties as part of construction for the third and final tower in the Bay Adelaide Centre complex, the Scotiabank North Tower that wrapped construction in late 2022.

In 2021, the City expected a 12-to-18-month timeline following construction of the new office tower, meaning that the earliest the park would open would have been this year, 2024.

The extended closure is especially frustrating for longer-established residents and workers, who also had to deal with the park's temporary closure for renovation between 2014 and 2015.

The popular oasis amid the hustle and bustle of the Financial District sits on land donated to the City in exchange for increased height allotments in the 1980s as part of the aborted plan to build the initial iteration of the Bay Adelaide Centre.

While that plan went bust during the early 1990s recession, the park went forward, and, eventually, a new iteration of the Bay Adelaide Centre was realized on the surrounding lands.

Lead photo by

Tanya Mok

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