public art

Public art will be an integral feature of the public space in our new blue edge.

Waterfront Toronto is committed to making art part of the fabric of everyday life in its new waterfront neighbourhoods.

Our plan for public art will enhance the community by:

  • installing public art in streets, open spaces and parks where it can be seen by the community at large;
  • using art as a way to beautify and make meaningful otherwise utilitarian areas; and
  • creating landmarks that celebrate the diversity and creativity of our communities.

To envision and realize an innovative public art program, Waterfront Toronto is taking a bold step. It’s pooling the one per cent of its projected gross construction costs of waterfront projects and using it to fund a comprehensive plan that will make public art an integral part of each neighbourhood.

Once our development partners are on board and construction begins at each site, Waterfront Toronto will recover its upfront investment for public art. At this point, the art will be owned and managed by Toronto Cultural Services as part of the City of Toronto Public Art and Monuments Collection.

completed public art
public art under construction
peeled pavement, jill anholt, installation 2014, mill street

Peeled Pavement, created by Vancouver-based artist Jill Anholt in collaboration with The Planning Partnership, consists of four bronze and cast glass elements that will be integrated into the public realm design for Mill Street. Located beside the Distillery District, the work will punctuate the side walk, revealing an underside of industrial artifacts lit from below the surface. Linking this rich and complex industrial history to the renewal of life and growth envisioned for the public realm of the future, Peeled Pavement will capture the energies of the working city.

the water guardians, jennifer marman and daniel borins, installation 2015, front street east

The Water Guardians is an integrated artwork, landscape design and play project. It depicts three towering abstract figures whose minimalist profiles and eyes, illuminated at night, suggest a vigilant outward gaze. The spout-like arm of the figure to the left suggests water flowing into a stylized river made of recycled rubberized play surface, which flows out in both directions from the archway formed by The Water Guardian's legs. The curving shape of the figure on the right suggests fluid motion, a personification of water. The riverway runs on the same axis as Front Street (east to west within the artwork site) and is punctuated by green mounds of rubberized play surface. Standard play equipment represents buoys with mobile bases allowing for interactive play.

untitled, tadashi kawamata, installation 2015, front street east

Tadashi Kawamata's proposal for Front Street East is a twelve-meter-high tower which will contrast with the orthogonal geometry of buildings, street lines and the efficiently organized public space of the new Front Street. The sculpture, which invites pedestrians into its center, will be an accumulation of lampposts that appear to hold themselves together as mikado sticks just before they fall.
At night, the lamps will be lit with energy-efficient bulbs, creating a bright internal volume. The lampposts will be visible in contrast, casting abstract shadows on the adjacent pavement. Selected from lamppost designes widely- and locally-available, preferably from those already used on Toronto's streets, the work will become a landmark beacon for the neighborhood.

public art in east bayfront

Waterfront Toronto is developing a Public Art Strategy for the East Bayfront precinct that will identify key public art opportunities and funding strategies. The first component of the Public Art Program for East Bayfront is Light Showers, completed in 2011 and installed in Sherbourne Common.

public art on the central waterfront

Waterfront Toronto has been working with Central Waterfront public realm designers West 8 and DTAH to identify significant public art sites along the Central Waterfront and will be working with City Planning and the City of Toronto to strategically fund public art opportunities in the Central Waterfront area.

waterfront public art context

The Waterfront Toronto public art program is being rolled out within a broader context of public artworks commissioned through the City of Toronto’s Percent for Public Art Program and Public Art and Monuments Collection. Read more about these programs here.