New artist-in-residence appointed for Toronto’s waterfront

Headshot of Lisa Hirmer

Interdisciplinary artist Lisa Hirmer’s work examines life in this moment of climate emergency

January 27, 2022, Toronto, ON – Waterfront Toronto and the Waterfront BIA are pleased to announce that interdisciplinary artist Lisa Hirmer has been appointed as the waterfront’s next official artist-in-residence. Hirmer’s work critically examines the way that human relationships interact with their surrounding ecologies and asks broader questions about life in this moment of climate emergency.  

Hirmer’s Master of Architecture thesis focused on the mouth of the Don River and she has had a long-standing interest in Toronto’s waterfront. “There is something very special about the way the city’s urban fabric tangles with the more-than-human world along the waterfront,” says Hirmer. “There is incredible creative potential for a sustained engagement with the unique hybrid ecologies of the city’s watery edge. The chance to create meaningful experiences with this special place is really exciting.”  

Hirmer has previously exhibited work at the Art Gallery of Guelph, Harbourfront Centre, Nuit Blanche Toronto, and the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery. 

The aim of the residency is to create meaningful, experiential encounters with the community, activate underutilized spaces along the lakefront, and draw new audiences to the waterfront. Artists were invited to submit applications to the residency program through an open call issued by the Waterfront BIA and Waterfront Toronto. A jury reviewed 26 submissions and ultimately selected Hirmer for the 12-month residency. Potential projects could include workshops, performances, events, urban interventions, and temporary or ephemeral installations. Hirmer succeeds the Black Speculative Arts Movement, who served as the inaugural artists-in-residence after their appointment in September 2020.  

“After the incredible contributions that we saw from our debut artists-in-residence, I can’t wait to see what Lisa will do with this opportunity, especially as someone whose past artistic and academic work makes her so familiar with the waterfront,” says George Zegarac, Waterfront Toronto CEO. “I also want to thank all the applicants to this position – the enthusiasm from across the board speaks to the importance that Toronto’s artistic community places on public art along the waterfront,” says Zegarac.  

“Since the pandemic, we’ve all had to try new ideas, take risks and adjust quickly to changes we don’t fully understand. The artist community have been a consistent inspiration to us as they’ve proposed bold new ways to animate the waterfront and engage visitors. Lisa Hirmer will be another inspiration. We can’t wait to see how she forces us to adjust our perspective of the waterfront, the climate, and the future all over again,” says Tim Kocur, Executive Director, Waterfront BIA. 


About Waterfront Toronto:

Waterfront Toronto is a corporation created by the governments of Canada, Ontario and the City of Toronto with a mandate to revitalize the lands by Lake Ontario, transforming past industrial sites into thriving neighbourhoods that support economic vitality and enhance quality of life. Its newly launched Temporary Art Program is designed to broaden the arts culture along the waterfront by providing flexible access to physical spaces and partnerships. Through this initiative it is possible to engage a greater diversity of artistic voices to help reimagine and shift our relationship to and understanding of our shoreline. The rapidly changing landscape of our waterfront creates a backdrop of contrast, transition, and growth for art projects to foster healthy public dialogue on timely issues. 


About the Waterfront BIA:

Representing businesses along the Queens Quay corridor, the Waterfront BIA (WBIA) is committed to supporting businesses, unifying the Waterfront and engaging the community. Activities of the WBIA include representing the area on key policy and advocacy issues, making targeted public realm improvements and highlighting the area’s vibrancy with activations and daily promotion online. 


Media contacts: 

Simon Bredin
Media Relations 
Waterfront Toronto 


Katherine Hebb 
Marketing Director 
The Waterfront BIA