Public Art Competitions
The City of Toronto operates competitions as its primary artist selection process. The form of competition to be used for a particular project is determined by City staff and the art consultant, should there be one contracted for the project.
The role of the selection panel is to measure the artist’s present proposal and past work against the general goals of the City’s Public Art Policy and the specific objectives of the commission at hand. Qualified selection panels, comprising a majority of recognized visual arts professionals as well as representatives of the community with interests in the site, are used to select artists for public art projects for properties under the City of Toronto’s jurisdiction.
Arts & Culture Services’ Public Art Office coordinates the competition for artist submissions and community consultation, assembles and manages the jury or selection panel, and oversees all aspects of the commissioning process through to the completion of the public art work. The artist’s brief, call for submissions, and jury composition are devised in consultation with City staff from relevant departments. Alternatively, an external public art consultant may be contracted, in which case municipal staff devises the request for proposals from art consultants.
Glen Road Pedestrian Bridge, Expression of Interest (EOI)
Call to Artists: Public Artwork for Glen Road Pedestrian Bridge and Tunnel, Ward 11 and Ward 13
Value of the Awarded Commission: Approximately $285,000 (+HST) CAD
Deadline for Submissions: Monday, April 1, 2019, 4 p.m.
The City of Toronto invites professional artists (including artist teams) to submit their Expression of Interest to the first stage of a competition for integrated public artwork(s) as part of the redesign and replacement of the Glen Road pedestrian bridge and tunnel.
The art component of this revitalised public space will be selected through an open two-stage competition, with a net budget of approximately $285,000.00 (+HST). The project budget includes all costs directly associated with the artwork: all fees for design, fabrication, installation, engineering and professional services, insurance, travel and other incidental expenses.
The Glen Road Pedestrian Bridge, built in 1972, is a steel and timber bridge that extends from Bloor Street East in the south to Glen Road in the north, passing over the Rosedale Valley. At the south end of the bridge, under Bloor Street East, is a pedestrian tunnel which provides a connection to Glen Road in the south and the TTC’s Sherbourne Station.
In 2003, the bridge was designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act within the South Rosedale Heritage Conservation District and added to the City’s heritage register. As a result, the new structure is expected to retain the design attributes of the existing bridge, and maintain the views to and from Rosedale Valley.
The pedestrian bridge and tunnel will be widened and redesigned to address concerns about personal safety and to increase natural surveillance on the bridge and in the tunnel area.
The design is currently underway, led by the City’s consultant, Morrison Hershfield, and anticipated to be completed by late summer 2019 and tendered by the end of the year. Construction is planned for 2020-21. Public art funding is provided by the City’s City Planning-Urban Design and Transportation Services divisions.
Public Art Opportunity
The experience for users of this renewed public space will include a project by a professional visual artist or an artist-led team, selected through an open competition, with a net budget of approximately $285,000.00 (+HST). The project budget includes all costs directly associated with the artwork: all fees for design, fabrication, mechanical, electrical, structural and engineering drawings, and installation, as well as contract administration, travel and other incidental expenses.
Thematically, artists are asked to broadly consider the history and ecology of the area, some of which is detailed in the EA. The Rosedale Valley ravine is the site of a buried stream where Rosedale Valley Road now runs, and is part of the Don River Watershed. It is an Environmentally Significant Area (a space within Toronto’s natural heritage system that requires special protection to preserve its environmentally significant qualities), and is covered by the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection By-law.
The tunnel and retaining walls to the north and south are the primary sites, although artists are asked to consider the site as a whole, including the bridge landings to the north and south, and the small plaza on the south side of the tunnel at Glen Road. The overall vision should create a connection between the Rosedale Valley, the south plaza and the subway entrance and the two local communities on either side of the ravine. The bridge and tunnel are in use at all hours, and proposals should take into account day and night use and visibility.
It is anticipated that proposals could include both two- and three-dimensional components, and a combination of materials, such as paint, tile, concrete formwork (especially in the underpass), lighting elements, and small sculptural objects.
Due to the many safety and maintenance requirements of bridges, underpasses and right-of-way sites, artists must be prepared to meet and work collaboratively with City staff and contractors to develop and refine proposals according to these parameters, which will be further specified in the Terms of Reference for short-listed artists.
This is a two-stage, open, international competition for professional artists.
Per the Canada Council’s guidelines, a professional artist is defined as someone who:
- has specialized artistic training (not necessarily in academic institutions)
- is recognized as a professional by their peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition)
- has a history of public exhibitions
- has produced an independent body of work
A specially convened Selection Panel, composed of practicing arts professionals and community members, will be established for this two-stage competition.
Stage 1: Request for Expression of Interest: February 8 – April 1, 2019
The Selection Panel will review all submissions and identify a short-list of five (5) artists, based on artistic excellence and demonstrated or perceived ability to create and execute an innovative, engaging public artwork that is complimentary to the overall design scheme and context.
Stage 2: Request for Concepts: mid-April – June 28, 2019
The short-listed artists will be notified in mid-April and invited to submit a conceptual design proposal. A detailed proposal is not required, but artists should show visual concepts and thematic ideas. A detailed Terms of Reference project document will be provided to help short-listed artists prepare their proposals. Short-listed artists will be paid a fee of $2,000.00 (+HST) for this stage.
Short-listed artists will attend an interview and present their proposals to the Selection Panel the third week of June. The panel will choose a finalist whose vision for the site best suits the overall scope of this project, and has the ability or perceived ability to conceive and realize a public artwork on this site.
The selected artist will be notified in late June, 2019 and all final design drawings required for the construction tender must be submitted by early October, 2019.
By Feb. 8: EOI issued
April 1: EOI submissions due
Week of April 8/15: Selection panel meeting
April 19: Short-listed artists notified (latest)
June 3: Proposal deadline
Week of June 10/17: Technical Review
Week of June 24: Artist interviews and selection
Late June – early October: Design development of selected project, submission of final drawings to construction tender (as required).
Professional artists are invited to respond to this EOI by submitting a single .pdf document:
This document must be labeled with the name of the artist and project (Last Name First Name_ Glen Road) and include:
- CV (one for each team member, if applicable)
- Brief artist statement outlining interest in project, showing relevant experience, ability, and general artistic approach. Do not include proposals at this stage.
- Maximum ten (10) images of work, with caption including title, materials, dimensions, location, and commissioning body (if applicable). Audio / Video files may be provided via URL.
- Names and contact information for two references (preferably from recent projects).
Submissions must be received by 4 p.m., Monday, April 1, 2019.
Email submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please use subject line: [last name], [first name]_Glen Road
- Submissions must not exceed 20 MB total size
We thank all respondents for their submissions but only applicants advancing to the second stage of the selection process will be contacted.
Public Art Officer
Don Mills Trail Revitalization, Expression of Interest (EOI)
Call to Artists: Public Artwork for Don Mills Trail Revitalization
Commission Value: $200,000.00 (+ HST)
Deadline for Submissions: Thursday, March 7, 2019, 4:00 p.m.
The City of Toronto invites professional artists (including artist teams) to submit their Expression of Interest to the first stage of a national, open, two-stage public art competition for a permanent public artwork for the Don Mills Trail Revitalization Project with a net budget of $200,000.00 (+ HST). The project budget includes all costs directly associated with the artwork: artist design fees, fabrication, engineering and any other professional services, installation, insurance, travel and other incidental expenses.
It is envisioned that an engaging public artwork might be one element or consist of a series of decentralized elements along this meandering nature trail, perhaps signaling ideas of marking and way-finding within the context of its surrounding natural elements of the overall Don Valley Ravine system yet also reflective of the neighbourhoods that surround it.
Project Profile and Location
The 300-metre long paved 4-metre wide multi-use Don Mills Trail connection, which also includes surrounding enhanced public realm landscaping, is on the east side of Don Mills Road stretching south from the driveway of 701 Don Mills Road to the Lower Don Trail. It will provide links to new cycling infrastructure and the City’s natural heritage trail system. Construction with new and remedial plantings will begin in Spring 2019 with the artwork installed before March 2020.
Located near the neighbourhoods of Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park in the City of Toronto’s Ward 16 – Don Valley East, the area is rich in green spaces but the current lack of infrastructure does not connect or encourage its use. It also contains clusters of high-density high-rise apartment buildings, which are home to many newcomer populations from a wide range of countries. Of these seventy-seven percent self describe as a visible minority. Besides English other languages spoken are Arabic, Farsi, Gujarati, Mandarin, Slovak, Urdu and others.
The Don Mills Trail Revitalization Project is grounded on several years of community member consultations, workshops and citizen forums, which highlighted the importance to improve access to the nearby green spaces. The Don Valley Trail is part of the Don River Valley, one of Toronto’s most distinctive geographical features, which has sustained human populations for over 12,000 years. This project seeks to knit the community’s connection to the nature trail system and identify it as an important recreational destination, for its surrounding neighbourhoods and for all outdoors enthusiasts.
This is a national two-stage competition for professional artists. As per the Canada Council’s guidelines, a professional artist is defined as someone who has specialized artistic training (not necessarily in academic institutions); is recognized as a professional by their peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition); has a history of public exhibitions; and has produced an independent body of work. A specially convened independent Selection Panel, composed of visual arts professionals and community representatives has been established for this competition.
Stage 1: Request for Expression of Interest
Artists are invited to submit their Expression of Interest (EOI), which will be reviewed by the independent Selection Panel. The panel will recommend a short-list of five (5) artists, based on artistic excellence and perceived ability to create and execute an innovative public artwork for this context.
Stage 2: Request for Concept Proposals
The short-listed artists will be notified in March 2019 and invited to submit a detailed concept design. Short-listed artists will be paid a fee for this stage. For background and preparation a specific Terms of Reference document will be provided in advance that identifies technical considerations including safety and maintenance guidelines. Submission proposals will then undergo a technical review by City staff in order to identify any technical issues and an Open House will be held in the neighbourhood for public comment. The Selection Panel will also take these into consideration. Short-listed artists will present their proposals to the Selection Panel in May 2019. The panel will then select a finalist whose vision for the site best suits the overall scope of this project, and who has the ability or perceived ability to conceive and realize a public artwork on this site.
The City of Toronto invites professional artists to respond to this EOI by submitting a single document in PDF form: This document must be labeled with the name of the artist and project: [surname], [first name] Don Mills Trail, and include:
- CV (artist teams, one for each team member)
- Brief artist statement (maximum 1 page) outlining interest in this project, showing relevant experience, ability and general artistic approach. Do not include proposals at this stage.
- Maximum ten (10) images of past work, captioned with title, materials, dimensions, location, and commissioning body (if applicable).
Deadline for submissions: Thursday, March 7, 2019 by 4:00 p.m.
Email submissions to: email@example.com
- Please use subject line: [surname], [first name] Don Mills Trail
- Submissions must not exceed 20 MB total size
Incomplete or late submissions, or those not in a single PDF format will not be accepted.
We thank all respondents for their submissions but only applicants advancing to Stage 2 of the selection process will be contacted.
Public Art Officer
Toronto Sculpture Garden, Call for Proposals
Call for Proposals: Toronto Sculpture Garden
In Partnership with the Toronto Biennial of Art
Deadline for proposals: April 15, 2019
Exhibition Dates: September 2019 – April 2020
From its opening in 1981, the Toronto Sculpture Garden (TSG) commissioned temporary artworks by over 80 artists, in a small City of Toronto park opposite St. James Cathedral on King Street east. Until 2014, it was operated as a partnership between the City of Toronto and the Louis L. Odette family, whose non-profit L.L.O. Sculpture Garden Foundation funded and administered the exhibitions. Under the direction of Rina Greer, the TSG provided artists with the opportunity to work experimentally in public space, explore issues of scale and materials, and engage with the local community as well as visitors to the neighbourhood. For some, the expansion of their practice beyond the studio led to major public artworks elsewhere.
Now managed by the City of Toronto’s Economic Development & Culture Division, the TSG hosts two projects per year.
The Fall 2019 Sculpture Garden project will be presented in partnership with the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art, which will take place along the waterfront and in other parts of the city from September 21 to December 1, 2019. The work for the Sculpture Garden will be connected thematically and practically with other artworks in the Biennial exhibitions.
The Biennial will feature works by Canadian and international artists in public spaces and unexpected locations. Many projects will be presented in collaboration with not-for-profit galleries, museums, community organizations, and educational institutions across the city.
For more information, please visit torontobiennial.org
The curators for the 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art ask artists to consider “how can we be in relation?” This question is intended to decenter the individual in place of a multiplicity. What is our role when we imagine our position amidst an infinite constellation of beings, human and non-human, animate and inanimate? And might this be a future? The future’s future? By focusing on relations, kinships, and interdependencies, we open ourselves up to ancient ideas, alternative histories, sacred belief systems, and ways of knowing. We also look further back, towards a deeper, geological sense of time. Measured in eons, not centuries. And by recalibrating the compass by which we view the past, we also direct our gaze to a multiplicity of futures: Indigenous futurisms, Black futurisms, migrant futurisms, animal futurisms.
The Biennial will take place primarily within an area framed by the original boundaries of the so-called Toronto Purchase (1805), which ran from Ashbridges Bay to Etobicoke Creek. For the First Peoples, who have maintained a presence here for over 15,000 years, this is a site of spiritual healing, trade, treaty, and gathering. In the current era, it has been deeply inscribed by much newer settler, slave and immigrant narratives, just as it has also been physically transformed by industrial, military and civilian use. In years to come, this line will be redrawn again by radical development and re-naturalization. Existing on the edge of Lake Ontario, part of the largest freshwater system on Earth, we view it in relation. And at each new magnification we get a different view of our role in a multitude of ecosystems: collaborative and destructive, ecological and capitalistic, civic and colonial.
The successful proposal will be selected by the TSG Selection Panel, which will include a member of the Biennial curatorial team. Preference will be given to new work that responds to the site and the curatorial direction; only in exceptional cases will existing work be considered.
Budget: $30,000.00 CAD (+HST), which includes all artists’ fees, materials, installation and removal, transportation, insurance, and permits.
February 15, 2019: Call to artists for Expression of Interest
April 15, 2019: Deadline for submissions
Week of April 22, 2019: Selection panel meeting
September 11 – 18, 2019: Installation
September 19 – 21, 2019: Opening events
April 2020: De-Installation
General Proposal Requirements
- Project description
- Drawing(s) showing dimensions and materials
- Plan showing the location of the work on the site
- Budget outline showing critical costs.
- Annotated images of the proposal and any relevant previous work.
- CV / Biography
Catherine Dean, Public Art Officer
Economic Development & Culture | City of Toronto
City Hall, 9th Floor, East Tower
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON, M5H 2N2