The delayed and consuming construction of the Leslie Barns created years of consternation and agony for local residents and businesses, even sinking some in the process.
But for all of the hardship on the neighbourhood, the building's design is state of the art and adheres to high environmental standards. Street enhancements and greenspace landscaping followed last fall. Now, the final piece is underway: public artwork.
A call to local and national visual artists last year has been short-listed to five semi-finalists, from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, which will present proposals for public display.
In keeping with the city’s Percent for Public Art guidelines, one per cent of the budget of every private and public sector construction project is earmarked for public art. In other words, whether or not the TTC wanted to fund the artwork is irrelevant — ponying up the cash was mandatory.
The public art is being commissioned to the tune of $575,000.
The scope of the artwork is required to integrate well into the landscape design and context of the chosen installation sites near Lake Shore Blvd. and Leslie St. The idea is for the installation to link the community's connection to the Martin Goodman Trail, Tommy Thompson Park and the Lake Ontario shoreline.
The displays will be open to the public at the Beaches Library on Feb. 24-25 and Canadian Tire (Leslie & Lakeshore) Feb. 25-26. Feedback is welcome and encouraged.
The winning bid will be announced in mid-March and the commissioned artwork is slated to be installed by winter 2018.
Visit the City of Toronto for further details on the project.