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Top Image: A rendering of an imagined sculpture garden.

Art

The Park's beautiful 200-hectare backdrop inspires artists to create works celebrating the site's natural environment and the city as a whole.

Co-presented by Evergreen and the City of Toronto, the Don River Valley Park art trail will be truly one of a kind, commissioning major contemporary artworks on an ongoing basis in the challenging and uncultivated environment of the Don Valley.

Just as the Park provides Toronto’s downtown core access to vital greenspace, it also makes art accessible for all residents—as art should be.

Artists who have been commissioned for pieces to feature in the Park experiment within the context of the Valley, integrating their art pieces into the landscape in creative and evolving ways that respond to their environment.

“When considering bringing art into our natural spaces we should remember that the life and landscape of Toronto's wilds have inspired the imaginations of such renowned artists as Doris McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Atom Egoyan, Larry Richards, and Ernest Hemingway.”

Return to the Don River Valley Park time and time again to find the unexpected, or to take a walk with an artist and learn something new!

Soon you will be able to visit and experience how artists reflect the history, ecology and industrial impact of the Don Valley in their works. 

Public art in Toronto

Toronto is a city that thrives on culture, which includes public art.

Public art plays a critical role in creating vibrant, flourishing cities. The type of city we believe Toronto to be!

Responding to the rhythms of the city and the natural environment, art in the public realm allows us to see the everyday in a new light.

Riverdale Bridge art rendering.
A rendering of imagined artwork on the existing Riverdale Bridge.

But in Toronto, public art is lacking in centralized locations. The Park will provide a public art program that continually evolves and introduces new ideas. 

Visitors to the Don River Valley Park will be able to return time and time again to find an active, overlapping series of commissions and events. Acclaimed contemporary artists will use their pieces to frame the Don Valley’s ecological, cultural, industrial and Indigenous histories and the promise of a sustainable future.

A concept rendering of an art fence in the Park.

The art program at the Don River Valley Park will animate the entire city by generating excitement and demand for a rich public art culture.

We can't wait for you to come visit us and find the unexpected. You may be surprised in what you find during your trip through the Park.

Art to see in the DRVP

Upcoming installations:

Gargoyles, Duane Linklater — Summer 2017

Rendering of possible Linklater sculpture
A rendering of what a possible Duane Linklater sculpture could look like in the DRVP.

Artist Duane Linklater will initiate the Don River Valley Park Art Program through a striking installation of cast cement gargoyles on the Lower Don Trail. The sculptures are casts from gargoyles adorning prominent buildings in downtown Toronto.

Linklater’s project stems from an interest in the structural changes made to the Lower Don River as it became an industrial hub in colonial Toronto.

The artist asks the viewer to look closely at the trajectory of Toronto’s history and the changes made to the natural environment with the development of cities in settler societies. 

The gargoyle as an icon communicates power and authority; it is a protector of a certain kind of colonial space.

Sample examples of gargoyles that live on prominent Toronto buildings.
Examples of gargoyles that live on prominent Toronto buildings.

Linklater proposes to re-deploy or re-purpose the figure of the gargoyle in relation to the Don River.

Linklater’s gargoyle sculptures focus attention on the Lower Don’s role in Toronto’s industrialization, while sparking a larger conversation regarding ongoing Indigenous and colonial occupation of the city.

About Duane Linklater

Born in Moose Factory, Ont. in 1976. Lives and works in North Bay, Ont.

Duane Linklater is Omaskêko Cree from Moose Cree First Nation. Working in performance, installation, film and other media, Duane Linklater addresses issues of cultural loss and recovery as well as authenticity, appropriation and authorship. He often collaborates with others, reconsidering oral traditions where the transmission of knowledge, stories or histories is essential to future generations. His research on the land and language of Newfoundland’s extinct Beothuck people forms one project, while the film Modest Livelihood—part of dOCUMENTA (13)—shows Linklater and Brian Jungen on a hunting trip, referencing First Nations’ rights to fish and hunt.

Linklater received a Bachelor of Native Studies and a BFA from the University of Alberta. He completed his MFA in film and video at Bard College in 2012, where his thesis exhibition involved planting 12 Home Depot blueberry bushes on the lawn outside Bard’s Centre for Curatorial Studies. Linklater’s work has been exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery, New York’s Family Business Gallery and the Power Plant. He is the winner of the 2013 Sobey Art Award.