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Peitree Yaoliang Eco Resort - PFS Studio

Artifact: Fireside Chats

Text by Eric Klaver, OALA

Our attraction to fire and its warmth is strong, especially in the dim winter months. What our distancing and serial lockdowns have also exposed is our need to meet, gather, and see others face to face is fundamental, and it’s critical to have public space within our cities as a venue for meetings to take place. At the intersection of these needs and desires has emerged the rise of the fire pit as not only a backyard feature, but as a vital component of park infrastructure.

One fire pit I’ve experienced was especially enchanting during these last two years, for all the previously mentioned reasons, and also because it is located within the incredible Trillium Park at Ontario Place, where the power of the fire is matched by the sublime beauty of the view of Lake Ontario.

One of four fire pits available throughout the Ontario Place grounds, including this one at Trillium Park. IMAGE/ Courtesy of Ontario Place

Sitting around this fire, I have been part of informal and spontaneous gatherings of friends and family, as well as the fire pit being the location for meeting with my book club, where the flames mesmerized, and inspired thought and some weighty conversation.

This place, this experience, had with no expense other than time, demonstrated to me how special Ontario Place is. It has shown how the experience of that particular setting is at once universal in its fundamental elements of earth, fire, and water and is at the same time unique in its location and immediate ecology. There’s no place like
this place, any place.

BIO/ Eric Klaver, OALA, is a member of the Ground editorial board and a partner at Plant Architect Inc.