This Mississauga park has an otherworldly forest of glowing metal pine trees
Every great public space has a place-making draw. Nathan Phillips Square has the popular Toronto sign, Chicago's Millennium Park has the chromed-out, bean-shaped Cloud Gate sculpture, and even smaller sites like Canoe Landing have defining art pieces that beckon passersby to explore further in.
Out in Mississauga, The Riverwood Conservancy is one of several large parks lining the banks of the Credit River. It's home to forested trails, marshland, and even a house and barn dating from the 1860s.
Its natural beauty and historic charm are hidden away off of Burnhamthorpe Road within easy walking distance of the Erindale GO Station.
But a unique placemaker has signalled the park's entrance for a few years now, the surreal alien-looking landmark drawing traffic to the preserved slice of nature in the midst of a growing region.
Commissioned by the City of Mississauga's Public Art Collection, the sculpture known as Pine Sanctuary was created by New York-based art and architecture firm Marc Fornes/ TheVeryMany, and completed in 2017.
The striking installation is described on the artist's website as a trunkless system of branches rotating around a central point to form a labyrinth-like grove, "like a redwood hollowed out."
It is coloured in a palette of "a stepped gradient of aqua, chartreuse and cyan among other greens and blues."
Built out of linear stripes of laser-cut thin-gauge aluminum sheets, the sculpture's organic, otherworldly shape takes on a completely different form when viewed from up close and below.
This mind-melting non-Euclidean geometric pattern shifts and warps from different perspectives.
An array of spotlights at the base of the sculpture plays with the form and perforations to give the installation a very different feel in the evening and overnight hours.
Light punches through the lattice-like structure for a sharp contrast against the night sky.
Pine Sanctuary can be found in the Riverwood Conservancy at 4300 Riverwood Park Lane in Mississauga.
It has free parking until park closing at 11 p.m., but you can always spot the sculpture after hours from the edge of the park along Burnhamthorpe Road.
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