Ireland Park Toronto

Toronto's derelict Canada Malting Plant will soon anchor a huge new event space

Toronto's waterfront will soon be home to a new public arts and event space inspired by the arrival of some 40,000 starving Irish immigrants to the city in 1847.

Located next to the long-abandoned Canada Malting Silos at the foot of Bathurst Street, the centre will be run by the Ireland Park Foundation, which creates and maintains commemorative public spaces to celebrate "the role of the Irish in Canada and Canada's influence in Irish affairs."

The organization's founder, Robert Kearns, signed a five-year lease on the Canada Malting Company's old executive offices at 5 Eirann Quay on St. Patrick's Day, according to the Globe and Mail.

The city-owned building, which is directly next to the existing Ireland park and its eerie-yet-beautiful famine sculptures, will provide roughly 8,000-square-feet of space across three floors for cultural events.

Toronto also recently approved the creation of a $1,141,455 capital project fund for streetscape and public realm improvements in the area, which has come to be known as Bathurst Quay.

"We are intent upon turning this building into a jewel box on the waterfront and making it a place of destination for all citizens of Toronto and all visitors to Toronto," said Kearns at City Hall on Sunday.

Kearns, an Irish citizen who immigrated to Canada in the 1970s, has been working tirelessly in recent decades to create awareness of the Great Famine (often referred to as "the potato famine") that drove two million people out of Ireland and killed a million more between 1845 and 1849.

More specifically, his organization has been working to highlight and commemorate how the tragic event changed Canada and Toronto, which had a population of just 20,000 people when 38,560 Irish immigrants moved to the city between May and October of 1847.

Kearns said that the new exhibition and event space will serve to tell the story of Toronto's "generous and courageous response" to the plight of these migrants, many of whom were very sick, while championing the importance of migration in general.

Lead photo by

Marcanadian


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