Waterfront Toronto has announced the winners for two pubic art commissions in the West Don Lands. The winners come from a short list reported on earlier by UrbanToronto to select three art works to enhance the new neighbourhood now under construction in advance of hosting the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in 2015. Both works will be sited along Front Street, currently being rebuilt to serve as the neighbourhood's main street. A third commission, the Pan Am Legacy, is still to be awarded.

John Campbell, President and CEO of Waterfront Toronto declared “Our West Don Lands Public Art master plan is one of the first of its kind in North America. With the help of our funding and development partners, we are building a significant collection of public art that will enrich the West Don Lands neighbourhood and the City of Toronto.” The West Don Lands is amongst the first neighbourhoods in Canada to plan for public art at this scale from the earliest planning stage. The strategy 'outlines specific recommendations for conceptualizing, planning and commissioning art that builds a cohesive narrative for the neighbourhood'.

Waterfront Toronto's Public Art master plan for the area dovetails with that of the City of Toronto and those of major developers here. The large and growing body of public artworks is becoming one of the most visible legacies of Toronto's ongoing development boom.

The winning proposals were selected from a previously announced short list that included submissions from a range of emerging and established artists from around the world.

Front Street Landmark

Lamppost sculpture by Tadashi Kawamata, image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata won the Front Street Landmark commission for his sculpture of lampposts. “Over the decades, Toronto neighbourhoods have had lampposts in a wide variety of styles, materials and heights that have come to characterize eras or areas,” reads the jury’s statement regarding Kawamata’s proposal. “Having the appearance of Mikado sticks just before they fall, the formal bundling together of this jumble of city infrastructure collapses history and geography into one playful gesture.”

Kawamata is known for site specific sculptural work made with found or recycled materials. His works of note include Relocation at Serpentine Gallery, London, UK; Gandamaison in Versailles; and Tree Hut in New York at New York City’s Madison Square Park.

The lampposts sculpture will be located one block east of Cherry Street on Front, and is meant to act as a gateway for people travelling into the neighbourhood from the downtown core to.

Children’s Art Zone

The Water Guardians by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins, image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

This site is located one block west of Bayview Avenue on Front Street, close to the recently opened Corktown Common park. For it, the jury selected a work they thought would foster 'thoughtful and playful interaction and engage the young and the young-at-heart'. The winner is The Water Guardians by Canadian artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins of Implosion Post Media Ltd. “We chose something close to our hearts, the legacy of the Don Lands and its place at the mouth of the Don River,” said Marman and Borins. “Our rivers and lake are the life source of Toronto, and we have sought to memorialize this important message with our project.”

The Water Guardians by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins, image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

The Water Guardians by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins, image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto
Marman and Borins' previous works include large-scale public art installations, including Wave Side at West Harbour City Phase II, and a mobile project for GO Transit Art Train Conductor No. 9. Their work is represented in the National Gallery of Canada.