Call for Expressions of Interest: Public Art for Wabash Community Recreation Centre, Toronto

Rendering of Wabash CRC lobby

City of Toronto
Call to Artists for Expression of Interest (EOI)
Public Artwork for Wabash Community Recreation Centre
Ward 4 (Parkdale-High Park)

Value of the Awarded Commission: Approximately $385,000.00 (+HST) CAD
Deadline for Submissions: January 15, 2024 at 12:00 pm (noon).

Please note that this is the abridged version. View the complete call for Expressions of Interests here.

The City of Toronto invites professional Canadian artists (including artist teams) to submit their Expression of Interest to the first stage of a competition for an integrated public artwork as part of the Wabash Community Recreation Centre and surrounding park improvements.

The art component of this revitalised public space will be selected through an open two-stage competition, with a net budget of approximately $385,000.00 (+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.

Project Background
The City of Toronto is planning a new community recreation centre at the southeast corner of Sorauren Park, adaptively reusing the existing former Canadian Linseed Oil Mills Ltd. building (1910). Led by Parks, Forestry & Recreation and designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and PMA Landscape Architects, the project will include seating areas, a reading garden, community plaza, and sacred fire ceremonial space. The building is sustainable and has a low environmental impact; it has a green roof, solar panels, and employs mass timber. The four-story community recreation centre will include two pools, universal washrooms, multi-purpose rooms, event spaces, a double gymnasium, two terraces, and a running track. Connecting the various spaces, is a multi-level lobby and atrium.

Public art funding is provided by the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry & Recreation division. Additional information on Wabash Community Recreation Centre is available here.

Rendering of Wabash CRC lobby

Public Art Opportunity
The experience for users of this new community recreation centre will include a project by a professional artist or an artist-led team, selected through an open national competition, with a budget of approximately $385,000.00 (+ HST). The project budget includes all costs directly associated with the artwork: all fees for design, fabrication, mechanical, electrical, structural and engineering drawings, and installation, as well as contract administration, travel and other incidental expenses.

There is an opportunity to install a new public artwork in the four-story atrium of the entrance lobby. The piece will welcome visitors and staff to the community recreation centre and will serve as an intuitive wayfinding device. While no specific theme will be provided to the shortlisted artists, they will be encouraged to consider flow, continuity, and expand on the project’s vision of inclusion, community-building, environmental stewardship, historical consideration (both settler and Indigenous).

Due to the many safety and maintenance requirements of the building, artists must be prepared to meet and work collaboratively with City staff and contractors to develop and refine proposals according to these parameters, which will be further specified in the Terms of Reference for shortlisted artists.

The Artworks must be unique. Editioned works or versions of existing works will not be considered. Architects and design studios are not being considered for this project.

Community Engagement and Mentorship
As a requirement of the competition, shortlisted artists will need to submit a community engagement plan as part of their proposals.

While not mandatory, the selected artist(s) will be strongly encouraged to take on a public art mentee after the contract is awarded. Applicants do not need to propose a mentee at this stage.

Rendering of Wabash CRC exterior

Competition Format
This is a two-stage, open, national competition for professional artists born or living in Canada.

The City of Toronto’s 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 artists with relevant experience who may not have previously worked in the public realm.

A specially convened Selection Panel composed of arts professionals and community members will be established for this competition. Their final decision will be informed by each submission’s ability to meet the evaluation criteria, community consultation results, and additional feedback from community members and advisors.

Stage 1: Request for Expression of Interest: November 1, 2023 – January 15, 2024
The Selection Panel will review all submissions and identify a shortlist of a maximum of five (5) artists, based on artistic excellence and demonstrated or perceived ability to create and execute an innovative, engaging public artwork that is complimentary to the overall design scheme and context.

Stage 2: Request for Concept Proposals: February 13 – April 10, 2024
The shortlisted artists will be notified in early February and invited to submit a conceptual design proposal. A detailed Terms of Reference project document will be provided to help shortlisted artists prepare their proposals. Proposals will be due on April 10, 2024 at 12 pm (noon). Shortlisted artists will be paid a fee of $1,500.00 (+HST) for this stage.

The artwork proposals will go through feasibility reviews and community consultations. Shortlisted artists will attend an interview and present their proposals to the Selection Panel on June 7, 2024.

Professional Canadian artists are invited to respond to this EOI by submitting a single .pdf document and include:

  • CV (one for each team member, if applicable).
  • Artist statement outlining interest in project, demonstrating relevant experience, ability, and general artistic approach. 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: 12:00 pm (noon) on January 15, 2024

Email submissions to: AND

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

For questions, please contact Katriina Campitelli, Public Art Officer at; and Rachel Wine, Public Art Consultant at