MOTH Gardens - Downsview Memorial Parkette - Keele St. and Wilson Ave., Toronto, ON - 2006

Project lead, collaboration with Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc.
Ontario Hope Bay limestone sculpture, steel arbour, wind socks, airport runway lights, LED lights, integrated landscape
Commissioned by the City of Toronto

The design of MOTH Gardens is inspired by Downsview's history of aviation. At the core of the gardens a limestone sculpture refers to the first airplanes manufactured in Downsview - the Gypsy and Tiger Moths. The artwork was inspired by a photograph from the 1920s showing the word MOTH written in large white letters on the turf beside the original Downsview airstrip. The sculpture's stone sections of varying heights, which also serve as tables and seating, coalesce into the letters M O T H when seen from above.

A vine covered steel arbour at the west side of the gardens incorporates various aircraft references. A row of windsocks marks the park's eastern end. The central grassy "airstrip" is defined by a line of blue solar runway lights and blue LED light strips attached under the stones cast a soft blue outline around the MOTH letters at night.

Each letter of the MOTH sculpture is surrounded by a unique garden. These rose, flowering annual, scented herb and butterfly gardens are intersected by walkways patterned on Italian Renaissance garden designs in recognition of the area's early Italian immigrants. Downsview Memorial Parkette was originally dedicated in 1946 to honour local men and women who sacrificed their lives in the Second World War. A dedication to them is inscribed in the low stone wall that makes up one section of the O.