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New park opens by lake in heart of downtown T.O.
Toronto's first urban beach officially opened Friday morning on the city's waterfront.
Mayor David Miller unveiled HTO park, located south of Queen's Quay just east of Spadina, to the public with a tour of the grounds.
"Look at this morning. There are people playing with beach toys right here in downtown Toronto. That's just great," Miller said. "Making the water swimmable is step two."
The park's unique layout, complete with water, islands, gardens, lighting and beach furniture, was selected after winning an international design competition held by the city in 2003.
City officials said they chose the name HTO to reflect hope that the park will being the city and the water together--it's a fusion of H2O, the chemical name for water, and Toronto's abbreviated form.
HTO is part of Toronto's master plan to revitalize the waterfront. More parks are planned for the lake's shore in what the city hopes will be a waterfront renaissance.
But the beachfront view of the Toronto City Centre Airport across the water isn't ideal according to Councillor Adam Vaughan, who opposed the airport's construction.
"Three times today we've had planes taking off and for what?" Vaughan asked. "I mean, there are more people in the park right now than there have been on the last ten flights."
Porter Air, a commercial airline, started to fly exclusively out of the downtown waterfront's airport last year despite protests from some area residents and politicians like Vaughan.
A class of local school children placed items, reflecting their thoughts and ideas about the city's waterfront, in a time capsule at the park at the opening.
The time capsule will be reopened at a ceremony in 2020.
With a report from CTV's Mairianna Bachynsky