Looking Back at the 2023 Toronto Waterfront Artist Residency

A construction worker laying granite pavers.

POSTED: January 30, 2024


In This Blog:

  • In January 2023, Waterfront Toronto and the Waterfront Business Improvement Area (BIA) announced the third waterfront artist-in-residence, Simon Pope. 
  • Pope, a Toronto-based artist, concluded his year-long residency in December 2023.
  • Pope created temporary installations inspired by the people who live, work and play on the waterfront. 

  • Research for his interactive installations often involved ‘walking and talking’. 

  • Read more from Pope about his residency on walkingtowork.ca

  • Stay tuned to our newsletter for details on the next waterfront artist-in-residence.


In December 2023, Simon Pope wrapped up his year-long artist residency. He was the third artist-in-residence selected by Waterfront Toronto and the Waterfront Business Improvement Area (BIA). Pope’s residency followed 2022 artist-in-residence, Lisa Hirmer, and inaugural residents the Black Speculative Arts Movement Canada (now practising as Oddside Arts).


Pope's temporary public artworks were inspired by the people who live, work and play on the waterfront. His installations emphasized how walking helps people understand Toronto's waterfront in new ways and explored the relationship between the waterfront, movement and memory.


Here's a look back at Simon Pope's work as the 2023 waterfront artist-in-residence.


Three actors rehearsing a scene outdoors.

Pope’s pop-up performance series, called This Wave of Memories, was performed by a cast of five actors from Soulpepper Theatre Company. 


Pop-up Performances 

In September, Pope hosted a pop-up performance series with an ensemble of actors at Harbourfront Centre and the Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre. The series, called This Wave of Memories, was based on his conversations with the people who live and work on the waterfront, discussing their recollections of other places.


Black and white image of a hallway.

Students and faculty at the George Brown College Waterfront Campus participated in Pope’s interactive installation, called Performance Corridor.


Performance Corridor at George Brown College 

Following the success of his pop-up performance series, Pope hosted another interactive installation called Performance Corridor. The temporary installation took place in November in collaboration with George Brown College. It encouraged participants to describe their connections to other places while ‘walking and talking’ with Pope at the college’s Waterfront Campus.


A Q R code decal on a Queens Quay sidewalk.

A series of soundscapes posted along Queens Quay trace the origins of the granite pavers found in Love Park and along the waterfront.


Soundscapes Along Queens Quay 

In December, Pope released a series of nine soundscapes tracing the journey of the granite pavers in Love Park to a quarry in Quebec. The soundscapes, called Double Reflective, could be found using QR codes installed along Queens Quay.


The Double Reflective soundscapes were inspired by conversations Pope had with construction crews installing the granite pavers around Love Park’s heart-shaped pond. The granite helps give the park its signature look. This was part of his exploration of how Toronto’s waterfront is shaped by materials from elsewhere.


Walking To Work Newspaper

This culminating piece highlights elements of Pope’s year-long residency. It includes quotes from conversations with the people Pope met during his residency that later inspired his installations. The newspaper serves as a final artwork while also documenting his previous works. Find the Walking to Work newspaper on his website, walkingtowork.ca.


The Next Waterfront Artist-in-Residence 

Stay tuned to Waterfront Toronto's newsletter for details on the next waterfront artist-in-residence program. We look forward to announcing a call to artists soon. 


The residency is part of Waterfront Toronto's temporary public art program. Using the waterfront as a backdrop, it activates public spaces along the water’s edge and brings residents and visitors to the shoreline.


Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on the next waterfront artist-in-residence.