June 28, 2022, Toronto, ON – A visionary $25 million donation from the Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation will create a new, outdoor public art trail on the future Villiers Island in Toronto’s transformed Port Lands. The gift was announced today at an event on the city’s waterfront featuring Mayor John Tory, who was joined by Toronto City councillors, members of the Lassonde family and Stephen Diamond, Chair of Waterfront Toronto.
The Lassonde Art Trail will be a free, open-air route operated and curated by a new foundation, with funds from this gift; the gift will also finance the acquisition of two permanent pieces anchoring the trail. A rotating cycle of contemporary installations from local, national and international artists will also be featured.
“It has always been a dream of mine to put great art within reach of the public,” says Pierre Lassonde, founder of the Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation. “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.”
“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,” says Mayor John Tory. “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.”
“Toronto’s revitalized waterfront is becoming an art destination in itself,” says Stephen Diamond, Chair of Waterfront Toronto. “This gift is transformational for Toronto’s waterfront and will contribute to making Villiers Island a major destination for all.”
“The future Lassonde Art Trail will be an invaluable part of the vast network of new parks and public spaces we are creating in the Port Lands, to be enjoyed by millions of visitors and residents to our city,” said Councillor Paula Fletcher.
The $25 million 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. Next month, City Council will vote on accepting this gift and moving ahead with the art trail. With their approval, the new foundation will appoint an executive director, select a jury for the permanent artworks, and begin identifying potential art to exhibit.
In these artist renderings of the future Villiers Island art trail, public artwork from around the world illustrates the future sites along the trail.
Artist impression of the proposed art trail on Villiers Island (photo courtesy: Norm Li AG+I) . Download Image
Artist impression of the proposed art trail on Villiers Island (Photo courtesy: Norm Li AG+I) Download Image
The trail will wrap around the southwestern perimeter of the future Villiers Island. Download Image
An event was held at Sugar Beach to recognize the donation
Mayor John Tory meets with Pierre Lassonde and representatives of Waterfront Toronto including CEO George Zegarac