Tucked off Marina Quay West on Lake Ontario, bursting with blossoms, quiet except during concerts, the Toronto Music Garden is a place to walk the dog, play hide-and-seek with a child, cuddle with a lover, or take a few moments alone. The garden is a marvelous meld of music and landscape architecture.
In the 1990s, acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and other musicians made a six-part film inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello. For the first part of the film, Ma and landscape architect Julie Moir Messervy together interpreted the music of Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 to design a physical garden.
When Boston turned down the physical embodiment of the project, Toronto jumped in. In collaboration with Toronto’s Parks Department and funded through a private/public partnership spearheaded by local philanthropist Jim Fleck, Ma and Messervy created the garden and chose the plants to represent each of the Bach suite’s six dance movements: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett, and Gigue. The final dance area, also written as Jig, contains an amphitheater built into a grassy knoll where musicians perform free concerts during the summer.