Call for Expressions of Interest: Public Artwork for Overlea Boulevard and Bridge Renewal, Toronto

Image of Artist rendering of Overlea bridge

Ward 15 (Don Valley West) and Ward 16 (Don Valley East)

Value of the Awarded Commission: Approximately $600,000.00 (+HST) CAD
Deadline for Submissions: March 14, 2023 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 artists (including artist teams) to submit their Expression of Interest to the first stage of a competition for integrated public artwork(s) as part of the redesign and replacement of the Overlea Boulevard Bridge and surrounding roadwork improvements.

The art component of this revitalised public space will be selected through an open two-stage competition, with a net budget of approximately $600,000.00 (+HST), inclusive of all costs directly associated with the artwork: design fees, fabrication, installation, engineering and professional services, insurance, travel and other incidental expenses.

Project Background
The eastern segment of Overlea Boulevard from Don Mills Road to Thorncliffe Park Drive (including the Charles H. Hiscott Bridge, Don Mills Road/Gateway Boulevard intersection and Thorncliffe Park Drive East intersection) is planned for upcoming roadwork.

Led by the City’s Transportation Services and Engineering & Construction Services Divisions, the Overlea Boulevard and Bridge Renewal is located across two of the City’s 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (identified in the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020), where the City works with residents, businesses and agencies to make the changes the neighbourhood. The area is densely populated and home to a high number of residents born outside of Canada who speak Farsi, Urdu, Mandarin, Arabic, and Slovak.

The Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park neighbourhoods, while characterized by clusters of high-density high-rise apartment buildings, are also rich in open urban and green spaces. The bridge is adjacent to Marc Garneau CI and Valley Park Middle Schools; therefore many students cross the bridge on foot at least twice per day. Over the past several years, public consultations built successful partnerships with residents and received input from the community for desired design interventions. Residents support several enhancements including interventions at Overlea and Thorncliffe Park Drive West to widen sidewalks, protect vulnerable road users, add vegetation, and incorporate beauty and a neighbourhood identity through public art and streetscape design.

The bridge design is currently underway, led by the City’s Engineering and Construction Services Division. It is anticipated to be completed by Q2 2024 and tendered in Q3 2024. The roadworks design competition is currently ongoing. Construction is planned for 2024-2026. Public art funding is provided by the City of Toronto’s City Planning-Urban Design and Transportation Services divisions.

The communities of the Williams Treaty First Nations, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Huron-Wendat, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation, and the Metis Nation of Ontario all have connections to this territory.

Additional information on Renewing Overlea Boulevard is available here.

Public Art Opportunity
The experience for users of this renewed public space will include a project by a professional visual artist or an artist-led team, selected through an open competition, with a net budget of approximately $600,000.00 (+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.

To encourage flow and continuity throughout the entirety of the renewal project, artists will be asked to consider the site as a whole. The overall vision should create a distinct visual identity or integrated design program designed to reinforce the community’s connection to the space. Thematically, artists are asked to broadly consider the history, community, and ecology of the area.

Public art and streetscape improvements can be included in several different ways with this project; potential options include the open space and parkettes along Overlea Boulevard, traffic medians, and on the bridge parapets. In the second stage of the competition, shortlisted artists will be asked to consider the surrounding parkettes and boulevard that can embrace large sculptural elements, as well as opportunities on the bridge that could involve tile, affixed 2D inserts, or small sculptural objects. It is anticipated that proposals could include both two- and three-dimensional components, and a combination of materials.

Competition Format
This is a two-stage, open, international competition for professional artists. A specially convened Selection Panel composed of arts professionals and community members will be established for this competition.

Stage 1: Request for Expression of Interest: January 18 – March 14, 2023

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: April 11 – June 12, 2023

The shortlisted artists will be notified in late-March / early-April and invited to submit a conceptual design proposal. Proposals will be due on June 12, 2023. Shortlisted artists will be paid a fee of $2,500.00 (+HST) for this stage. Shortlisted artists will attend an interview and present their proposals to the Selection Panel on July 12, 2023.

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

  • CV (for each team member)
  • 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.
  • Contact information for two references (preferably from recent projects).

Submissions must be received by March 14, 2023 at 12:00 pm (noon).

Email submissions to:

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

For questions, please contact Katriina Campitelli, Public Art Officer: