This mural series will animate an otherwise underutilized public space at the confluence of the Martin Goodman and Lower Don Trails through contemporary work that draws inspiration from the Toronto Port Lands many transformations over time. This series is part of a larger initiative by Friends of the PanAm Path called Relay2017, aimed at animating one of the biggest legacies of the 2016 PanAm Games, the PanAm Path recreational trail system.
Aligned with Relay2017’s vision of fostering diversity, inclusion, and youth leadership, STEPS will engage a diverse array of emerging Toronto artists to transform this otherwise overlooked piece of aging infrastructure into a celebrated cultural landmark. In collaboration with female artists: Meera Sethi, Fathima Mohiuddin, Stephanie Bellefleur and Daniela Rocha, we will transform a set of otherwise grey industrial highway bents into a public art gallery.
The vision for this work responds to the evolution of the site, having experienced many transformations over the years. Originally, a marshland beginning in the late 1800s, the Port Lands were used for industrial activities. Up until the mid-1980s, the Portlands were a dump site for construction waste resulting from the demolition of many of Toronto’s nineteenth-century buildings, inner-city dwellings of the 1960s, as well as the construction of some of its most iconic buildings and subway. This dumping resulted in the creation of the Leslie Street Spit—a five-kilometre-long peninsula off of Toronto’s Port Lands.
Selected artists each straddle various geographic, social, and ethnic worlds within their individual artistic practices, and which make them an ideal fit for a project of this nature. Moreover, our choice of artists pays tribute to the often unrecognized feminine and racialized labour and lived experiences in our industrial history, city-building narratives, and environmental practices.
This project is made possible by Friends of the PanAm Path.