The Railpath is a constantly evolving canvas for all types of art and an inspiration for artists.
Frontier by John Dickson
John Dickson’s four sculptural artworks, collectively named Frontier, were inspired by the changing landscape of the West Toronto Railpath area. At different locations along the southern portion of the Railpath, each Frontier form simultaneously evokes the industrial past of the site and the natural states that existed before and after the area’s industrial period. These large industrial forms, each measuring between five and six metres high, have perforated galvanized steel surfaces, which alternately appear to be solid and transparent, creating a flickering effect when viewed from the Railpath as well as from the adjacent rail corridor. This project was commissioned by Toronto Cultural Services’ Public Art Office.
Create Your Path
Create Your Path was initiated in 2014 by Councillor Ana Bailão. StreetARToronto (StART) was approached to install art projects along selected buildings facing the West Toronto Railpath. This request was rooted in community desire for change along the Railpath. Project delivery was managed by StART in collaboration with City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation. Crazy Dames and Gladki Planning Associates were brought on to co-design and co-facilitate the community engagement and artist selection process. Friends of the West Toronto Railpath was a member of the Artist Selection Committee.
Dundas West / Dupont Underpass mural by Bacon and Que Rockford
This powerful mural is a mix of Indigenous, abstract and graffiti art, and marks the first mural created by Indigenous artist, dancer and musician Que Rockford. Renowned street artist Bacon mentored Que in the art of mural-making while Que taught Bacon about sacred Indigenous geometry and the deep and powerful meanings behind his work. This piece is an homage to street art in two visual languages – an Indigenous language with a street art language in balance and harmony, showcasing a forward-looking story for the 21st century where all beings live in balance with the earth and in harmony with one another.
Wallace Lofts mural by Buck Teeth Girls Club
Gradation by Lynnette Postuma
Gradation is a mural by Lynnette Postuma that transformed a banal building facade through a series of successive colour changes – painting 14,508 cinder blocks individually and distinctly in variations of blue and green – in order to better integrate the building into its adjacent landscape and create a dynamic mural as varied as the movement of its surroundings.
The 12,000 sq. ft. artwork is located on the West Toronto Railpath across from the Bloor Station of GO Transit and UP Express.
The vegetation adjacent to the wall played a key role in the overall design. The paint formed an outline of the existing trees, shrubs and vines growing on the wall to become a “growth marker” or means to monitor the progress of vegetation over time.
The region of West Toronto Railpath has always been a route of conveyance – historically as a portage route (called the “Carrying Place Trail”), then a railway and now as a recreation trail – and continues to be a path that knits together varying neighbourhoods of the city. The Mohawk term <toron-ten> meaning “the place where the trees grow over the water” refers to this past and present history by informing the colour progression of this art installation.
====\\DeRAIL Platform for Art + Architecture
====\\DeRAIL Platform for Art + Architecture is a non-profit, independent arts producer and alternative platform for dialogue and collaboration across disciplinary, geographical, and ideological boundaries. ====\\DeRAIL commissions and produces place-specific art projects to foster new conversations about public space design and contemporary city building. It brings linear landscapes to life through contemporary art by moving beyond the walls of traditional gallery spaces to offer a new experience to both visitors as participants and artists as contributors.
====\\DeRAIL is the vision of designer and public art curator Gelareh Saadatpajouh and landscape architect Victoria Taylor. With years of combined experience as designers, artists, exhibition and public art curators, these emerging cultural producers push the definition of public art to produce unique and creative socially-engaged/place-specific programs to explore the shared linear landscapes of our city.
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Mobile Ink Factory
In 2016, ====\\DeRAIL invited Jason Logan / Toronto Ink Company to explore the landscape of the WTR by making ink. Educational, playful and participatory, Mobile Ink Factory, presented for Doors Open Toronto 2016, drew attention to biodiversity and the inherent colours of the Railpath and celebrated new ways of understanding a familiar place beyond its usual functionality. In groups of 25 led by the artist, participants were invited to walk a section of the Railpath, learn about its ecosystem, and make a bottle of ink from natural and handmade elements collected during the exploratory walk as a souvenir of place, time and experience.
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In 2017, ====\\DeRAIL invited two artists to consider the theme of pause along the West Toronto Railpath – to draw people into an experiment that would inspire new ways of understanding this familiar place beyond its usual functionality. Using the idea of pause as a critique on the singular A to B movement of the active mobility corridor, our program invited audiences to consider how we might think differently about our city and our shared public landscapes: to pause, to listen, to observe and to imagine new creative possibilities for the various nodes and niches along the Railpath. Pause Platforms are a series of three, 8-foot diameter wood and raw steel platforms located along the Railpath, just north of the Dundas/Sterling entry node in the Junction Triangle neighbourhood. Pause Platforms are inspired by the concept proposed by designer Andrew Jones and fabricated by Marek Kubat.