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Staff Picks: 5 Spots to Spot Public Art

Canoe Landing Park (photo by Ian Muttoo)

It’s true that Toronto can’t compete with, say, Paris when it comes to decorating our parks and public spaces with art, but more intriguing sculptures, murals and installations are popping up all the time. In particular, these five locations offer visuals that are equally worth photographing and contemplating.

Canoe Landing Park
Anyone who’s driven into or out of Toronto via the Gardiner Expressway has likely spotted the big red canoe of the aptly named Canoe Landing Park. Between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue, this urban green space surrounded by a condo development also features an installation of giant multi-coloured fishing bobbers. The red canoe’s creator, famed artist and writer Douglas Coupland, also made for the city a Monument to the War of 1812, a somewhat whimsical piece depicting two toy soldiers located nearby at Fleet Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West.

Remembered Sustenance
An installation reminiscent of children’s stories, Remembered Sustenance shows a group of fantastical four-legged animals ambling past a curtain that’s being drawn by two birds. Artist Cynthia Short intended for the work to be enjoyed by children and though it can be interpreted in different ways, it seems to represent the childhood experiences that sustain us through our lives. Wellington Street West at John Street.

Salmon Run
Located near the Rogers Centre, CN Tower and Steamwhistle Brewery, Salmon Run makes enduring art out of the spawning spectacle of salmon and acknowledges Toronto’s place in the larger Great Lakes ecosystem. The fountain represents an “oasis” in the city, and promotes ecological progress in a very urban, very populated city. 255 Bremner Blvd.

Still Dancing & Koilos
The Distillery Historic District may hearken to Toronto’s heritage, but it’s also home to some compelling modern art and installations. The huge teardrop-like structure located in the main square is entitled Still Dancing and seems to evoke—abstractly, we’ll admit—the brewing machinery that would’ve been found in the Distillery during it’s operational era. Nearby you’ll find the hard-to-ignore Koilos, a 14-foot-tall metallic figure, crouched and grasping, that depicts humanity’s more violent tendencies. 55 Mill St.

Two Large Forms & The Archer
The works of British sculptor Henry Moore are well known in this city. The Art Gallery of Ontario has the world’s largest collection of his pieces, and one of them, entitled Two Large Forms, can be seen for free at the corner of Dundas and McCaul streets. Another, The Archer, is situated in Nathan Phillips Square, and complements the curvilinear structure of City Hall.

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