You might notice public art tends to spring up around new condo developments in downtown Toronto. How come? 

The Percent for Public Art Program is a component of Toronto’s development approvals process, run out of the City Planning Division. The city’s Urban Design Section works with private sector builders to provide support and find opportunities for public art through rezoning and development projects.

Based on the principle that art is a public benefit to be enjoyed by all, the program encourages developers to dedicate a percentage of their project’s gross construction costs to public art projects. In exchange, builders are granted greater development rights and density allowances. 

“The Toronto Official Plan encourages the inclusion of public art in all significant private sector developments across the City,” reads the program description on the City of Toronto website. “City Planning works with the private sector to secure public art contributions through development review, Official Plan amendments and re-zonings.”

Public artwork is not only beautiful, but it can also trigger human emotion, stimulate thoughts and create curiosity from the audience. The fountain at the Four Seasons Hotel by Montreal-based Claude Cormier + Associés, for instance, can be seen as a piece of public art that allures its’ many bypassers. There’s also Between The Eyes on Queens Quay; Rising holding up the Shangri-La; The Audience jutting from the Rogers Centre; Still Dancing in the heart of the Distillery District. You can view all of the existing and up-and-coming public art pieces on the Percent for Public Art Program’s web page.

Source: Claude Cormier + associés

However, there is a new piece of art in the city. Located in front of Camrost Felcorp’s Imperial Plaza at Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue, this one will definitely be eliciting some emotions by people walking by.

This new 25-foot-tall, bronze and stainless steel sculpture by German artist Stephan Balkenhol depicts a white man wearing dress clothes, holding up a really, really tall condo. He is one of two future art installations for the Imperial City master planned community.

Is the art showing that the art itself allowed for more density? I don’t know. But, I am sure that it will have the city talking in no time. I like it. I give it a six out of seven.

Matthew Slutsky

Matthew Slutsky is the co-founder and co-president of BuzzBuzzHome, Daypack and Livabl. He is also the co-founder of Eighty-Eight. When not talking real-estate he is playing with his dog Schnitzel, or two children.

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