The Legacy Art Project is a citizen-funded public space dedicated to the spirit of courage, determination, and action that Terry Fox embodied.
The project design titled, 'We Are Shaped by the Obstacles We Face' was conceived by artist Jon Sasaki and landscape architect DTAH during a nationwide call for proposals by citizen-led group(LAPT) in collaboration with . The permanent, integrated, and architectural art installation aims to convey the optimism and courage Terry Fox showed throughout the Marathon of Hope in 1980, in an experiential way.
Located on Queens Quay West, east of the Toronto Music Garden, along the Martin Goodman Trail, construction of the Legacy Art Project began in July 2023 with completion expected in fall 2023.
Rooted in the legacy of Terry Fox's power to inspire, this project intends to inspire future generations to continue Terry’s important work raising awareness and funds for cancer research. The installation is designed to flow east-west, akin to Terry Fox’s journey, with visitors entering from Queen’s Quay ending at vantage point at the southwest corner of the park. From this unique perspective, the granite pieces visually transform into a familiar silhouette of Terry Fox.
The installation, ‘We Are Shaped by the Obstacles We Face,’ is a course of intriguing carved rock features that act as an optical illusion, visually appearing to obstruct a visitor’s path with a wall of stone and foliage from certain perspectives, while creating an uplifting silhouette from another. Comprised of vertical rock slabs carved from solid black granite, they convey formidable mass and immobility, symbolizing the challenges we encounter in our own lives. These rock features interrupt the pace of a visitor’s walk and in so doing, invite pensive moments. These elements are places of opportunity, where one can pause and reflect on personal obstacles, past, present and future.
In summer 2018, Toronto City Council approved a memorial to Terry Fox, which was initiated by Legacy Art Project Toronto (LAPT) and subject to the City’s Public Art and Monuments Donations Policy. In spring 2022, and announced that Waterfront Toronto would deliver the project.
The park is made possible by contributions from Legacy Art Project Toronto, individual donors, the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the City of Toronto, and the Waterfront Business Improvement Area (BIA), and is being delivered by Waterfront Toronto.
Design Selection Process
In 2018 a nationwide call for proposals was issued by Legacy Art Project Toronto (LAPT), in which visual artists paired with seasoned landscape architects to jointly develop their submissions. Five teams were shortlisted in 2019 by a selection panel curated by LAPT. The short-listed teams were then invited to present the projects and invite feedback. Finally, Art + Public facilitated a Technical Review of all the shortlisted proposals before they were brought forward to the public.
Art + Public held an Open House in January 2019 for public viewing of the shortlisted design concepts. The public was encouraged to leave comments and vote for a favourite among the five shortlisted proposals. Ultimately, ‘We Are Shaped by the Obstacles We Face’ by Jon Sasaki in collaboration with DTAH received the highest number of positive votes from the public and was selected as the winning submission.