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Canadian landscape architect Claude Cormier, designer of public spaces, dies at 63

Claude Cormier, a celebrated Canadian landscape architect who helped design some of Montreal and Toronto’s best-known public spaces, has died at 63.

His firm, now named CCxA, said Cormier died today in Montreal following complications from Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a rare genetic condition that predisposes patients to multiple cancers.

His firm describes Cormier as the creative force behind some of Canada’s most joyous and critically acclaimed public spaces — including Toronto’s Berczy Park dog fountain — and the canopy of pink (later multicoloured) plastic balls that hung for years over Montreal’s Village district.

His work ranged from high-traffic plazas such as Montreal’s Place d’Youville and Dorchester Square, to the brightly coloured umbrellas of the city’s Clock Tower Beach.

Claude Cormier won awards for his design of Toronto’s Sugar Beach, with its pink parasols and giant rocks that look like striped candy.

He also designed Leslie Lookout Park, which is in the process of being completed in Toronto’s Port Lands district.

In Ottawa, Cormier was part of the team, led by Daniel Libeskind, that designed the National Holocaust Monument, a multi-level gathering space for commemorations, with a  design rooted in the symbol of a emerging star.

WATCH | Claude Cormier explains his passion for art that can be shared by all: 

Canadian landscape architect Claude Cormier on his famous works

2 hours ago

Duration 1:28

Celebrated landscape architect Claude Cormier, who died Friday at the age of 63, helped design some of Montreal’s and Toronto’s best-known public spaces. ‘The thing I like about public spaces is bringing people together in a very universal way,’ he said in a recent interview with CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.

His final big projects were a 30-metre suspended steel hoop in downtown Montreal titled L’anneau (The Ring), and Toronto’s heart-shaped Love Park — both of which are described as love letters to Cormier’s favourite cities.

Cormier’s career began in the early 1990s with landscape art installation projects and is considered to have challenged Canadian landscaping conventions. 

The obituary says he is survived by his mother, sister, brother, nieces and nephew, as well as many colleagues and friends.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante described Cormier as a “visionary, a builder and a great Montrealer.” She called his passing as an “immense loss.” 

Plante told CBC Cormier has helped Montreal attract global attention for its design. 

“He made us shine, and he continues to make us shine internationally,” she said.

According to Dinu Bumbaru, policy director at Heritage Montreal, the poetic quality of Cormier’s work has helped rekindle an appreciation for landscape architecture. 

“It reminds us that the heritage of a city is not only about what was created in the past but also the heritage we create in our own generations,” said Bumbaru.

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