10 Public Art Installations in Toronto to Have on Your Radar (MAP)

public art
Garden of Future Follies - Hadley Howes

Toronto: a city that’s known for being one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world; a culinary hot spot; spoiled with a surplus of professional sports teams; and for being home to world-renowned arts and culture.

But when it comes to art, sure, there are countless galleries and museums you can check out, but the truth is, some of the best public art in the city is what you might walk right by (and fail to acknowledge).

Toronto streets are home to everything from Douglas Coupland pieces — like his red canoe sculpture at Fort York and Bathurst — to Banksy’s original “Guard with balloon dog” in the PATH.

To give you a much-needed culture boost, we’ve rounded up 10 public art installations — both old and new — that contribute to the fabric that defines Canada’s biggest city.

So, the next time you’re strolling through your favourite neighbourhood, here are 10 public art installations you should always keep your eyes peeled for.

READ: Outdoor Art Installations Unveiled at Lakeview Village Site in Mississauga

STARGATE: 150 and 155 Redpath

 

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Tucked away in the Redpath and Broadway intersection in Midtown Toronto’s Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood, you’ll find the STARGATE installation designed by Toronto- and Krakow-based artists Blue Republic. The installation includes alien-inspired pieces on both the east and west sides of Redpath Avenue, fronting the entrances to new condo towers at 150 and 155 Redpath.

Tom Thomson’s Canoe: Canoe Landing Park

 

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Designed by Douglas Coupland, the Vancouver author, artist, and sculptor, the Red Canoe is an iconic public art installation on display in a 3.2-hectare park in City Place. The installation is strategically placed and features an oversized red canoe overlooking the Gardiner Expressway by the edge of the bluff at Canoe Landing Park. The canoe is easily large enough for people to stand in, and the perspective offers view of cars hurriedly streaming past while the CN Tower and Lake Ontario loom in the distance.

Guard With Balloon Dog: One York Street

 

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Don’t worry if you missed attending the popular Banksy exhibit in Toronto, because artwork by the famed British street artist, which once graced the facade of a Toronto building, is now on display as a public art piece in the PATH next to One York Street north of Harbour Street. A Toronto developer salvaged the artwork, Guard with Balloon Dog, which features a male figure, dressed in a law enforcement uniform, holding the leash of a pink balloon dog that is muzzled.

I.T.: Distillery District

 

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While the Distillery District is home to a number of striking public art pieces, it’s most notably known for the arachnid I.T. created by Oakland artist Michael Christian. I.T. is located on a pathway in the historic District and stands 40-feet tall and resembles a spider with a bulbous head. It was constructed with 10,000 pounds of steel.

The Audience: Rogers Centre

 

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Created by Michael Snow, The Audience sculptures, which were first unveiled in 1989 at the then-Skydome, now-Rogers Centre, are located on both the northeast and northwest corners of the building above the entrances. The attention-stopping pieces depict larger-than-life sports fans and were inspired by the dynamic between fans of opposing teams.

The Water Guardians: Front Street Promenade

 

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Created by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins with landscape architect James Khamsi, The Water Guardians is located in Toronto’s Canary District and consists of a blue-painted steel structure with three heads watching over a water feature.

Elevated Wetlands: Don Mills Road, Taylor Creek Park

 

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Created by Noel Harding, these striking pieces of sculpture were commissioned by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association “to create a public work of art that brings together both the plastics and art communities.” The animal-like sculptures are located along the Don Valley Parkway near the Don Mills interchange and purify polluted water from the heavily urbanized Don River watershed.

120 Mirrors: Lee Lifeson Park

 

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Located in Lee Lifeson Park, 120 Mirrors is a sound installation consisting of a series of horn-shaped sculptures that each play with a different aspect of human communication, specifically, the acts of listening, speaking, conversing, and reflection.

Mirage: Underpass Park

 

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Created by Toronto-based architecture and design firm Paul Raff Studio, Mirage is located in Underpass Park, beneath the Eastern Avenue ramps. Suspended above where pedestrians would walk, large scale mirror-like surfaces create an illusory appearance, bending rays of light to produce a displaced image much like a mirage. The installation is made up of 57 reflective polished stainless steel panels fastened to the underside of the overpass, creating the ultimate selfie spot.

Garden of Future Follies: Bayview Avenue and Front Street East

 

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Located at the corner of Front Street East and Bayview Avenue in the West Don Lands, Garden of Future Follies was created by Berlin-based artists Hadley+Maxwell. The sculpture garden brings together elements from over 80 existing public sculptures and architectural details from around the City of Toronto and invites visitors to imagine their own configurations as they visit not only the Garden of Future Follies but also other sites around the city.

Did we miss any of your favourite public art installations? Let us know by tweeting to us at @torontostoreys