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June 10, 2002
City of Toronto unveils Jane-Finch community art project
  
The City of Toronto has unveiled a public art project at the Driftwood
Community Centre to promote a positive spirit and celebrate cultural diversity
in the Jane-Finch community.

Following a tragic shooting in 1999, City Council adopted a strategy in March
2000 to engage the Jane-Finch community, and to provide physical infrastructure
enhancements and social infrastructure enhancements. Council directed staff to
work with the Jane-Finch community, Toronto Community Housing and other
appropriate agencies to develop these initiatives.

City Council also approved $150,000 for public art to help create an outdoor
meeting place that would
  • honour community members and celebrate public events
  • enhance and improve the open space on the site
  • consider the scale and context of the site
  • be recognizable from vehicular and pedestrian points of view
  • have all-season use
  • be lit at night.
After public
consultation, a steering group of residents and City staff chose the Driftwood
Community Centre, 4401 Jane St., as the location for the art. Themes considered
and developed with the community included neighbourhood connections, garden,
water, people in all stages in life, people of all cultures, gathering and
welcoming, tranquility, celebration, communication and interaction.

Linda Covit, an artist from Montreal, won the subsequent public competition
with her proposal, called Circle of Words. Garden of Thought. Her public art
project comprises the following elements:

Circle of Words - a container for the spoken word and a gathering place, with a
three-dimensional space sculpted to encourage interaction between people.

Bench - made from cream colour Indiana limestone that harmonizes with the
community centre's red brick and beige trim while providing contrast to the
surrounding grass and trees. This very large stone bench traces a 60-foot
section of the circumference of a 25-foot diameter circle. Square stone blocks
support the seat, centred under the joints and the extremities. A bed of river
stones delineates the bench along the ground.

Boulders - grouped within and near the circle, including a number of boulders
inscribed with community-suggested words such as heritage, trust, friendship.

Water Walk - addresses the theme of water, while respecting the requirements
for the art work to be low maintenance and prudent with energy. Narrow lengths
of granite, alternating with wide bands of cemented river stones, form a
footpath into the circle. Each granite piece contains a thin channel that
collects rain and snow. On dry days, the dark lines formed by the shadowed
incisions evoke the ephemeral liquid lines.

Stand of Light Columns - five aluminum columns massed between the bench and the
building. Twelve and 15 feet tall, they are clearly visible to pedestrian and
vehicular traffic. Each is topped with a metal disc, reflecting the light shone
onto it from inside the column.

Trees - an arc of birch trees completing the Circle of Words. Following the
outside curve of the bench, they enhance the circular movement of the
installation. The trees soften the transition between the parking area and the
grounds, and are planted to keep the sight lines open.

Garden of Thought - beginning across the concrete path and extending through
the increasingly wooded area along Jane Street, this garden comprises boulders,
each inscribed with one or several words. The boulders are small, placed in
clearings within groupings of tall trees.

Construction of this public art project began in October 2001, with trees
planted this spring.

The unveiling took place on June 8.


Media Contact
Media contacts:
Leo DeSorcy, Program Manager, Urban Design, Urban Development Services,
416- 395-7139
Richard Bishop, Communications Coordinator, Urban Development Services,
416-392-7597; pager: 416-866-1209

 

 

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