Homes and Condo Mississauga

Co-operative programs create strong base of public art

As the development in our region intensifies, public art is flourishing in our communities. These sculptures, murals and LED installations not only enhance the places where we live and work, but also create a sense of community, evoke bourgeois pride and invite tourism.

Many of these works are the result of creative partnerships between our industry, municipalities and artists.

In the city of Toronto a large part of public art is financed through the Percent for Public Art Program to which developers account for one percent of the gross building costs of projects in the direction of public art. In return, the city may allow developers to increase the height of a building or build a denser development, an exchange allowed by Article 37 of the Ontario Planning Act. Depending on the level of the contribution, the funds can be used to use an art installation on site or to go to the City Public Art Reserve Fund – or a combination of the two options.

Over the past five years, the program has completed the completion of approximately $ 25 million in public art, securing additional funding that has not yet been spent. Since its inception, the Percent for Public Art program has enriched Toronto with more than 150 pieces of public art. Many are part of condominium developments and are enjoyed by residents and passers-by.

An example is a work entitled We Are All Animals in a public square in front of an apartment close to Hoog Park. The installation, commissioned by the developer of an Toronto-based art studio, consists of a long bronze bank, a trio of coyote sculptures and an LED screen with the different landscapes of High Park.

Another collaboration between our industry and the city is Guard with Balloon Dog a stencil attributed to the anonymous graffiti artist Banksy, which can be seen in the PATH system at 1 York St .. It was found on the wall of a former office building in the Harbourfront district. Before the building was demolished, the developer had the panels recovered, professionally restored and installed, along with a commissioned assignment, as a public art contribution to the large mixed-use project in the area.

Other municipalities in the GTA also build their public art collections thanks to partnerships with our industry, despite the fact that public art contributions are voluntary. For example, in Mississauga, a two-part metal and glass sculpture called Migration with birds in flight, forms a gateway to Duke of York Blvd. where it meets Burnhamthorpe Rd. The work was jointly funded by developers behind two nearby condo projects and the City of Mississauga.

And in Markham children and children can ride their hearts on a colorful piece of public art, a merry-go-round with characters that invoke Canada such as a beaver, a mountain, an elk and a salmon. The carousel, made by Canada-born artist from California, Patrick Amiot, is called Pride of Canada . It is the focal point of an extensive public art initiative that is being driven by the developer behind the large mixed-use development in the center of Markham.

As our region continues to grow, we will need more of this kind of collaboration to thrive. complete communities where people can live, work and enjoy their free time. With elections approaching this year, BILD will ask questions about how we can work together to realize this vision.

Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the BILD, the voice of the construction industry and of the interior design of the housing industry, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA. For the latest news from the industry and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, @bildgta or visit

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