June 19, 2013
by Canadian Architect
The City of Toronto has announced the winner of the Walks and Gardens Trust public art competition.
LAb[au], an internationally renowned art studio based in Brussels, Belgium, has received the opportunity to create and showcase a 70-metre permanent and interpretive art installation in commemoration of the Walks and Gardens Trust. The installation will be prominently featured at Union Station – Canada’s busiest and most important multimodal passenger transportation hub – on the north part of the pedestrian walkway under the Front Street pedestrian bridge.
The Walks and Gardens was created in 1818 to establish a 30-acre strip of land along Toronto’s previous shoreline, now Front Street, from Berkley to Peter Streets, to provide a public walk or mall on the land for the benefit and pleasure of residents. As the lakefront was being filled in for the railroad, the Walks and Gardens Trust was created in 1853, using the sale and lease of these lands to create and enhance parkland across Toronto. A portion of Union Station sits on the original Trust lands.
“This installation will engage the thousands of pedestrians traversing the walkway, providing an exciting attraction while celebrating Toronto’s heritage,” said Councillor Norm Kelly (Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt), Chair of the Government Management Committee.
“The Walks and Gardens Trust was intended to create beautiful public spaces for the enjoyment of all,” said Councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale). “As an incredible piece of art, the winning art installation will achieve this goal by transforming an important public space into a stunning focal point. Torontonians and tourists will enjoy walking through and revisiting this garden of light and sound for years to come.”
LAb[au]’s design, entitled “fLUX,” centres on the theme of motion and people flow. As a metaphor for the Trust, this elegant and sophisticated installation incorporates light and sound to create a contemporary and tranquil experience – like a garden of light – in a busy, urban space.
“fLUX, which is LAb[au]’s first North American permanent installation, will be a significant contribution to contemporary art and Toronto’s public art collection,” said Justin Ridgeway, an independent public art consultant hired to manage the artist selection process.
The City of Toronto launched the public art competition in January. Nearly 40 artists from around the world submitted expressions of interest, a number that was narrowed down to five artists last week. On June 17, a five-person selection panel, chosen for their expertise and knowledge of contemporary art, new media and local issues, selected the winning entry.
Members of the public were encouraged to offer input into the five finalists’ designs via a comment box at Union Station or online. The public’s feedback helped the selection panel make its final decision.
The artwork, which will be installed in the latter part of 2014, is expected to be enjoyed by the 250,000 passengers and visitors who come to Union Station daily, a number that will rise considerably over the next two decades.
More information on the public art competition and the Walks and Gardens Trust is available at
LAb[au]'s winning design, entitled "fLUX"