The space is located across from 25 St. Mary St. where Faludy lived for much of his 22 years of self-imposed exile from Hungary. Faludy was planning to return to Toronto for the ceremony but died in Budapest on September 1, at age 95. "We celebrate Faludy as a great poet and a man of great courage in the face of terrible oppression," said Rita Davies, Executive Director of Toronto Culture. "Imagine having the mental toughness and agility to compose poems while being held in a political concentration camp and committing them to memory as Faludy did."
Faludy arrived in Toronto with an international reputation in 1967 and became a Canadian Citizen in 1976. Faludy often wrote on the virtues of Canada, remarking that Canada gave him liberty and freedom. He published several books of poetry in translation and influenced many writers during his stay in Canada. Faludy Place, designed by Scott Torrance, reflects in its classical proportions and choice of colors (red, white and green of the Hungarian flag) the dominant themes of Faludy's poetry: the arts of classical civilization and Hungary itself. A plinth in the centre of the parkette bears a bronze medallion of Faludy's profile created by Dora de Pedery-Hunt. Three other plaques in Faludy Place complement the plinth: a Heritage Toronto commemorative plaque, Faludy's poem Michelangelo's Last Prayer, and a Toronto Legacy plaque bearing the name George Faludy Place.
Faludy Place is one of a series of naming projects initiated by Toronto's first Poet Laureate, Dennis Lee. Under the auspices of Toronto Culture, the Legacy Project honors notable artists, scientists and thinkers who have enriched the life of Toronto by embedding their names in the fabric of the city. Dennis Lee states, "The Legacy Project provides a living heritage of those who came before us and achieved great things. It will enrich the city for generations to come." The University of Toronto has partnered with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Legacy Project in the creation of Faludy Place and will maintain the parkette on behalf of the City. The naming ceremony also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, that brought 37,000 Hungarians to Canada. (CNW)