Searching For the Fountain Of Youth

So far I haven’t really found one, and time is running out!

Fountains are attractions the world over. You may have been to some; for example the romantic Trevi fountain in Rome where you throw a coin over your shoulder and wish for a return visit tote Eternal City where you are sure to find love. Or maybe, after all your money has been gambled away, you have visited the musical fountain at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Or perhaps you have taken a trip to the opulent palace in Versailles and seen the Latona fountain where even the lizards and frogs are gold.

In Toronto I have discovered several fountains that are noteworthy, even if not life-altering. Many act as meeting places, like the one on Centre Island where people gather after a day of exploration, and then walk together to the ferry for the ride home. Or back in the olden days when the CNE was running, people met at the fountain near the Better Living Centre to share stories of the deep-fried chocolate bars, or crispy crickets that they had eaten in the Food Building.

In Toronto I have a few favourites. I love the peaceful little park in the middle of Yorkville, where shoppers can take a break to rest on that huge piece of Canadian Shield granite believed to be over one billion years old. Once comfortably seated, visitors can gaze at the rain curtain, a steady wall of water falling in strings. On a hot day, it’s a cool respite as shoppers contemplate whether to splurge $300 on that glitzy pair of shoes they just saw in an upscale store.

Then there is the Salmon Run, completed in 1991 and located in front of the Rogers Centre. The sculpture is intended to “inspire hope for the ecological well-being of an area now dominated by human traffic.” The salmon look quite life-like as they leap into the… Oops – right now the fountain is dry. Is that a reflection of a backlog of municipal chores? Or is it another sign that our rivers and lakes are beginning to dry up as the earth warms? Either way, the salmon look desperate, suspended in mid-air.

One other park with a water feature is getting a lot of advance publicity these days. Cloud Garden and Conservatory, in the centre of the financial district, consists of a two-level greenhouse with temperatures set to replicate the conditions of a rain forest. It includes tropical plants, and a 5-storey waterfall with a reflecting pool at the bottom. A series of interconnecting ramps and bridges allows visitors to walk vertically through the gardens. The park which won a Governor General’s award, is currently closed for renovations. It is set to re-open in 2023, and will be a welcome addition to the financial district.

But my favourite is the newish fountain at Berczy Park, built in 2017 when the park was being re-designed. This fountain, on Front Street across from the St. Lawrence Centre, features 27 dogs all salivating streams of water as they stare up at a huge gold bone overhead. Kids love this fountain with the water and the dogs. I get a real thrill watching them giggle as they run through the spray and hug the puppies. It makes me feel young again – kind of like a Fountain of Youth!


PS If you have a favourite public fountain, share it with other readers.

Centre Island fountain and meeting place
Salmon Run at the Rogers Centre
Dog Fountain at Berczy Park

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