Claude Cormier, a celebrated Canadian landscape architect who helped design some of Montreal and Toronto’s best-known public spaces, has died at age 63.
His firm, Claude Cormier + Associés, said Cormier died today in Montreal after complications from Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a rare genetic condition that predisposes its carriers to multiple cancers.
His firm describes Cormier as the creative force behind some of Canada’s most joyful and critically acclaimed public spaces, including the dog fountain in Toronto’s Berczy Park, and the canopy of pink (later multicolored) plastic balls that They hung for years over Montreal’s Village district.
His work ranged from busy squares like Montreal’s Place d’Youville and Dorchester Square, to the brightly colored umbrellas of the city’s Clock Tower Beach.
Claude Cormier won awards for his design of Sugar Beach in Toronto, with its pink umbrellas and giant rocks that look like striped candy.
He also designed Leslie Lookout Park, which is under completion in Toronto’s Port Lands district.
In Ottawa, Cormier built the National Holocaust Memorial, a multi-level gathering space for commemorations, with a design rooted in the symbol of a rising star.
His last major projects were a 30-meter suspended steel hoop in downtown Montreal titled The anneau (The Ring) and Toronto’s heart-shaped Love Park, both described as love letters to Cormier’s favorite 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 an “immense loss.”
La nouvelle du décès de Claude Cormier es un choc et une perte immense. Claude was a visionary, a drummer and a great Montrealer.
They are influenced by the icons and the public places of the city, which are included in the dizaines: l’Anneau, the village boules, the square… pic.twitter.com/UBmtJKPip5
Plante told CBC that Cormier has helped Montreal attract global attention for its design.
“It made us shine and continues to make us shine internationally,” he said.
According to Dinu Bumbaru, policy director at Heritage Montreal, the poetic quality of Cormier’s work has helped rekindle appreciation for landscape architecture.
“It reminds us that a city’s heritage is not just about what was created in the past but also about the heritage we create in our own generations,” Bumbaru said.