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May 26, 2009
Winner announced in Dufferin Street underpass public art competition
The City of Toronto has chosen Luis Jacob the winner of the Dufferin railway underpass public art competition. Jacob’s artistic goal is to introduce character into a transportation corridor, helping to make walking, cycling or driving through the tunnel enjoyable for the public.

The selection process began in January, with a call to artists that closed on February 2. The call resulted in 87 submissions from local, national and international artists. A selection panel selected a shortlist of five artists. On May 22, four finalists presented their artistic concepts to the panel, which has awarded the project to Luis Jacob for his proposal called The Hall of Community Spirits.

The selection panel was impressed with the calibre of submissions from the short-listed artists, Vera Frenkel (Toronto), Isabelle Hayeur (Montreal), Luis Jacob (Toronto) and Ken Lum (Vancouver).

The playful “Community Spirits” mosaic will transform the Dufferin underpass that is under construction in the area of Dufferin Street at Queen Street West. The new underpass in the vibrant Parkdale-Queen West communities will reconnect Dufferin Street to Queen Street and to the arterial road system leading to Exhibition Place, Lake Shore Boulevard and the Gardiner Expressway. The mosaic in the walls of the new underpass will provide bursts of shimmering colour evoking sunrises or irises.

This major infrastructure project provided an opportunity to commission a major public art work to be installed in the tunnel. Construction of the underpass started in December 2008 and is expected to be complete by spring 2010, at which time the artwork will be installed.

The Dufferin Underpass public art project is administered by the City's Cultural Services. Transportation Services is dedicating one per cent of its "Dufferin Jog" capital project budget to the public art component. City Planning’s Urban Design is contributing funds for stainless steel cladding and other site enhancements.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Clara Hargittay, Public Art Officer, Toronto Cultural Services, 416-392-4173,



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