Call for Expressions of Interest: Public Artwork for Humber Bay Shores Trail, Toronto
Value of the Awarded Commission: Approximately $350,000.00 CAD (+HST) Deadline for Submissions: 5pm ET, February 22, 2021 The City...

Value of the Awarded Commission: Approximately $350,000.00 CAD (+HST)
Deadline for Submissions: 5pm ET, February 22, 2021

The City of Toronto invites professional artists (including artist teams) to submit their Expression of Interest to the first stage of a competition for a public artwork or artworks along the newly redesigned Humber Bay Shores Trail. The trail runs from the Humber River to the east, through Humber Bay Shores park and the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, and connects to the Humber Bay East and West parks to the west.

Part of the redesign of the trail, which includes a new pedestrian pathway and multi-use trail, is a new plaza at the foot of Palace Pier Court, named after the Palace Pier dance hall which stood on the site from the late 1920s until it was destroyed by fire in 1963. After the pier’s demolition, the section of the bay where it stood was filled to create the current site, along with other modifications to the shoreline over the 20th century which included the creation of the Humber Bay parks.

The artwork for this site will be selected through an open, two-stage competition, with a budget of approximately $350,000.00 CAD (+HST). The project budget includes all costs directly associated with the artwork: all fees for design, fabrication, installation, engineering and professional services, insurance, travel and other incidental expenses.


The City of Toronto’s new Public Art Strategy outlines the City’s commitment to public art created for, and with the input of, Toronto communities, and to create opportunities for artists of diverse backgrounds, experience and practice. We welcome submissions from Indigenous, Black, and racialized artists, and those who may not have previously worked in the public realm.

The creation of a new plaza along the trail provides a highly public site for an art work or works on the shore of Humber Bay. The open space is designed as a rest area for trail users, with a wide view of the bay, lake and the Toronto skyline to the east. The site will also be visible to those passing by on the trail, as well as from the surrounding condo towers.

Thematically, artists are asked to broadly consider the history and ecology of the area. In a recent community survey, the majority of respondents cited the proximity to nature, the water, and the area’s biodiversity as its most important characteristics. They envisioned an art work which complements and acknowledges the area’s unique natural features and history.

Artists are asked to consider the social impact of their work and how they can engage with community members during the development and/or creation of their proposals. This will be a requirement for the selected artist, and interested artists should outline potential opportunities for community engagement in their letter of interest.


Aerial view of plaza site.

This is a two-stage, open, competition for professional artists.

Per the Canada Council’s guidelines, a professional artist is defined as someone who:

  • has specialized artistic training (not necessarily in academic institutions)
  • is recognized as a professional by their peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition)
  • has a history of public exhibitions
  • has produced an independent body of work

A specially convened Selection Panel, composed of practicing arts professionals and community members, will be established for this two-stage competition.

Stage 1: Request for Expression of Interest: December 21, 2020 – February 22, 2021

The Selection Panel will review all submissions and identify a short-list of five (5) artists, based on artistic excellence and demonstrated or perceived ability to create and execute an innovative, engaging public artwork that is complementary to the overall design scheme and community context.

Stage 2: Request for Concepts: March – May, 2021

The short-listed artists will be notified in March (date TBC), and invited to submit a conceptual design proposal. A detailed Terms of Reference project document will be provided to help short-listed artists prepare their proposals. Short-listed artists will be paid a fee of $3,000.00 (+HST) for this stage.

Short-listed artists will attend an interview and present their proposals (online presentations may be required) to the Selection Panel in May, 2021 (date TBC) The panel will choose a finalist whose vision for the site best suits the overall scope of this project, and has the ability or perceived ability to conceive and realize a public artwork on this site.

The selected artist will be notified by the end of June, 2021.

ArtworxTO, the City’s Year of Public Art, will take place in 2021 as part of the City’s commitment to artists and art as part of COVID-19 recovery. All new commissions will be included in the ArtworkTO program wherever possible.

Project Timeline:

December 21, 2021: EOI issued
February 22, 2021, 5pm ET: EOI submissions due
March, 2021: Selection panel meeting
March, 2021: Short-listed artists notified (latest)
May 2021: Proposal deadline
June, 2021: Technical Review
June, 2021: Artist interviews and selection

Professional artists are invited to respond to this EOI by submitting a single pdf document:

This pdf document must be labeled with the name of the artist and project (Last Name First Name_ HumberBay) and include:

  • CV (one for each team member, if applicable)
  • Brief artist statement outlining interest in project, showing relevant experience, ability, and general artistic approach. Please include your experience and intended approach to the community engaged process. Do not include proposals at this stage.
  • Maximum ten (10) images of work, with caption including title, materials, dimensions, location, and commissioning body (if applicable). Audio / Video files may be provided via URL.
  • Names and contact information for two references (preferably from recent projects).

Submissions must be received by 5pm ET, February 22, 2021
Late submissions will not be accepted.

Email submissions to:

  • Please use subject line: last name, first name_HumberBay
  • Submissions must not exceed 20 MB total size

The City of Toronto acknowledges that we are on the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The City also acknowledges that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Williams Treaties signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands.

Catherine Dean
Public Art Officer
(647) 458-5657