Cyclist riding past the Oculus, a concrete UFO shaped structure


Far-out Architecture in South Humber Park

Shawn Micallef, Toronto Star

Coming across the Oculus Pavilion for the first time is like stumbling upon E.T.’s spaceship in a wooded clearing. Found along the Humber River trail in South Humber Park, about a kilometre north of the river mouth, this most Space Age of public washrooms has been long closed and allowed to fall into disrepair.

The Oculus is quintessentially mid-century modern, with a concrete saucer that seems to float in air along with a curved building covered in flagstone that houses the old toilets. The hole in middle makes it an oculus. Move over, ancient Roman Pantheon, Toronto used to build public washrooms like you did temples. When underneath it, the saucer creates an echo and amazing sonic environment that has hosted impromptu musical performances.

Its derelict state was a melancholy sight, but a new, temporary, public art installation called “Brighter Days Ahead” foretells of the pavilion’s future. The yellow vinyl stripes affixed to the saucer and its slender pillars are designed by Giaimo, a Toronto architecture and heritage conservation firm also responsible for its restoration. Continue reading here.

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