UrbanToronto is embarking on a week's worth of stories on public art now under consideration or recently dedicated in the city, with one story for each day this week. The stories will cover art being installed at the base of sky-scraping condos and commercial buildings, and in neighbourhoods where beefed up transportation is soon to be running through, which is where we kick things off today… 

Last week GO Transit held a public consultation for artwork proposed for two sound walls that will be constructed in the area near Dundas West subway and Bloor GO stations. These sound walls are being constructed in efforts to tone down the increased rumblings that will come with upcoming more frequent GO Train services and the new eight-times hourly Union Pearson Express train, scheduled to begin operation in mid-2015.

Map of sound wall locations, courtesy of GO Transit, a division of Metrolinx

The first wall will be 7 metres long on a section of the West Toronto Railpath south of Bloor and parallel to Perth Avenue, while the second will be on the west side of the tracks, spanning 15 metres at the terminus of Ritchie Avenue. Both walls will be three metres high. The project has four shortlisted proposals pending and the public is asked to give their feedback on each so that the final product will reflect the community's tastes.

The first proposal is called "!De Facto Public¡" designed by Paul Aloisi. Aloisi, whose practice centres around public art, hopes to design the two murals through a multi-step and community-inclusive process. He would begin by hosting a full-day public design workshop where members of the community would create play structure models for a hypothetical Ritchie Avenue Park created from recycled materials. Based on what is created at this workshop, Aloisi would then crate two mural walls that would reflect the aesthetic of these play-structures. He would do this by using his 3D drafting and AutoCAD skills to create a 2D composition designed in the same language as these play-structures.

Example of finished mural created using community designs, image by Paul Aloisi

For a more thorough look at Paul Aloisi's proposal, you can download this PDF.

The second proposal would add a work to Elicser's already widely-seen collection of Toronto street art like the Beatrice Street "Movemeber" mural and the Dovercourt BIA mural. Elicser, a graffiti artist, works to show the positive attributes of his medium while using it as a tool to create more positive and safe public spaces. The concept behind the work for these two walls is showcase the essence of the community in these neighbourhoods by paying visual homage to their efforts to maintain their neighbourhoods' wildlife and greenery as well as its heritage buildings.

Proposed mural design for a part of Ritchie Avenue sound wall, image by Elicser

For a more thorough look at Elicser's proposal, you can download this PDF.

A neighbourhood native, Kwest, has come up with the project's third proposal. His design focuses on the outdoor spaces in the south Junction community. He will create an "abstract mosaic" design which will will weave in themes and representations of nature, people, transportation infrastructure, and community in an abstract composition. Kwest takes into consideration the fact that the walls will be viewed from a variety of vantage points—the rail path, the park, and the street—and designed a work to be appreciated as a whole from afar, and in detail when seen up close.

Proposed mural Design for east wall of railpath, image by Kwest

For a more thorough look at Kwest's proposal, you can download this PDF.

The fourth proposal is a collaboration of three artists—Oliver Pauk, Sally Hood Ranscombe and Michael Vickers—members of the Akin Collective. The work will use mirrored plexiglass as well as solar-powered LED lighting. This works to be both interactive, but also symbolic of the neighbourhood's introspective ethos and vibrancy. The wall will have a varied topography with some parts remaining flat and other sporting crystalline projections. The trio hopes to use their public feedback to decide on which shapes and colours to incorporate. 

Proposed mural Design for east wall of railpath, image by Oliver Pauk, Sally Hood Ranscombe and Michael Vickers

For a more thorough look at the Pauk/Hood Ranscombe/Vickers' proposal, you can download this PDF.

These walls are being constructed as part of a larger project, the Georgetown South Project (GTS Project) which is expanding the infrastructure to meet existing GO Transit ridership needs as well as handle future growth. The improved corridor will accommodate existing and increasing VIA Rail and CN Freight train service as well as the Union–Pearson Express. Recently UrbanToronto covered the progress of the project which is slated for completion in Spring 2015. 

The decoration of these sound walls is part of a Beautification Project within the GTS Project. Metrolinx has partnered with StreetARt Toronto (StART) to see that many of the new walls along the corridor will be transformed into public-facing murals. Public consultations are integral to the process of seeing sound walls and other transportation infrastructure turned into vibrant artworks. These consultations facilitate local, neighbourhood-inspired art while lessening the chances of vandalism and graffiti. There have been 10 public facing areas—bridges, underpasses and retaining walls, to name a few—that will be adorned under the project's scope. Among these are the Strachan Avenue overpass and the Kipling Avenue bridge. 

GO Transit is interested in your feedback. Please email gts@gotransit.com by tomorrow, Tuesday December 5, at 5:00 PM to have your say.

Related Companies:  AECOM, EllisDon, Metrolinx, MMM Group Limited, Morrison Hershfield, WSP, Zeidler Partnership Architects