Toronto’s push for urban green space is not limited to the lakeshore. Throughout the city, small public parks can be found tucked among high rises, shopping centers and condominiums, often housing works of outdoor art. With designs by some of the most noted architects, landscape architects and artists, most of the spaces are part of an extensive Parks, Forestry & Recreation network. It’s rare to see any of these locations vacant — it seems there is always someone reading a book, playing with a dog or taking a brown-bag break. Below are just a few examples.
How does a city reverse the centrifugal force that sends its citizens spinning outward, away from the concrete jungle to the solace of the suburbs? For Toronto, a pivotal factor for drawing them back in and transforming them into enthusiastic urbanites is the creation of green spaces. And it seems to be working. Over the past 30 years, as the acreage of public parks has continued to stretch across the city, the population of downtown dwellers has bulked up by 65 percent.
For Toronto-based floral designer Bruno Duarte, a bouquet doesn’t need a lot of flowers to be spectacular. Since opening his shop Fresh Floral Creations five years ago — which accommodates everything from single-arrangement walk-ins to big events — he has kept his focus on the structural qualities of plants, often deftly bending and shaping them with the skill of a sculptor. Duarte’s style draws inspiration from nature as well as high fashion and home décor, believing that all these things are closely married.
Bruno Duarte's initiation into floral design began with a temporary job at a floral shop to fill the time between high school and college. Looking through books on the subject, the light bulb went off when he came across the work of Belgian designers like Daniel Ost. "I was amazed to realize this can be an art form — and I could go to school for it and make it a career!"