Canadian Guitar Quartet
Have Guitar, Will Travel (Even in Quarantine)
The Canadian Guitar Quartet – celebrated for its energy, passion and refinement – performs a delightful program.
Sunday, August 16 at 4pm
Thursday, August 20 at 7pm
Sunday, August 23 at 4pm
Thursday, August 27 at 7pm
Sunday, August 30 at 4pm
Sunday, September 6 at 4pm
Sunday, September 13 at 4pm
Watch Past Events
About Summer Music in the Garden
Summer Music in the Garden at Home
About Toronto Music Garden
Guided tours of the Toronto Music Garden have been cancelled for the 2020 season; as well, the rental of hand-held audio players for self-guided tours has been halted for the time being. Harbourfront Centre's priority is the health and safety of both tour guides and tour participants given the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. We encourage you to read more about the Toronto Music Garden below and invite you to explore its intricate pathways and beautiful landscaping on your next physically-distanced walk by the waterfront!
Harbourfont.live is home to our digital campus, a place where Harbourfront Centre brings you the magic of our in-person events virtually. Each venue page represents one of our physical spaces, with this page standing in for the beautiful Toronto Music Garden.
This delightful garden — a reflection in landscape of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for unaccompanied cello, BWV 1007 — was designed by internationally renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma and landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy, in collaboration with landscape architects from the City of Toronto's Parks and Recreation department.Two Canadian artists created special features for the Music Garden: Tom Tollefson, architectural blacksmith, fabricated the Music Pavilion; and Anne Roberts, Feir Mill Design Inc., designed the Maypole. The Toronto Music Garden is a City of Toronto park, located at 479 Queen’s Quay West on the waterfront between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue. It is open year-round and there is no admission fee. The Toronto Music Garden is wheelchair-accessible.
The Garden's Design: Hearing the Toronto Music GardenEach dance movement within Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for unaccompanied cello, BWV 1007 corresponds to a different section of the Toronto Music Garden.
Prelude – An undulating river scape with curves and bendsThe first movement of the suite imparts the feeling of a flowing river through which the visitor can stroll. Granite boulders from the southern edge of the Canadian Shield are placed to represent a stream bed with low-growing plants softening its banks. The whole is overtopped by an alley of native Hackberry trees (Celtis occidentalis), whose straight trunks and regular spacing suggest measures of music.
Allemande – A forest grove of wandering trailsThe allemande is an ancient German dance. Interpreted here as a Birch forest, the movement invites the visitor to swirl inward to various contemplative sitting areas, that move higher and higher up the hillside, culminating in a rocky vantage point that looks over the harbour through a circle of Dawn Redwood trees.
Courante – A swirling path through a wildflower meadowOriginally an Italian and French dance form, the courante is an exuberant movement that is interpreted here as a huge, upward-spiralling swirl through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract birds and butterflies. At the top, a Maypole spins in the wind.
Sarabande – A conifer grove in the shape of an arcThis movement is based on an ancient Spanish dance form. Its contemplative quality is interpreted here as an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by tall needle-leaf evergreen trees. Envisioned as a poet's corner, the garden’s centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.
Minuets – A formal flower parterreThis French dance was contemporary to Bach’s time. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of this movement’s design. Hand-crafted with ornamental steel, a circular pavilion is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.
Gigue – Giant grass steps that dance you down to the outside worldThe gigue, or “jog,” is an English dance, whose jaunty, rollicking music is interpreted here as a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbour. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree; a place for informal performances. Shrubs and perennials act as large, enclosing arms, framing views out onto the harbour.
In AcknowledgementWe respectfully acknowledge the past and present traditional owners of this territory and their unique role in the life of the region. Harbourfront Centre is committed to honouring Indigenous peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land and waters, and their rich contribution to society. Toronto is on the traditional territory of the Anishinabeg, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We ask that you respect the land and traditions of those who walked upon it for millennia before us.
The annual Summer Music in the Garden concert series is presented by TD Bank Group – The Ready Commitment with the generous support of The Azrieli Foundation.
The series is produced by Harbourfront Centre in partnership with the City of Toronto. Special thanks to Chief Cheerleader Jim Fleck, 2020 series supporters Rita and Sam Bresler, our individual concert supporters, and our 2019 audience members.
The Gail Asper Family Foundation
Alice and Grant Burton
Robert and Ann Corcoran
Michael and Sonja Koerner
Sandra and Jim Pitblado
and the generosity of our 2019 Audience