The Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation today announced a $25 million donation to the City of Toronto to create a new waterfront public art trail. This donation, the single largest arts-related gift the City has ever received, will serve as a prominent and enduring legacy for ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art.
Mayor John Tory was joined for today’s announcement at Sugar Beach by Councillor Joe Mihevc (Spadina-Fort York), Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth), Julie Lassonde and Michael Gibbens from the Lassonde family and Steve Diamond, Chair of Waterfront Toronto.
The donation includes $10 million to commission two landmark permanent art works, and up to $15 million to establish a new non-profit organization that will manage the art trail, with the intention of raising additional matching funds to sustain the organization over the long term.
The donation will create the new, outdoor public art trail in parks along the banks of the new mouth of the Don River in Toronto’s transformed Port Lands. Waterfront Toronto is building the parks, as part of the Port Lands Flood Protection Project. The art trail will be a free, open-air route and will be curated by a new non-profit organization to be endowed by this gift. Two permanent pieces – one by a leading Canadian artist and another by an international artist – will anchor the trail. A rotating cycle of contemporary installations from local, national and international artists will also be featured.
A City staff report to Toronto City Council at its meeting of 19 and 20 July will seek authority to negotiate and enter into agreements to accept the public artwork donations in the coming months. If approved, the Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation will appoint an executive director for the new non-profit organization, to be called the Lassonde Art Trail, and launch an international competition to commission the two new signature art works, in partnership with the City and Waterfront Toronto.
High resolution image of the artist impression of the proposed art trail on Villiers Island is also available on Waterfront Toronto’s webpage.
“I want to thank the Lassonde family for this generous donation to our city’s waterfront and for providing funding that will help us continue our vision for an accessible, beautiful and unique waterfront. A new waterfront public art trail will not only attract residents and visitors to Toronto’s waterfront, but provide an opportunity for people to experience art and much more for free. With the two new permanent art works as its centrepiece, the art trail, envisioned as part of the revitalization of the Port Lands, will serve as a free, accessible outdoor museum for visitors and residents alike – all of which play a big role in bringing art to public spaces in our city.”
– Mayor John Tory
“A big thank you to the Lassonde family for this donation to create a new, outdoor public art trail for residents and visitors across Toronto to enjoy. I’m delighted that we’re able to bring art to public spaces in the city.”
– Councillor Joe Mihevc (Spadina-Fort York)
“This important donation is key to continuing the revitalization of the Port Lands, while supporting public art. The open-air route will create opportunities for visitors and residents to discover and engage with exciting contemporary works by local, national and international artists.”
– Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth)
“Toronto’s revitalized waterfront is becoming an art destination in itself. This gift is transformational for Toronto’s waterfront and will contribute to making Villiers Island a major destination for all.”
– Stephen Diamond, Chair of Waterfront Toronto
“If one wishes to have a profound and lasting impact on the wellbeing and happiness of Torontonians, the waterfront offers a multitude of philanthropic opportunities.”
– Pierre Lassonde CM OQ
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