Near the bottom of Bathurst Street, just east of Billy Bishop Airport, there's a moving tribute to the nearly 40,000 Irish immigrants who came to Toronto in 1847 to escape the potato blight in their homeland. Ireland Park, on Éireann Quay, opened in 2007. It's composed of three elements: an illuminated glass tower, representing an encouraging beacon of light; a wall built of Kilkenny limestone, with all the 1847 immigrants' names incribed on it; and a striking group of skeletal bronze figures, including a man with his arms raised in joy, a pregnant woman with her arms protecting her stomach, and an apprehensive-looking boy. If you got close enough, you could see the coins that Toronto visitors have left in the figures' hands.
Unfortunately, looking closely at them isn't currently an option; the contruction of the pedestrian tunnel linking the airport to the mainland has meant that access to Éireann Quay, at the base of the Canada Malting silos, has been fenced off for over three years. The Toronto Port Authority promises it will finally reopen later this year. Until then, unless you're skilled at climbing fences (or can stretch your neck long enough view it from Billy Bishop's parking lot) the only way to see the bronzes is—ironically—from the water.
· Ireland Park: Arrival Point [Canadian Art]
· Irish Famine Park in Toronto Still Closed [Irish Times]
· The Making of Ireland Park [Ireland Park Foundation]
· Billy Bishop Tunnel Project [Toronto Port Authority]