City of Toronto public art opportunities and updates on commissions, installations and unveilings.
The City of Toronto invites professional Canadian artists (including artist teams) to submit their Expression of Interest to the first stage of a competition for an integrated public artwork as part of the Wabash Community Recreation Centre and surrounding park improvements.
The art component of this revitalized public space will be selected through an open two-stage competition, with a net budget of approximately $385,000 plus 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.
Deadline for submissions: January 15, 2024 at noon.
Ward: Parkdale-High Park
The City of Toronto is planning a new community recreation centre at the southeast corner of Sorauren Park, adaptively reusing the existing former Canadian Linseed Oil Mills Ltd. building (1910). Led by the City of Toronto and designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and PMA Landscape Architects, the project will include seating areas, a reading garden, community plaza, and sacred fire ceremonial space. The building is sustainable and has a low environmental impact; it has a green roof, solar panels, and employs mass timber. The four-story community recreation centre will include two pools, universal washrooms, multi-purpose rooms, event spaces, a double gymnasium, two terraces and a running track. Connecting the various spaces is a multi-level lobby and atrium.
Sorauren Park is a vital component to the densely populated neighbourhoods of Parkdale, Roncesvalles, Little Portugal and High Park-Swansea. The facilities, which includes two tennis courts, a soccer field, a baseball field, a walking trail, and a dogs off-leash area, serve as a place recreation and connection. As a central community hub and proximity to schools, the park tends to cater to young families and with numerous activities catering towards youth.
The local community is active, engaged and involved. Since the surrounding area (Parkdale – High Park) was identified in 1999 as one of five under-served areas, several improvements have been made to the Park through the efforts of the local community and Friends of Sorauren Park. These improvements include renovations to the Fieldhouse in 2008 and the construction of the Town Square in 2014, which serve as a point of connection for the community, housing numerous community events throughout the year, including the popular Sorauren Farmers’ Market.
A defining feature of the area are the tracks of the Canadian National Railway that cut along the eastern side of the park. With the selection of the “Angler” building design, the new community centre will be situated close to the West Toronto Railpath’s potential future expansion to Sorauren Park of a pedestrian bridge, which would allow for greater access for pedestrian access between the west and east side of the tracks as well as the multiuse path.
The surrounding area is a mix apartments buildings built before 1980 and pockets of residential homes built before 1960. The density of high-rise buildings creates a multicultural population with a sizable population of residents born outside of Canada who speak Polish, Spanish, Tibetan, Russian, Portuguese and Ukrainian.
In preparation for the next phase of the community recreation centre the architects are finalizing detailed designs and obtaining approvals. This phase is anticipated to be completed and tendered in 2024 with construction starting the same year. The building is anticipated to be completed in 2027 with updates to be provided throughout the process. Learn more about Wabash Community Recreation Centre.
The communities of the Williams Treaty First Nations, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Huron-Wendat, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation and the Métis Nation of Ontario all have connections to this territory.
The experience for users of this new community recreation centre will include a project by a professional artist or an artist-led team, selected through an open national competition with a budget of approximately $385,000 plus 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.
There is an opportunity to install a new public artwork in the four-story atrium of the entrance lobby. The piece will welcome visitors and staff to the community recreation centre and will serve as an intuitive wayfinding device. While no specific theme will be provided to the shortlisted artists, they will be encouraged to consider flow, continuity, and expand on the project’s vision of inclusion, community-building, environmental stewardship and historical consideration (both settler and Indigenous).
Due to the many safety and maintenance requirements of the building, 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 shortlisted artists.
The artworks must be unique. Editioned works or versions of existing works will not be considered. Architects and design studios are not being considered for this project.
As a requirement of the competition, shortlisted artists will need to submit a community engagement plan as part of their proposals.
While not mandatory, the selected artist(s) will be strongly encouraged to take on a public art mentee after the contract is awarded. Applicants do not need to propose a mentee at this stage.
This is a two-stage, open, national competition for professional artists born or living in Canada.
Per the Canada Council’s guidelines, a professional artist is defined as someone who:
The Public Art Strategy outlines the City’s commitment to public art created for, and with the input of, Toronto communities, and to create opportunities for artists of diverse backgrounds, experience and practice. We welcome submissions from Indigenous, Black, and racialized artists and artists with relevant experience who may not have previously worked in the public realm.
A specially convened Selection Panel composed of arts professionals and community members will be established for this competition. Their final decision will be informed by each submission’s ability to meet the evaluation criteria, community consultation results, and additional feedback from community members and advisors.
The Selection Panel will review all submissions and identify a shortlist of a maximum 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.
The shortlisted artists will be notified in early February and invited to submit a conceptual design proposal. A detailed Terms of Reference project document will be provided to help shortlisted artists prepare their proposals. Proposals are due on April 10, 2024 at noon. Shortlisted artists will be paid a fee of $1,500 plus HST for this stage.
The artwork proposals will go through feasibility reviews and community consultations. Shortlisted artists will attend an interview and present their proposals to the Selection Panel on June 7, 2024. The panel will receive evaluation criteria specifically tailored to this site. They 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.
November 1, 2023: EOI released to public
January 15, 2024 at noon: EOI deadline (open 10 weeks for artist applicants)
By February 9, 2024: Artist notifications
February 13, 2024: Terms of Reference released to shortlisted artists
April 10, 2024 at noon: Design proposals due (eight weeks for proposal development)
April 11 to June 5, 2024: Community consultations, feasibility reviews, jury reviews
June 7, 2024: Artist presentations
By June 28, 2024: Artist notifications
Professional Canadian artists are invited to respond to this EOI by submitting a single .pdf document and include:
Email submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions, please contact Katriina Campitelli, Public Art Officer, and Rachel Wine, Public Art Consultant at email@example.com.
In early 2021, artist Brandon Vickerd was awarded the contract for the DUKE Heights BIA Landmark Public Artwork. The winning artwork, entitled ‘The Heights’ was selected by a specially convened Selection Panel composed of arts professionals and community members.
Brandon Vickerd is a sculptor whose site-specific interventions, public performances and object-based sculptures act as a catalyst for critical thought and engagement with the physical world. Purposely diverse, his studio work straddles the line between high and low culture, acting as a catalyst for critical thought and addressing the failed promise of a modernist future predicated on boundless scientific advancement. Whether through craftsmanship, the creation of spectacle, or humor, the goal of his work is to provoke the viewer into questioning the dominate myth of progress ingrained in Western world views.
The Heights is a partial representation of the Elia Public School that once stood on the northeast corner of Keele St and Finch Ave W, rendered in Corten steel and cantilevered forty feet above the ground. With its innovative use of symbolic architecture, The Heights highlights the continuity between the past and the present. The sculpture evokes the history of the Keele and Finch area while celebrating the vibrant future of the community. This large-scale artwork incites a conversation around the evolution of the neighbourhood from its semi-rural history, to its life as an industrial centre, to the rapidly expanding urban centre that residents experience today. The Heights is specifically designed to enhance the experience of commuters along Keele St and Finch Ave W, whether they are viewing the artwork from a passing car, the sidewalk below or the bike lanes.
Situated at the northernmost part of the city of Toronto, DUKE Heights is one of the highest points of the city. Nestled between Downsview Park and York University, the area has great potential and is home to a wide variety of uses from residences through to an innovative mix of businesses. With the TTC, GO transit, the under-construction Finch West LRT and various highways surrounding the BIA, the community is better positioned than any other business area for strategic and planned growth.
DUKE Heights BIA began as the Dufferin Finch BIA in 2014. This newly created Business Improvement Area elected a group of business leaders who had a new vision for the area. A vision of change. Of opportunities and untapped potential. The DUKE Heights BIA is Ontario’s second largest BIA with over 2500 businesses employing over 32 000 people.
The DUKE Heights BIA’s primary objective is to promote the potential of the area, provide support to businesses in the area and inject new resources to tap into the potential of the community.
These goals will be expressed in physical form through a permanent work of art to be placed in the substantial median at one of the busiest and most important intersections in Toronto at Keele St and Finch Ave. The site has been identified and is governed by specific requirements for placement, loading and public safety.
The completed commission will be part of the daily experience for commuters and area residents and workers and will be experienced by a vast audience. It will symbolize the dynamism of the DUKE Heights BIA.
Above all, it is expected to: engage the community at large in the urban and employment neighborhood; serve as a memorable and welcoming landmark; serve as a source of pride for the community.
Katriina Campitelli (she/her)
Public Art Officer
This competition is now closed. A winner will be announced later in 2023.
The City of Toronto invited practicing Black artists and/or designers (including teams) that live or work in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) to the first stage of a public art competition.
The artist(s)/designer(s) will be selected through an open, two-stage competition. The finalist will be awarded a contract and paid a fee of $65,000 (+HST) for an individual artist or split between a design team, for design and consultation services (including contract administration, project management, travel and other incidental expenses). If a team applies, the majority of the team must be Black. Working closely with City staff, the project landscape architect, Indigenous design advisor, developer, and other community partners, the winning artist(s)/designer(s) will refine their concept proposal to the requirements of the site and other conditions for project realization.
The landscape architect has developed a preliminary park concept based on visioning feedback from the community. The selected Black artist(s)/designer(s) will be responsible for leading the integration of artwork into the park design. The landscape architect will be the overall project lead, and will collaborate with the Black artist(s)/designer(s) from project award to implementation. The preliminary concept will evolve and be influenced by the Black artist’s/designer’s input.
The artist was invited to design an intervention that celebrates/commemorates the history, presence, diversity, and future of the Black community in the Moss Park neighbourhood. The artist(s)/designer(s) are encouraged to take a comprehensive approach to integrate artwork into the park in different/multiple ways including, but not limited to, the central water feature, paving design, seating and/or other standalone elements. The proposals could include two- and three-dimensional components and a combination of materials.
During early engagement, a Black Communities Advisory Group (BCAG) was formed given the community’s higher than average Black population. The BCAG acts as an advisory body at key decision points during the park design process to ensure the perspective of Black community members is reflected in the design. Feedback from the BCAG noted that representation matters, and that the Black community should feel welcomed and reflected in the space.
The City of Toronto is pleased to announce that artist Roda Medhat has won the Overlea Boulevard public art competition. The commission will include sculptural and two-dimensional artworks integrated into the public realm along Overlea Boulevard between Thorncliffe Park Dr and Don Mills Rd. Roda is a Kurdish-Canadian artist who seeks to use sculpture to bridge cultural divides and promote a sense of shared human experience.
The eastern segment of Overlea Boulevard from Don Mills Road to Thorncliffe Park Drive is planned for upcoming road work. This includes the Charles H. Hiscott Bridge (“Overlea Bridge”), Don Mills Road/Gateway Boulevard intersection and Thorncliffe Park Drive East intersection. The bridge and sidewalks will be widened and redesigned to address concerns about personal safety.
The Overlea Bridge superstructure is planned for replacement in the next five years. This level of construction hasn’t happened since the 1960s when Don Mills Road was last reconstructed and the Overlea Bridge was first built. This part of Overlea Boulevard is a key link between Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park neighbourhoods.
Led by the City’s Transportation Services and Engineering & Construction Services Divisions, the Overlea Boulevard and Bridge Renewal is located across two of the City’s 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (identified in the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020), where the City works with residents, businesses and agencies to make the changes the neighbourhood needs so that it works well for all its residents. The area is densely populated and home to a high number of residents born outside of Canada who speak Farsi, Urdu, Mandarin, Arabic, and Slovak.
The Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe Park neighbourhoods, while characterized by clusters of high-density high-rise apartment buildings, are also rich in open urban and green spaces. The bridge is adjacent to the Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute and Valley Park Middle Schools, and therefore many students cross the bridge on foot at least twice per day. Over the past several years, professional public consultations, workshops and Pop-up Citizen Forums seeking input from the community for desired design interventions, resulted in building successful partnerships with residents. The Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park Neighbourhood Plan that emerged from this process contains a series of recommendations grounded in the ideas of community members, with strategies to work towards implementation. Residents support several enhancements to make the infrastructure safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and promote a sense of neighbourhood identity. This would include interventions at Overlea and Thorncliffe Park Drive West to widen sidewalks, protect vulnerable road users, add vegetation, and incorporate beauty and identity through public art and streetscape design.
The bridge design is currently underway, led by the City’s Engineering and Construction Services Division. It is anticipated to be completed by Q2 2024 and tendered in Q3 2024. The roadworks design competition is currently ongoing. Construction under one contract (both road and bridge) is planned for 2024-2026. Public art funding is provided by the City of Toronto’s City Planning-Urban Design and Transportation Services divisions.
The communities of the Williams Treaty First Nations, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Huron-Wendat, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation, and the Metis Nation of Ontario all have connections to this territory.
Additional information on Renewing Overlea Boulevard.
In fall 2022, a specially convened selection panel composed of arts professionals and community members met to evaluate the applications. Of the submissions, the panel determined a shortlist of six artists to proceed to the second stage of the competition. The selected artists will have their proposals evaluated in winter/spring 2023.
The shortlisted artists are:
The Etobicoke Civic Centre (ECC) is a new civic centre in the former suburb of Etobicoke located on a 13.8 acre property bounded by Kipling Avenue to the west, Bloor and Dundas Streets to the north and the TTC/CPR rail corridor to the southeast. The ECC is situated on the Ancestral territory and gathering place of the Anishnaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Tionontati (Petun), the Wendat, and the treaty territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit.
Locally known as the Westwood Theatre Lands and “spaghetti junction,” the notoriously complicated “Six Point Interchange” where Kipling Avenue, Bloor Street and Dundas Street intersect is currently undergoing a major reconfiguration. Situated at the heart of the new community being built, the ECC will replace the existing municipal buildings at 399 The West Mall and incorporate a new civic hub and a civic square.
Following an international competition, design of the Civic Centre was awarded to internationally acclaimed architect, Henning Larsen and Adamson and Associate Architects and PMA Landscape Architects (the “Design Team”). Completion is expected for the winter of 2027/2028.
Four public art commissions are in design development having been awarded to Indigenous artists.
Conceived as an “integrated civic hub” this mixed-use development will feature municipal offices, a Council Chamber, civic offices and a citizen services centre, multi-purpose meeting rooms, a daycare centre, a community recreation centre with a pool and running track, a Toronto Public Library District Branch, an art gallery, and a large outdoor civic square surrounded by ample new sustainable landscaping. CreateTO, in collaboration with the City of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture division and the Indigenous Affairs Office initiated the Public Art Program as an integral component in the design and development of the new ECC. The project is now being implemented by Corporate Real Estate Management of the City of Toronto, with the assistance of advisors Karen Mills and Rebecca Baird.
Ward 3: Etobicoke-Lakeshore
In fall 2022, artist Karen Roberts was awarded the contract for the 610 Bay Street public art. The winning artwork, entitled ‘The Road Travelled’ was selected by a specially convened selection panel composed of arts professionals and community members.
Karen Roberts is a Toronto-based, multidisciplinary artist working in acrylic, latex and aerosol paints; digital photography, digital design, animation, augmented reality and upcycled materials. She often exhibits her work in the public realm as painted murals on walls, roads, utility boxes, sheds, pillars, and windows, as well as digital illustrations or photographs applied to a variety of surfaces. She often finds inspiration in ecology, the environment, and site-specific surroundings.
“The Road Travelled” features a roadway into a distant sunrise, referencing the former use of 610 Bay St. as Toronto’s main bus depot. The designs show roadways to various parts of the country, the Rocky Mountains, the Prairies, the far North to see the Aurora Borealis, and the lakes of Ontario. The designs have an Art Deco feel to them, to blend with the architecture and style popular when the building was built.
The City of Toronto invites professional artists to submit proposals for a public artwork as part of the renovation of 610 Bay Street. The heritage building and former bus terminal will be repurposed as an interim Toronto Paramedic Services station.
The building renovation scope includes: conversion of the existing bus bays garage into ambulance bays garage; renovation of the two-storey Dispatch building at Edward Street and Elizabeth Street into staff areas; and renovation of select interior areas within the historic bus terminal building into staff areas. Heritage details of the existing building, including the facades, pillars and canopies, will be kept intact.
The existing open bus bays facing Edward Street to the north and Elizabeth Street to the west will be infilled with new metal wall panels in order to create a secure and enclosed garage environment for paramedic vehicular parking.
As an upcoming development will likely change the function of the site, the artwork will be installed for a temporary period of approximately five to 10 years, though the piece may have the potential to be adapted to future locations.
This project is a collaboration between the City’s Economic Development & Culture Division, Toronto Paramedic Services, uoai architects, and a general contractor with the aim of completion by December 2022.
Ward 11 – University-Rosedale
Please direct questions to Katriina Campitelli (she/her), Public Art Officer at Katriina.Campitelli@toronto.ca.
The City of Toronto is pleased to announce that artist Kellen Hatanaka has been selected for the Davisville Community & Aquatic Centre public art competition. Kellen is an artist, designer and illustrator based out of Stratford, Ontario. The forthcoming Davisville CAC will include indoor swimming pools and multi-purpose rooms to serve various community needs, particularly supporting students from nearby schools. The commission will include a new public artwork in the two-story atrium and custom mosaics throughout the building’s stairwells.
The Davisville CAC is a capital project of the City’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division (PFR), in partnership with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). The new City facility is located on the Davisville Junior P.S. site and will share space with the new school. The school will have access to the City swimming pools and the City will have access to the school’s gymnasium and underground parking garage.
The new City aquatic centre will be located in the Davisville Village neighbourhood, near the intersection of Yonge Street and Davisville Avenue. Designed by CS&P Architects, the centre will provide residents with a three-storey recreational aquatic facility, including a 6-lane, 25-metre lane pool, a leisure/tot pool with gender neutral washrooms and change rooms, multi-purpose spaces, and an active roof.
It will be a valued community space, inclusive and accessible to multi-generational residents that encourages health and well-being through its sports and recreational programming, informed by community consultation to date.
The City of Toronto intends to design and construct a Net Zero Energy Building to attain Net Zero Energy operations through incorporating strategies to deliver Energy, Water and Waste reduction.
Public Art Officer
In fall 2022, a specially convened selection panel composed of arts professionals and community members met to evaluate the shortlisted applications. Three artists/artist teams have been selected for this project and will be announced shortly.
The WNYCC is a project by the City’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division and Children’s Services, and is being designed by the collaborative team of Maclennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA) as the prime consultant and landscape designer, and architectural sub-consultant Bortolotto, responsible for the Child Care Centre. The new WNYCC will provide residents with a state-of-the-art community and recreation facility, a licensed daycare and a new park. It will include an aquatic centre, a gymnasium with a walking track, a fitness centre with dance and aerobic studios and flexible multi-purpose rooms. It will be a place for the community to gather and socialize ; a place that cultivates creativity, health and well-being, inclusivity and accessibility for all ages.
The City of Toronto intends to design and construct a Net Zero Energy Building to attain Net Zero Energy operations through incorporating strategies to deliver energy, water and waste reduction.
The site is in close proximity to the Humber River and the project aims to make connections with the surrounding neighbourhoods and parks, including the Humber River Trail.
Ward 7 – Humber River-Black Creek
In spring 2022, a specially convened selection panel composed of arts professionals and community members met to evaluate the shortlisted applications. Five artists have been selected for this project and will be announced shortly.
The George Street Revitalization Project (GSRP) combines community, social and health supports and housing services in one connected city block. The proposed facility will replace the Seaton House emergency shelter and renew some vacant heritage residential sites such as the historically-significant Fegan House, with a new facility that will contain a City-operated long-term care home, transitional housing with supports, a transitional shelter for women and men, an emergency shelter for men, and a community hub for residents and neighbours. Construction is anticipated to start in summer 2022 and end in 2026.
Ward 13: Toronto Centre
The City of Toronto’s Public Art Collection is pleased to announce ‘Campfire,’ a forthcoming permanent public artwork by Michael Belmore and Herman Mejia. The artwork will be installed near the new plaza along the Humber Bay recreational trail. An Indigenous-led project, the finished public artwork will be a waterfront landmark and gathering place.
The competition for a public artwork or artworks along the newly redesigned Humber Bay Shores Trail is currently underway. The trail runs from the Humber River to the east, through Humber Bay Shores park and the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, and connects to the Humber Bay East and West parks to the west.
Public Art Officer