Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

Gallery: Ireland Park in Toronto

The memorial to Irish famine emigrants has reopened after four years

Images of Ireland Park in Toronto courtesy of Lone Primate/Flickr

Tue, Jul 29, 2014, 12:00


The Ireland Park in Toronto, dedicated to the victims of the Irish famine, reopened to the public last week after four years of construction works in the area.

The waterfront park along the Portland Slip promenade was built in 2007 in memorial to the 38,000 Irish immigrants who arrived in the city in 1847, more than 1,000 of whom died that summer. The names of the dead are carved on a wall made from Irish limestone at the park.

A sculptural installation encompassing five bronze figures of famished immigrants by sculptor Rowan Gillespie matches a set of similar sculptures on Custom House Quay in Dublin’s Docklands area.

There is a tradition of leaving objects for the sculptures, such as food beside the starving woman curled on the ground, or coins in the hands of the pregnant woman, who is the only individual to feature in both the Dublin and Toronto exhibits.

Alongside the bronze figures are large-scale limestone and glass sculptures designed by Jonathan Kearns to reflect the Irish landscape, particularly the cliffs on the western side of the Aran Islands.

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