City of Toronto public art opportunities and updates on commissions, installations and unveilings.

Opportunity

A mirrored, colourful globe on a pedestal with some mirrored sections missing
Ryan Van Der Hout’s ‘To Reflect Everything’, 2023-2024, in the Toronto Sculpture Garden

The City of Toronto is offering a new opportunity for three Toronto-based emerging public space artists.

Artists need training and experience to transition from studio practice to public art, often struggling to secure public art commissions without adequate and timely experience. Through the Public Art Summer Mentorship program, each of the three selected emerging artists will receive:

  • a six-month solo-exhibition at the Toronto Sculpture Garden and practical public space experience
  • mentorship and guidance from established arts professionals
  • $37,500 in project funding (inclusive of artist fees and production costs, not inclusive of HST)
  • field trips, workshops and artist studio visits
  • regular check-ins with City staff
  • and exhibition promotion and exposure.

The Toronto Sculpture Garden is a public park and exhibition space at 115 King Street East that acts as a stepping-stone between studio work and public art, providing artists with the opportunity to work experimentally in public space.

The City of Toronto’s Public Art Strategy and the Public Art Strategy Implementation Plan (Phase 1) outline the City’s commitment to enhance existing and develop new career-building resources and mentorship programs for emerging public artists.

Meet the Mentors

  • Jyhling Lee is a professional artist, educator, and mother. Her practice, Figureground Studio, creates contemporary site-specific and socially engaging public artworks for our shared spaces. Since 2006, she has completed a wide range of prominent commissions including Huron Street Square and Model Home in Toronto.
  • Shuraine Otto-Olak is a public art administrator and environmental designer with a passion for placemaking initiatives and thought-provoking design. Through her work with public and non-profit organizations, she champions design excellence and oversees the selection, development, installation and documentation of public artwork along Toronto’s waterfront.
  • Emily Ricketts has worked in the conservation field for nearly a decade. She now manages the preservation needs of the City of Toronto’s Public Art & Monuments Collection (270 pieces and growing) to ensure the protection of its cultural value and to maintain its quality and accessibility for the public.
  • Jon Sasaki is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited widely across Canada and is represented in numerous private and public collections. He has completed public art commissions for the City of Mississauga, Sheridan College, the Toronto Transit Commission, the City of Barrie and most recently the Terry Fox installation on Toronto’s Waterfront.
  • Melanie Trojkovic is a curator with over fifteen years of contemporary art experience, including positions held at the Manifesta Biennial in Amsterdam and Substation Gallery in Melbourne. She is the Gallery Director at United Contemporary, where she champions the practices of emerging and established artists, and creates a platform that supports diverse voices.
  • Katriina Campitelli, Public Art Officer, will lead the Public Art Summer Mentorship program including facilitating studio visits, workshops, and regular check-ins.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants:

  • must be based in the City of Toronto
  • should have a studio practice but no permanent public artworks
  • must not have ongoing contracts with the City of Toronto’s Public Art Office

Please note that this opportunity is specific to sculpture and cannot support mural artists. If you are an emerging mural artist, please see StreetARToronto’s mural programs and workshops.

Information Session

A virtual information session for interested applicants will be held on Wednesday, March 13 at 6 p.m. Participants will learn about the program, curriculum and application process, questions are encouraged. To register for the session, please email PublicArtCompetitions@toronto.ca.

Program Timeline

Phase 1 – Artist Selection

  • Call to Artists released: February 21, 2024
  • Virtual Information Session: March 13 at 6 p.m.
  • Deadline for submissions: April 3, 2024
  • Artist notifications: No later than May 1, 2024

Phase 2 – Mentorship

Selected artists will:

  • meet with City staff to review the Terms of Reference for the Toronto Sculpture Garden during the week of May 27 to 31, 2024 (date TBD)
  • have regular check-ins with City staff every four to six weeks between June and October 2024
  • attend five one-on-one sessions with each of the mentors. These meetings will be arranged independently with the mentors and can take place virtually or in person between June 1 and August 31, 2024
  • attend field trips and studio visits between June 1 and August 31, 2024
  • present their final Toronto Sculpture Garden public art proposals in November 2024 (date TBD).

Phase 3 – Artist Exhibitions

The three exhibitions will be held at the Toronto Sculpture Garden from April to October 2025, October 2025 to April 2026, and April to October 2026.

Evaluation

Submissions will be reviewed by a jury and evaluated on the applicants:

  • ability to articulate their practice, goals and ideas
  • quality of recent art projects and demonstrated skill
  • perceived willingness to learn, grow and collaborate
  • the jury’s interpretation of how their work could dynamically and meaningfully expand into public space.

How To Apply

Please compile the following in one PDF document:

  • Title page including name and contact information (email, phone, address, postal code)
  • Letter of interest (maximum one page) that includes the following:
    • Tell us about yourself. Who are you? Who do you want to be?
    • Tell us about your art practice to date. What themes do you notice? What materials do you use?
    • Tell us why you are interested in the Public Art Summer Mentorship program or pursuing public art generally.
  • Images from a maximum of five recent art projects. Please include descriptions for each: title, year, medium/materials.
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Please do not include a public art proposal for the Toronto Sculpture Garden at this stage

Save your pdf document as [last name], [first name]_PASM.

Ensure your pdf document is not larger than 20 MB.

Email your submission to PublicArtCompetitions@toronto.ca by noon on April 3, 2024.

Wabash Community Recreation Centre lobby
Lobby of the proposed Wabash Community Recreation Centre

Project Update

This competition is now closed. The names of five shortlisted artists will be shared in spring 2024.

Ward: Parkdale-High Park

Project Background

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. Learn more about Wabash Community Recreation Centre.

Public Art Opportunity

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).

For questions, please contact Katriina Campitelli, Public Art Officer, and Rachel Wine, Public Art Consultant at publicartcompetitions@toronto.ca.

Project Update

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.

Rendering of The Heights, public artwork
Rendering of The Heights, courtesy of Brandon Vickerd

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.

Project Overview

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.

Contact

Katriina Campitelli (she/her)
Public Art Officer
647-458-5657
Katriina.Campitelli@toronto.ca

Project Update

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.

Artist rendering of new park at 254 King St. E.
Preliminary Park concept created by Janet Rosenberg & Studio (JRS) for the City of Toronto.

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.

Project Background

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.

Project Update

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.

Project Background

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.

Project Update

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:

  • Jyhling Lee (Toronto)
  • Vanessa Maltese (Toronto)
  • John Notten (Toronto)
  • Curtis Santiago (Toronto – Lisbon)
  • Jordan Sook (Toronto)
  • Douglas Coupland (West Vancouver)

Project Overview

The Etobicoke Civic Centre (ECC)
Etobicoke Civic Centre, rendering courtesy Henning Larsen / Adamson & Associate Architects

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

 

Project Update

Exterior southwest view of the proposed of building for the Davisville Community & Aquatic Centre
Rendering of the Davisville Community & Aquatic Centre. Courtesy of CS&P Architects.

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.

Contact

Katriina Campitelli
Public Art Officer
647-458-5657
Katriina.Campitelli@toronto.ca

Project Update

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.

Project Overview

Exterior view of the proposed building for Western North York Community Centre and Child Care Centre with community members enjoying the landscaping and public realm in the foreground.
Rendering of the Western North York Community and Child Care Centre. Courtesy of MJMA).

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

Project Update

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.

Project Overview

Rendering of pedestrian-only street with people attending a farmers' market.
Rendering of the George Street Revitalization Project. Courtesy of Montgomery Sisam.

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

Project Update

Campfire,’ by Michael Belmore and Herman Mejia
‘Campfire’ by Michael Belmore and Herman Mejia

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.

More information about the artists: Michael Belmore and Herman Mejia.

Project Overview

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.

Ward 3: Etobicoke – Lakeshore

Contact

Katriina Campitelli
Public Art Officer
647-458-5657
Katriina.Campitelli@toronto.ca