CSquare: A Cause (and place) for Celebration!

I was walking downtown from East Village earlier this winter when something caught my eye. Rather, the lack of something caught my eye. The fencing that had been surrounding a construction project in our neighbourhood was finally down and what was left was begging for a closer look.

C-Square (short for Celebration Square) is an urban square built on a quirky piece of land in East Village that I’d never noticed before. Now, it’s an active, artistic public space that looks good day and night. The little plaza’s artfully crafted wooden benches, open spaces and veil of metal flags on 4th Street (Riverfront Lane) and 6th & 7th Avenues S.E. live right along the C-Train line. 

It’s striking how a public space is able to be so much more than it first appears. Someone driving by on their way to work before the sun rises might just see a pretty little urban park with smart lighting. When I’m stopped at the C-Train crossing there on my drive to work, it’s like a delightful little “goodbye” from my neighbourhood.

And for me it’s even better as a pedestrian. When I walked home one night in January after a skate with friends at Olympic Plaza, my path home was lit up in C-Square’s friendly bright lights.

There’s still more to come. When C-Square is fully operational, the plaza itself will interact with passing C-Trains.

Yes, actually.

There are lights in the “veil” (those are the metal flags) that react to the train coming by. The design team behind C-Square (Scatliff+Miller+Murray and the Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative) wanted to take advantage of the passing trains instead of trying to work against it in their nook of East Village. I love their vision of the train coming through, the veil lighting up and everyone inside the train and chilling in the plaza watching the light show together in a shared moment.

Oh, and it still gets better.

C-Square features a stage to host live performances. This is especially appropriate, I think, considering it’s just steps away from the National Music Centre’s Studio Bell. A band can plug into C-Square and the veil’s lights will respond to changes in the decibel level of the show.

I think this calls for a block party. And a celebration.