Willow Square was created by a group of Islanders to celebrate the Island’s story: its history, people and the natural world that has shaped it. A community-based initiative, it was sponsored by the Ward’s Island Recreation Association in partnership with City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.
The mosaics were inspired by the work of Maggy Howarth, a renowned pebble mosaic artist working in England and Europe. In the winter of 2010-11 over 50 Islanders and friends attended workshops at Artscape Gibraltar Point to learn Maggy’s mosaic techniques. The mosaics from these workshops form the wave-pattern border squares on the east area of the square.
The 12-foot diameter mosaic on the west side of Willow Square was created in 27 pieces by some of these participants and assembled on site in the fall of 2011. The image represents an island with a central willow tree whose intertwined trunk symbolizes the two communities of Ward’s and Algonquin. The roots of the tree reach into the surrounding water. The mosaic focuses on the natural world, with a small band of ceramic houses, bicycles and carts bringing Island community life into the image.
The meticulously restored Victorian-style landing stage, originally built in 1911, was installed in 2014 at the east end of the Square.
Over 100 people helped create Willow Square and its gardens from conception to completion, contributing time and funds to support the project – an astounding effort by the community to create a legacy for the future.
Willow Square is the heart of the Island’s summer community – the place where parades start, birdwatchers meet, performances and music happen.
The Pebble Mosaic / Willow Square Project was made possible through the countless volunteer hours of Islanders and friends, as well as through their monetary donations.
We would also like to thank the following organizations:
And thanks also for the in-kind donations and discounts from: