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Harbourfront Centre

Harbourfront Centre Review

Stretching from just west of York Street to Spadina Avenue, this culture-and-recreation center is a match for San Francisco's Pier 39 and Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The original Harbourfront opened in 1974, rejuvenating more than a mile of city. Today Harbourfront Centre, a streamlined version of the original concept, draws more than 3 million visitors to the 10-acre site each year. Queen's Quay Terminal (207 Queen's Quay W 416/203–0510 www.qqterminal.com) at Harbourfront Centre is a former Terminal Warehouse building, where goods shipped to Toronto were stored before being delivered to shops in the city. In 1983 it was transformed into a magnificent, eight-story building with specialty shops, eateries, the 450-seat Fleck Dance Theatre—and harbor views. Exhibits of contemporary painting, sculpture, architecture, video, photography, and design are mounted at the Power Plant (231 Queen's Quay W 416/973–4949 www.thepowerplant.org Sun, Tues., and Wed. 10–6, Thurs.–Sat. 10–8; tours Sun. at 2). It can be spotted by its tall red smokestack. It was built in 1927 as a power station for the Terminal Warehouse's ice-making plant. Developed by renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy, the Music Garden on the south side of Queen's Quay was planned for Boston, but when that venue fell through, Toronto was the pair's next choice. The garden is Yo-Yo Ma's interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 (which consists of six movements—Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Minuet, and Gigue). Each movement is reflected in the park's elaborate design: undulating riverscape, a forest grove of wandering trails, a swirling path through a wildflower meadow, a conifer grove, a formal flower parterre, and giant grass steps. York Quay Centre (235 Queen's Quay W 416/973–4000; 416/973–4866 rink info; 416/973–4963 craft studio) hosts concerts, theater, readings, and even skilled artisans. The Craft Studio, for example, has professional craftspeople working in ceramics, glass, metal, and textiles from February to December (Tuesday through Sunday), in full view of the public. A shallow pond outside is used for canoe lessons in warmer months and as the largest artificial ice-skating rink in North America in more wintry times. At the nearby Nautical Centre, many private firms rent boats and give lessons in sailing and canoeing. Among the seasonal events in Harbourfront Centre are the Ice Canoe Race in late January, Winterfest in February, a jazz festival in June, Canada Day celebrations and the Parade of Lights in July, the Authors' Festival and Harvest Festival in October, and the Swedish Christmas Fair in November.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 410 Queen's Quay W, Harbourfront, Toronto, ON | Map It
  • Phone: 416/973–4000 event hotline; 416/973–4600 offices
  • Website:
  • Metro Union, then streetcar 509 or 510 west.
  • Location: Harbourfront
Updated: 09-12-2013

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