Ireland Park 10th Anniversary
On June 21, 2017, Canada Ireland Foundation celebrated the 10th anniversary of the opening of Ireland Park, with its past and present Board Members, key supporters, and dignitaries. Designed by Jonathan Kearns and featuring bronze figure sculptures by Rowan Gillespie, the award-winning park was opened on June 21, 2007, by Ireland’s then-President Mary McAleese.
Set in the park, with the backdrop of the city skyline, the celebration commenced with the Foundation’s Executive Director William Peat opening remarks, which welcomed attendees and thanked them for their support. He introduced the speakers, who consisted of First Secretary of the Embassy of Ireland Mr. Michael Hurley, Ontario Minister of Labour, the Hon. Mr. Kevin Flynn MPP, City of Toronto Parks Branch Director Richard Ubbens, Mr. Bryan Bowen, Project Manager at the Waterfront Secretariat (City Planning), City of Toronto, and Chairman and Founder of the Foundation, Mr. Robert G. Kearns.
Each one spoke to different aspects of the park and its future. Mr. Hurley’s beautiful words on the plight of the Irish migrants at that time complemented Mr. Kearn’s words on the future of Ireland Park and the upcoming Grasett Park. Mr. Ubben and Mr. Bowen spoke to the future of the park, and to the Foundation’s important role in the development of Toronto’s Waterfront. Minister Flynn presented Mr. Kearns with a scroll on behalf of Premier Kathleen Wynn and the Government of Ontario.
Thanks to the support of all of those present at the celebration, and the support of those who were not able to make it, Ireland Park continues to be an important reminder of Toronto’s history. Canada Ireland Foundation has been able to plan significant projects in the city, one of which will be Grasett Park. These future endeavours will not only serve to honour Toronto’s past, but also serve as a poignant reminder of the plight of migrants everywhere, and the kindness and courage of the Canadians who aided, and continue to aid, these groups.
Ireland Park is a centre for reflection, contemplation, and recognition of the past and the possibilities for the future. As we celebrate its 10th Anniversary, we acknowledge all of those who have supported the park in the past, and those who do so presently. Thanks to the enthusiasm of our Founding Partners, construction and design teams, financial supporters, volunteers, and the tireless work of our past and present Board Members, we can look forward to the next chapter of Ireland Park, and to the continued development of the Foundation’s work in Toronto.