This public mural was commissioned at one of Toronto's newest public spaces, The Bentway at Bent 53. The art work featuring artist Olivier Bonnard, uses bright colour to mark the grand majesty of the Lake of shining water while its iconography brings awareness to the vulnerability of the underwater life within Lake Ontario.
The imagery features the Red Side Dace, an endangered native fish species, as sparse, tiny and defenseless in comparison to the thriving Hydrilla an invasive aquatic plant. The scale brings to the forefront a concern of a growing imbalance within the ecosystem in lake Ontario.
At the base of the pillars, the eggs of the native fish are glowing, showing that there is hope and that solutions exist to reverse the patterns that are threatening the future vitality of this essential water resource.
The blue tones are softened along the top of the structure, flowing all around the angles of the bent, enhancing a sense of wonder and curiosity for the life-giving body of fresh water. The tones of grey point to the growing concern for the Combined Sewer Overflow that pollutes the harbour during heavy rainfall, most prominently at the Bathurst Quay. The layering of colour and textures illustrate the cycle and the immense power of the water, its scale and sprawling complexity; like the journey of the Garrison Creek who lies underneath.
ABOUT THE BENTWAY
The Bentway is a new public space and programming platform that is both of the city and about the city. Through the lens of arts, culture, and recreation we explore the changing landscape of Toronto and urbanism on a global scale.
The Bentway offers year-round artistic, cultural, and recreational activities and events, including public art installations, seasonal and special exhibitions, theatre and musical performances, festivals, creative marketplaces, and more. The Bentway’s programming is accessible and participatory, exploring the site’s unique histories, features and possibilities.
The Bentway is maintained, operated, and programmed by The Bentway Conservancy. The project was made possible through the collaboration of a range of city-builders and experts, including the City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, Judy and Wilmot Matthews, Ken Greenberg Consultants, PUBLIC WORK, Fort York National Historic Site, and Artscape. The Bentway is a proud member of the High Line Network, an international network of projects that transform underutilized infrastructure into new urban landscapes.
ABOUT LOVE LETTER PROJECTS
Love Letters to the Great Lakes is an evolving public art and community project focused on giving voice to the Lakes. The projects seek to beautify neighbourhoods, galvanize community and stimulate a broader public awareness of the critical issues facing the unique natural resource of the Great Lakes.
Love Letter Projects is a collective of creatives, community organizers, activists and visionaries, working hard to elevate the impact, quality, reach and relevance of fresh-water vitality efforts. We work to encourage feelings of love, empathy and stewardship in the public toward the Lakes and encourage personal action toward water protection.